THE DEVIL LIES IN THE DETAIL
~ The danger posed by the European Union to Christianity ~
DR GREGORY SLYSZ
The Catholic Church is not alone in its adoration of the EU. In 1972, the General Synod of the Church of England passed a motion that could well have been penned by an EU propagandist. It declared
"that British membership of a Community which (based as it is on a common understanding of human rights and liberties) counts among its aims the reconciliation of European enmities, the responsible stewardship of European resources and the enrichment of Europeís contribution to the rest of mankind, is to be welcomed as an opportunity for Christians to work for the achievement of these ends"(4).
No revision of this position has occurred during the 28 years since the passing of this motion.
In the light of the aforementioned declarations by Church authorities, in particular that of the Second Synod for Europe, the time has arrived for Christians, who hitherto may have looked upon European integration with indifference, to consider the implication for their faith of the respective ecclesiastical pronouncements of support for the EU and to ask themselves what their Churches have actually endorsed.
Over 50 years later, Romano Prodi, the current president of the EU Commission, declared:
Europe was first united under the Roman Empire. Since its fall the Continent has experienced numerous attempts to re-unite it under one political rule. Charlemagne briefly united much of Europe under his Christian rule. The Holy Roman Empire sought to rescue Charlemganeís Christian legacy from the mire of internecine conflict, surviving for the next 1000 years or so and furnishing much of Western Europe with a political identity. In between the formal state-craft of monarchs, the idea of European unity occupied the minds of a succession of thinkers who sought to champion peace, stability or one interest against another. As such a number of blueprints for European Union were conceived, such as Antonio Mariniís Christian confederation of 1463 against the Turks or the Duke of Sullyís "Grand Design" of 1658. Although these systems never materialised as political entities, they did carry the idea of European integration through the centuries.
Modern European state-craft, however, though it may cast a romantic glance at Charlemagneís or Sully's Christian designs, traces its origins to the Enlightenment and to thinkers like Voltaire and Rousseau who identified Europe as a single cultural entity and in so doing reinforced the idea of a supranational Europe . In 1751, Voltaire characterised Europe as "a kind of great republic divided into several states", all sharing a common cultural heritage.(5) Some 20 years later Rousseau concurred, declaring that "there are no longer Frenchmen, Germans and Spaniards, or even English, but only Europeans".(6) As the notion of a common European home earned growing respectability, it inspired increasingly ambitious system building. Moreover, evident among it was a trend against systems based upon inter-state co-operation, in favour of supranational systems in which states were to be increasingly subject to external institutional interference and arbitration. Furthermore, these systems gradually advocated a departure from the Christian ideals that had hitherto furnished all integrative models with a common thread, and began to embrace secular, often atheistic alternatives. By the time of the Holy Roman Empire's formal demise in 1806 Europe was in the grips of bitter conflict. No sooner had the Empire fallen than Napoleon was ravaging Europe with his armies. Napoleon's reign was, however, brief. His defeat in 1815 encouraged his conquerors to establish a new "concert", based upon the mutual recognition of interests. It was a Europe, not as yet of nation-states, but of competing empires, each of whose claim to Europe's legacy, though less ambitious than that of preceding empires, was, nevertheless, collectivist in nature. The "concert" was to survive for 30 years, after which it began to be threatened by the idea of national democracy. Resistance from Europe's empires continued, however, for another 70 years or so, when in 1918, in the wake of the Great War, Continental Europe divided along national lines. Nations, which for centuries had had their nationhood suppressed by supranational empires, imposed themselves on the European map.
However, despite the rise of national consciousness and the demand by European nations for national independence, advocates of European integration stubbornly insisted on bucking this trend. Governing their plans was the belief that the only way to realise their aims was to increase the powers of supranational institutions at the expense of nation-states. Most of their proposals were of a socialist nature, inspired to a great extent by the emergent anti-nationalist and anti-religious ideology of Marxism: Aristide Briandís European Federal Union, Caudenhove-Kalegiís United States of Europe, and Leninís Soviet Union to name a few. But for all their enthusiasm for internationalism, and their capacity to attract the support of many sympathetic senior statesmen of the day, these and similar plans were premature for an age of incessant national rivalry. Consequently they were not, at the time, seriously considered as models for political and social development. Nevertheless, they kept the idea of a European state alive for others to utilise in a political climate that would be more auspicious for the kind of state-craft they were propagating.
Still, the newly emerged nations enjoyed only the briefest respite from system-builders. For some of the recently independent states, like Ukraine, Byelorussia and Georgia, it lasted a mere two or three years before they were again absorbed into the Great Russian state, reincarnated as the Soviet Union. For others, like Poland and Czechoslovakia, it lasted somewhat longer, but whose termination was no less harsh. By the 1940s, merely 20 years or so after the fall of the last of the great medieval empires, Europe, with Britain apart, was once again under imperial control, with the Soviet empire holding sway in the east, and the Nazi in the west. Although the Second World War put an end to Hitler's imperialism and restored national independence to his conquests, it also rejuvenated Soviet imperial ambitions, extending Stalinís authority way beyond its pre-war reach. In this respect, the War was very inconsistent in its ideals. The victory during the Second World War of Europeís nations against Hitlerís "European Union"(7) similarly did not deter Western integrationists from pursuing their goals. Paradoxically, they used the War, which had been fought to restore freedom to Hitlerís conquered nations, to justify the construction of a new supranational European system. A broad, though intellectually flawed consensus emerged across Europeís political spectrum. Nationalism, and by implication nationhood, were identified as the main causes of the War, and as such all national aspirations were to be tarnished with the same indiscriminate brush as Hitlerís extreme national aspirations were to be. The fact that Hitler had been the inevitable end product of the Versailles settlement of 1919, and therefore its creation, was disregarded. On the contrary, in the same way as those at Versailles had believed that German nationalism could be humiliated into submission, so Europeís new so-called "peace-makers" believed that the new European order could be crafted not by accommodating nationalism but by smashing it. More worryingly, they harboured no respect for Manís inherent compulsion to defend his nation. The fact that nationalism had motivated successive wars of national liberation and rebellions against collectivist powers during the past several centuries, including Hitlerís uprising against the Versailles settlement, had no bearing on their statecraft. Thus, instead of conceding to a pragmatic balance of power, as logic was suggesting, Europeís integrationists harnessed the ideas of socialist thinkers of the inter-war years and ventured down the same path as their Soviet counterparts had ventured two decades earlier. Nationhood, in line with Marxist ideology was taken not as natural and eternal, but as an invention of the ruling class of a by-gone age. As such, it could be "uninvented" and replaced by a new identity which its founding fathers envisaged would, over time, erode the national consciousness of its Member States and replace them with an all-embracing, supranational identity. Politically, the new system was to consist of a supra-national collective. To avert continuous internecine conflict among the Member-States, decision-making was to be centralised among a few like-minded bureaucrats and politicians, who would, in time, through an endless stream of treaties, rules and regulations, drain national parliaments of any meaningful political power. Although there were influential people, notably Charles de Gaulle, who voiced opposition to the overtly supranational character of the emergent European institutions, favouring instead a Europe des patries (a Europe of nation-states), federalist-centralists increasingly gained ascendancy over the process of European integration.
By stealth and deceit integrationists progressed with a plan that was hostile to nation-statehood. Dominant among them were politicians of the Left and Europeís centrist/liberal parties – Jean Monnet, Konrad Adenauer, Walter Hallstein, Robert Schuman, Jacques Delors – and often hardline Marxists, notably the Italian, Altiero Spinelli, whose vision of Europe, as defined by his European Federal Movement, founded in 1943, was anti-capitalist, anti-Christian and socialist in nature. Any Christian values which liberal Christians like Adenauer and Schuman may have imparted to the integrationist process would be displaced in time by a wholly secular alternative. Marxists were in fact to leave an indelible imprint on the process of Europeís integration. Spinelli, for instance, was the key architect of the Draft Treaty Establishing the European Union, adopted by the European Community in 1984, upon which the Single European Act of 1986, which Margaret Thatcher endorsed, was based. By the 1990s, in the wake of the Maastricht and Amsterdam Treaties, the leftist and anti-national agenda of the European Union had virtually purged the EUís political system of scope for independent national initiative. In a little over four decades, since the formation of the ECSC, the integrationists aim of uniting Europe within one economic and political structure has been all but completed.
Purpose of Anti-Christian Doctrine
Put simply, Christianity amounts to a system of beliefs and values at the centre of which is a belief in God, which outwardly is demonstrated by various rituals and ceremonies. Essentially, Christianity is a value system which is shared by Christians worldwide, who belong to one faith which is subdivided into numerous denominations. The uniformity of the Christian value system, however, has not precluded Christian Churches from developing particular characteristics in accordance with prevailing custom and national culture. Indeed, a central feature of Christianity has been its association, to a lesser or greater degree, with national culture, and to a lesser or greater degree, with the national spirit. In Britain, the Church developed side by side with national institutions, becoming part of the body politique, a position which to this very day it has not relinquished. Christian Churches became intertwined with national development, particularly in the countries of Eastern Europe. Alienated from state authority, which was presided over by either foreign or incompetent native rulers, Eastern Europeans looked to the Church for national salvation. It was not long before the Church came to occupy a central role in national struggles for independence against hostile, autocratic state authorities and as such was targeted for destruction. The evolution of the Catholic Church in Poland offers a classic example of how a Church came to embody the national spirit, becoming central to the independence movement over a period of close to two hundred years. This association is perhaps epitomised by the erstwhile slogan: God – Honour – Fatherland, which became the motto of Polish patriots.
The long-standing association between the Church and the nation has broader significance. By embracing the Churchís values, a nation, by definition, becomes Christian. Society becomes governed by a set of principles, which regulate human relations. Mutual respect among people is expected, manifested along specifically demarcated lines. These dictate a hierarchical structure in which the family unit forms a central pillar of social organisation. Parents acquire a key position in society, notably as the main custodians of the nationís survival. The father figure occupies a particularly important position, being granted the role of the ultimate arbiter within the family unit. The child, on the other hand, although he can expect love and affection from his parents, occupies very much a subordinate role and is expected to respect and honour his elders, particularly his parents. Further afield a high degree of morality prevails, stigmatising behaviour which could threaten the essence of the Christian faith and, in turn, undermine the nationís social fabric by leading society into areas which are liable to increase delinquency and human misery: sexual promiscuity, illegitimacy, pre-marital co-habitation, drug abuse and so on. In short, Christianity furnishes a nation with a sense of purpose, both spiritual and temporal, the political off-shoot of which serves to bind its people into a national unit. The relation between moral values and national fortitude has been long recognised and is demonstrable throughout history. Plato and Aristotle regarded the absence of a common system of beliefs transcendent of the narrow interests of the polis as one of the main causes of the decline of Greek civilisation. Cicero, Vergil and Polybius, drew similar conclusions with regard to the evolution of Roman civilisation. In the sixteenth century Machiavelli was perhaps the first modern thinker to recognise the importance of society being based upon firm moral foundations. Although an agnostic himself, he nevertheless acknowledged the tie between social cohesion and a system of Christian moral values. Europeís history, indeed, has repeatedly demonstrated that the stronger the adherence to Christian values, the stronger the national will to survive, and the greater difficulty an oppressor has in suppressing opposition to his rule. With the Church established as the defender of the nation, and the nation as the main obstacle to the creation of a centralised, autocratic super-state, European integrationists necessarily have to smash the Churchís influence if their state-craft is to stand any chance of success.
Accordingly, architects of the EU have crafted an agenda with precisely this goal in mind. It has been implemented, however, in a very refined way, shunning the kind of explicit anti-Christian policies devised by Soviet state-builders which inflicted untold damage on the Soviet cause by galvanising Christian Churches as centres of political opposition in many Soviet Republics and Soviet satellite states. Based on the spurious concepts of "tolerance" and "equality", the EUís anti-Christian initiatives are far more subtle and cunning, and as such have been much more successful in achieving their aims. The key to the understanding the EUís threat to Christianity lies in the recognition of the EUís biased definition of the concept of "rights". The debate over what constitutes a "right" identifies at least two definitions: immunity rights and claim rights. The first, intrinsic to British common law, regards rights as "...protecting the individual from intrusion and guaranteeing him independence".(8) The second regards rights not as freedoms but as claims by one party on another. The latter definition is particularly favoured by socialists, who dismiss the former as a "bourgeois" right of little value to those with no means of utilising it. Socialists insist, therefore, that the only valid concept of rights should focus on claims, which in their view will empower people to live fulfilling lives. Over the years, reflecting the growing international influence and political power of the Left, an entire spectrum of rights has been crafted, forever being augmented by the crusade for tolerance and equality. These "rights" do not constitute freedoms but obligations on some to provide for others. The State, whether in State socialist or liberal democratic societies, is the party burdened with the greatest obligations, which require of it massive interference in peoples' lives "...by way of taxation, redistribution and even coercion, in order to secure the massive provision of benefits promised as of 'right'."(9) These two concepts of "rights" necessarily lie in contradiction to each other, the former guaranteeing individuals freedom from interference in their lives by others; the latter insisting on interference in order to guarantee putative rights.
In view of the contentious nature of the on-going debate over the definition of the concept of "rights", it would not be untoward to expect from any new contributors to the debate some reflection upon the delicate nature of the issue at hand. Yet nowhere does the EU recognise the divergent definitions of the concept of "rights". Instead, it exhibits an uncompromising acceptance of "rights" as claims, running rough-shod over alternative definitions associated with historical and cultural traditions, national laws and social and religious fabrics of Member States. To ensure the compliance of Member States with its diktats, the EU has established a draconian legal framework, which, by virtue of Article K7 of the Amsterdam Treaty, totally emasculates national courts, leaving national governments with very little authority to challenge decisions made by the Commission or other EU bodies. With its legal framework in place, the EU can lay sanctions against any Member State which does not show due respect to all the human rights that are now being claimed or invented, with consummate ease
Since the signing of the Treaty of Rome, the concept of human rights has become central to Community law, covering virtually every area allegedly vulnerable to so-called discrimination.(10) A nation could be forced to embrace a host of politically correct "rights", irrespective of whether any of them contravene long-standing national traditions and moral values. Enshrined in Article 13 of Amsterdam is a comprehensive set of claim rights "...to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, disability, age, religion and belief, or sexual orientation". Supporting Article 13 are Articles 2 and 3 which, among other causes, seek to "promote... a high level of employment and social protection", and "equality between men and women". If a Member State should harbour, for instance, a traditional outlook on gender roles in society, it will have no option but to subject its tradition to the EU's scientifically untenable and socially damaging gender equality legislation.(11) By the same measure, laws outlawing "...discrimination based on...religion or belief.., or sexual orientation" would have to be unconditionally adhered to. Nations, therefore, could be forced to withdraw any kind of privileges for marriage as against co-habitation, be prohibited from discriminating against homosexuals in such areas as adoption rights, or be forbidden to patronise a traditional religion as opposed to a bogus one or a culturally incompatible one.
"Anti-discrimination" legislation is to be tightened further by virtue of the European employment directive.(12) Based on Article 13 of Amsterdam, the directive was introduced in November 1999 for adoption in 2000 and full implementation by 31 December 2002. If adopted, the impact of the directive on religious life in EU Member States could be potentially devastating, affecting the very fabric of institutional organisation and doctrinal integrity. Article 4, for instance, while allowing for discrimination on grounds of "genuine occupational qualification" directly related to "ideological guidance", in general, prohibits the recruitment policies of Christian institutions, including those of individual parishes and schools, from discriminating against those who do not share their religious convictions. Thus, two legal experts, John Bowers QC and Mark L.R. Mullins, note that a Catholic school, for instance, under the provisions of the directive, "…would probably be allowed to stipulate that a teacher of Religious Education be a practising Roman Catholic, but for all other subjects … would be acting unlawfully if it refused to employ non-Roman Catholics, neo-Nazis, atheists, Seventh Day Adventists or practising homosexuals."(13) Likewise a "hospice may, under the draft directive, act unlawfully if it refused to employ a doctor who believes in euthanasia on the basis that this was not a genuine qualification for the post."(14) Countless numbers of potentially similar cases can be listed. Further cause for concern is provided by Article 2, which deals with "harassment" in the work place. Under this article, which defines harassment as that "which has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, offensive or disturbing environment", a "homosexual secretary in a church could very well claim that the environment is hostile to his sexuality which could then lead to a compensation claim".(15) Moreover, given that under Article 9 of the directive, employers, in many civil cases, will be assumed to be guilty of discrimination until they can prove their innocence, they could be faced with a spate of malicious and bogus allegations that could see them pay millions of pounds in compensation to those making unfounded allegations against them.(16) For many, if not all, religious institutions, such a prospect could spell financial ruin.
While for the EU the directive represents, as European Commmissioner Anna Diamantopoulou declares, "a milestone in the construction of a social Europe", in reality, as Professor Ian Leigh notes, "…it has all the potential to seriously undermine freedom of association for religious people. It places the modern concept of "equality" over and above religious liberty. By requiring religious organisations to radically alter their recruitment practices, it will make it difficult, or impossible, for them to maintain a distinctive religious identity."(17) Indeed, the rights industry concerns much more than employment rights. It is much more pernicious, seeking to sap a nationís will to survive. After all, an employment law exists one day and it can be changed the next. But if major alterations are made to a nationís social fabric, its social relations and its moral foundations, generations will have to elapse before a reversal of the debilitating process can begin.
The EU's anti-discrimination laws reflect the Marxist conception of rights, evidenced most notably by analogous articles in the Soviet Constitution, specifically Articles 34-35. The similarity between the text in these articles and those in the Amsterdam Treaty as noted above, is indeed striking. Articles 34-35 of the Soviet Constitution declared that they seek to protect equality "...before the law regardless of origin, social and property status, race or nationality, sex, education, language, and attitudes towards religion" and emphasised, with ideological zeal, that "Women and men in the USSR have rights...ensured by according women equal opportunities with men in all things...". The terminology is indeed familiar. In the same way as the USSR's union republics were obliged by law fully to implement the Constitution, so the EU's Member States are obliged to implement the provisions of the Treaties. In what is a "lynch mob" clause,(18) Amsterdam's amendment of Maastricht's Article F, insists that any "...breach by a Member State of the principles mentioned in Article F(1), which refers to the 'Union being founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms (as defined by Articles 13, and Articles 2 and 3)', the Council (of Ministers), acting by a majority...may decide to suspend the voting rights...of that Member State in the Council."(19) Under this provision a cabal of Member States, acting in mutual interest, could deprive another Member State of its Treaty entitlements and effectively demote it to a subordinate unit of a greater State
The hostile reaction of EU leaders to the entry of Jorg Haiderís Freedom Party into the Austrian government in February 2000 is a case in point. Whatever one thinks of the Freedom Party (FPO), one should never lose sight of the fact that it was democratically elected by the people of Austria, largely on an anti-EU platform that included a rejection of the aforementioned "rights" articles. As such it is entitled to serve in government in accordance with Austriaís constitution. However, in spite of the FPOís democratic credentials, the EU, concerned about what Romano Prodi termed breaches of "democracy and human rights", declared political sanctions against Austria and called for its international isolation. As far as the European integrationists were concerned, the only "crime" the FPO had committed was that it challenged the EUís plan of subjugating European nation-states into a centralised, undemocratic and corrupt super-state. For all the EUís exaltation of democracy, its reaction to events in Austria demonstrated its contempt for democratic processes. In explaining why the Commission had not assumed a more forthright position in the affair, Romano Prodi issued a veiled threat to Austriaís new government if it did not comply with its treaty obligations, stating: "I do not think there is any need for the commission to raise its voice. We have a big stick in the form of the treaty. We will be inflexible in making sure that the Austrian government respects European principles."(20) The German Foreign Minister, Joshka Fischer was more pointed, striking at the heart of the EUís objections to the new Austrian government. Shortly after the EU announced that it would cut diplomatic ties with Austria, he declared: "We and our partners cannot accept that a party whose policies are directed against Europe can get into a position where it can block the further integration of Europe."(21)
The EUís warnings, above all, were designed to serve notice on all other member states that any deviation from its diktats would not be tolerated, and to demonstrate its willingness to impose its will on anyone who finds its "principles" repugnant. One should note here the contrast between the EUís treatment of Austria and its welcoming to office European communists and former apparatchiks who had served in the ancien regimes of the Soviet bloc. In the late 1990s, the entry of Italian and French communists into their respective national governments, for instance, passed without any negative comment from the EU. The new Croatian regime of two former leaders of communist Yugoslavia, Ivica Racan and Stipe Mesic, has been lauded by EU propagandists as a paradigm of democracy, in spite of a Tito-like purge of their political opponents and Croatia's national institutions.(22) The EU also marked the defeat in 1998 of Vladimir Meciar, Slovakiaís first president following its secession from Czechoslovakia, by Rudolf Schuster, a senior communist in the ancien regime, with the commencement of accession negotiations with Slovakia. The fact that shortly after becoming leader, Schuster had announced that he "was proud of what (he) had done in the old regime",(23) did not appear to dissuade the EU from courting his regime. More curious still was the silence with which the EU greeted the imprisonment in 2000 of the editor-in-chief of a Slovakian weekly newspaper, on a charge of having damaged Slovakiaís international reputation by having published an article criticising the governmentís pro-NATO stance during the war between NATO and Yugoslavia in 1999.(24) The EU has developed particularly cordial relations with President Aleksander Kwasniewski of Poland. Kwasniewski's claim to fame, prior to his becoming Polandís Head of State, was his service in the government of General Wojciech Jaruzelski, which violently suppressed the anti-Soviet Solidarity movement after which it imposed martial law on the Polish people. The EUís double standards certainly place its "concern" for human rights in perspective.
With a legal infrastructure in place to ensure national compliance with EU diktats, the path has been cleared for those who have chosen to depart from Christian values and undertake an anti-Christian crusade to go about their work unimpeded. The fruits of their zeal - the promotion of an "anything goes society" and their derision of Christian values on a daily basis - are there for all to see. For the EU the net effect of this is a weakened society, unclear of its future, and scornful of its past: the ideal situation for an emergent super-state for which strong nations, proud of their past and confident about their future, present the greatest of threats to its supranational agenda.
The EUís approach has a familiar look about it. Notwithstanding the more explicit nature of Soviet anti-Christian policy, the purpose and aim behind it were the same as those behind the EUís. Writing about the Soviet regimeís offensive against the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (the Uniate Church), Vasyl Marcus noted that the on-going anti-religious crusade "…was not so much a drive against religion as such, as against a Church that fostered a nationalism that was hostile to the regime…"(25) The great Ukrainian dissident, Valentyn Moroz drew a similar conclusion:
The EUís anti-Christian initiatives, just like those of the Soviet Union, are motivated by both an ideological disdain for Christian values and by a strategic necessity to smash Christianity. The common link between ideology and strategic necessity is the need to destroy the nation, because a strong nation spells disaster for the EUís supranational statecraft in the same way as it did for the Soviet Union. What better way to attack the nation than to attack the foundations upon which a strong nation is built – the family unit, marriage - and to remove, in the name of tolerance and equality, the stigmas from behaviour which contributes to a nationís demise – sexual promiscuity, pre-marital co-habitation, homosexual adoption rights. What better way to attack the nation than to attack Christianity without actually being seen to be attacking the Christian faith but by pretending to be liberating people from archaic religious constraints. Women are liberated to slave away in so-called careers yet in so doing they are denied the opportunity to nurture families and to fulfil their roles as women. Co-habiting couples are given rights equal to those of married couples, rights that in the long-term undermine marriage and give rise to all the attendant problems under which everyone eventually suffers. Homosexuals are given rights equal to those of heterosexuals which, again in the long-term, encourage a hedonistic and promiscuous society causing universal harm. Indeed, the EU has cleverly crafted its anti-Christian policies in such a way as to deflect criticism from itsef, in the full knowledge that most people are incapable of the lateral, deeper thought which could associate such initiatives with sinister intent. 'The triumph of despotism", as Isaiah Berlin once noted, "is to force the slaves to declare themselves free." This may need no force; the slaves may proclaim their freedom quite sincerely, but they are nonetheless slaves. In the Soviet Union the State achieved its aims by a combination of intensive propaganda, suppression of the truth and, ultimately, by brutal physical oppression. Hence it failed to sustain itself in power. In the EU where physical oppression is unacceptable as a political tool, tendentious propaganda has become the source of an even more effective power of control, because, as Robert MaCartney has noted, such control is both welcomed and self- inducing, and often wholly unrecognised; the slaves, who in sincerely proclaiming their freedom, do not recognise that they are slaves.(27) The need for gulags and concentration camps is thus abrogated.
The implicit nature of so much EU propaganda poses the greatest threat to Christianity. Wary of opening Pandora's Box, the EU has been careful not to incorporate into its legal formula explicit Soviet type anti-religious provisions. It has left the task of discrediting Christian values to its "fellow-travelling" ideologues, whom it has protected from legal sanction. Their critiques of "anachronistic" practices are implicitly to serve as redefinitions of behavioural modes, the intention being that by stigmatising traditional morals as "old fashioned" or "untrendy", they will succeed in steering society, especially ambitious young people eager to share in the fruits of "modernity," away from the "tedious monotony" of traditional life-styles and restrictive moral values. Applied over the past few decades to Western social structures, this method has undeniably yielded striking results. Rocketing abortion rates, rising illegitimate births, rising divorce rates and family break-ups, growing promiscuity, the side-lining of national history, the denigration of the Christian faith and the increasing displacement of high culture with populist kitsch - all testify to the insidious character of this ideological crusade. The aim is clear: with nationhood and national culture marginalised and displaced by social atrophy and dysfunction, little is left to succour resistance to the Brave New World emerging in Europe.
The Church of Englandís position on sexuality, although challenged in recent years by various liberal-gay pressures groups (see below), nevertheless has remained consistent with Holy Scripture and remains similar in content to that of the Roman Catholic Church. The Lambeth Conference, for instance, held in Kent in 1998, declared, in accordance with its "Resolution on Sexuality", that it "… upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a women in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage" and while it condemned "irrational fear of homosexuals", it declared "homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture."(31).
The value conflict between Christian doctrine and EU law was exposed very publicly in Britain in 2000 when the government of Tony Blair sought to implement its pledge made during the General Election to repeal Section 28 of the Local Government Act of 1988. A long standing thorn in the Leftís side, Section 28 was an attempt by the then Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher to defend the idea of marriage and the family against incursions from anti-family sex education and prohibit the presentation of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle. Confronted with the prospect of a European court ruling stipulating that Section 28 is discriminatory, the Blair government has been compelled to pre-empt such action by seeking to repeal Section 28. Similar considerations have motivated the government to lower the age of consent for homosexual activity to sixteen years of age, in line with the age of consent for heterosexual activity, and to lift the ban on homosexualsí serving in the armed forces.
Legislation overturning traditional norms which down the centuries have provided society with stable foundations, has already inflicted a considerable toll on the traditional fabric of Western Christian societies. Its encroachments upon previously immutable moral convictions have in turn nurtured doctrinal heterodoxy in many Churches, notably in the Church of England. A week doesnít go by when an Anglican cleric does not question the fundamental tenets of Christian doctrine. Whether itís the Bishop of Durham who declares the Resurrection to be "a conjuring trick with bones,"(32) or the Bishop of Leicester who insists on praying to god the mother,(33) or the ordination of women, or the growing gay movement which claims that homosexuality is doctrinally acceptable, the Anglican Church, in desperation to conform with contemporary secularism, has, in many respects, sadly lost its way. Although the Catholic Church, by and large, has upheld Scriptural teaching, it is finding it increasingly difficult to resist liberal assaults against its doctrine. In the long-run it will need an iron-willed pontiff, along the lines of the present Pope, to prevent it from accommodating traits that are incompatible with Christian teaching. The Catholic language as a whole, its symbolic system and attendant rituals have already lost their meaning for many people who were born into a social and cultural world which differs fundamentally from that which gave rise to these symbols.
No country, irrespective of its Catholic traditions, appears to be immune from the onslaught of modern secularism and anti-Christian propaganda. Those countries of Eastern Europe, which are petitioning for membership of the EU, have been particularly targeted for "modernisation". The assault on Polandís traditional national fabric perhaps illustrates best how a country harbouring a staunchly Catholic tradition can become receptive to the same tendentious secularist programmes which have run rough shod over Western Europeís traditional societal fabrics. Channelled into Polish society through a variety of mediums, the full range of Western liberal ideals has rooted itself in many quarters, particularly among the younger generation. The rising crime rates, the ubiquitous sexual iconography, the increase in pre-marital co-habitation, rising abortion and divorce levels, declining church attendance and the increasing abandonment of traditional family values are only a few of the symptoms of the growing Westernisation of Polish culture. The Churchís traditional values in particular jar with the new breed of social engineers just as they did with the ancien regime. And as in the past they are the target of much vitriol. Dismissed as a force for unity, the Church is seen by many Western integrationists as an insidious force, whose moral conservatism threatens Poland's fledgling democracy.(34) In their view, a secular EU or the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) offer much better alternatives under which to unite Europe, the alleged "respect (of these institutions) for human rights and democracy" renders them preferable in that role to the "totalitarian" and "authoritarian" Church.(35)
In Poland there is no shortage of Leftists to assist their Western colleagues in smashing Poland's traditional institutions. Warnings come aplenty of the looming theocratic "Iranisation" of Poland.(36) "Rational" analysis of the Church's "extremism" by establishment sociologists furnishes the anti-Christian campaign with an aura of intellectual respectability and liberal pro-choice "Catholics" seek socially to discredit traditional Catholic doctrine on abortion.(37) Most disturbing for traditionalists is the apparent encouragement of liberal currents by the State. Hitherto the most prominent vehicle for State sponsored social and cultural engineering has been the new Constitution. Inspired by the EU and loaded with typically Soviet-type double entendres, several articles serve to illustrate. Article 48, for instance, while guaranteeing parents "the right to bring up their children in accordance with their own beliefs", stresses that any parental guidance must take into account "the child's beliefs and convictions".(38) The clause reappears in modified form in article 53 with regard to religious and moral education.(39) At first glance the articles appear innocuous, even libertarian, but closer analysis reveals that, taken to their logical conclusion, they harbour sufficient constitutional authority to compromise parental authority, and venture far to render parental religious instruction unconstitutional. Faced with rebellious teenage off-spring, convinced of the virtuousness of the secular, de facto atheistic ideals with which they have been indoctrinated by schools and the mass media, parents will have little choice but to accept their childrenís "beliefs and convictions". Doing otherwise could be deemed unconstitutional and run the risk of legal sanction.
Polandís Catholic Church, or more accurately parts of it, is reverting to its traditional role as the custodian of Polandís national independence and moral values. Of particular note is the Catholic radio station, Radio Maryja [See "Features"/"1990s" link for article "Radio Maryja: Hope for Poland". Ed.] Its message is uncompromising, rooted in a long-standing belief among many Poles that an international anti-Polish conspiracy is committed to smashing Poland and submitting it to the rule of foreign powers. Its uncompromising message has frequently jarred with the Polish Episcopate itself, which it has accused of being too willing to concede to what it considers to be pernicious, anti-Church forces. Its accusations are not without substance. Since the start of accession negotiations with the EU, an increasing array of "joint ventures" have been entered into by the Polish Episcopate and EU sponsored bodies. In 1998, for instance, a delegation from the Polish Episcopate made a visit to Brussels on a "pilgrimage to the EU",(40) marking the start of an intensive campaign of indoctrination of the Church. Its reach and scope have been extensive. A number of publications have surfaced that promote the integrationist project. A typical example is offered by a series of six volumes published by a pro-EU publishing company, which collates the ideas of a number of leading Church figures, including the leader of the Polish Catholic Church himself, Cardinal Jozef Glemp.(41) The titles of the tomes reveal all: Europe and the Church; The Fundamentals of European Unity; The Church, Culture and Europe; Europe's Regions; Europe's Common Spirit and Europe's Christian Mission. The publications have been supported by a number of seminars which have sought to carry the EUís message to a wider audience. In the wake of the Episcopate's Brussels visit, for instance, a seminar convened at the Higher Seminary in Plock, sponsored by the Committee for European Integration, under the title "Europe, 2001: an invitation to be responsible". Attended by representatives from all of Poland's seminaries, its tone was set by the "modernising" Archbishop Jozef Zycinski, who declared that Poles should not, under the influence of certain phobias, close themselves off from Europe.(42)
In recent months, however, there have been signs that the Episcopate's long-standing enthusiasm for the EU has begun to wane. The most significant indication of a seemingly dramatic turnaround in thinking among Poland's Church leadership was witnessed at the national shrine of Jasna Gora in August, 2000, when during the Mass attended by over 100,000 pilgrims, Cardinal Glemp himself expressed serious reservations about EU membership. While declaring that the Church "welcomes the future opportunities, it fears," he continued, "the dangerous social phenomena that can usher in irreparable damage" such as "abortion, euthanasia, pornography, gay rights and anti-family policies." Will the EU, the Cardinal asked, "formulate a constitution. that will include a clearly defined vision of Man not only in terms of consumption but also in terms of his relations with God?" (PAP, 26 August 2000).
One may hope that through continued questioning of the EU's intentions, Poland's Episcopate will avoid adopting a role similar to that adopted by the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church during the Soviet era, notably that of an apologist for state crimes and treason.
The EUís sovereignty over the legislative processes of its Member States has grave implications for Christian teaching. The EUís legislation and treaties, including its social laws, cannot be overturned by any national government and can only be amended with unanimous support from all Member States. On the rare occasions when EU laws have been amended in the past, the amendments, however, have always been to the detriment of national sovereignty and are liable to be the same in the future as the EU strides towards "ever closer union".(44) The EUís social agenda is intrinsic to its raison díetre and will never be diluted. If anything, it will be augmented to reinforce the EUís grip over Europeís social development. As such the value conflict between the EU and Christianity in all likelihood will intensify, the repercussions of which on Christian doctrine will be ever more devastating. Consequently, the support which the Christian Churches have given the EU is baffling, to say the least. The denigration of the family and its internal rules and regulations, is an attack on the Christian faith. The denigration of marriage is an attack on the Christian faith. The promotion of alternative lifestyles – homosexuality, pre-marital co-habitation etc - is an attack on the Christian faith. All these aspects and many similar ones, to emphasise this point again, are protected, implicitly, or explicitly, by EU law. Notwithstanding the inherent ideological distaste of many EU architects for conservative moral convictions, the main reason for the attack on traditional morals as espoused by Christianity is because they provide the basis for a strong nation. And a strong nation is incompatible with the EUís supranational agenda. The foundations of a nation are weakened when its main source of morality is attacked. Once the cause of much contemporary national and societal decay and moral bankruptcy is recognised, the EUís Garden of Eden does not look as rosy as the Second Synod for Europe and the Synod of the Church of England would have us believe.
* * * * * *
Dr Slysz tutors in history and politics at a private sixth form college. Due to subsequent developments, the above updated article varies slightly from that appearing in the October 2000 edition of Christian Order.
(1) Quoted from "A Message of Hope for Europe from the Synod in Rome" - The Tablet, 30 October 1999.
(2) For discussion of Schuman's political past see John Laughland - The Tainted Source: the undemocratic origins of the European idea - London 1998, pp. 75-78.
(3) "A Message of Hope for Europe from the Synod in Rome" - op.cit.
(4) Quoted from The official web site of the Church of England, www.cofe.anglican.org.
(5) Norman Davies, Europe, London 1997, p. 7.
(6) Ibid. p.8.
(7) For a discussion on the Nazi European order see Laughland, op.cit. pp. 13-80.
(8) "Fundamental rights and non-discrimination", Roger Scruton, European Journal September/October 1997 p.6.
(10) For a survey of the evolution of the Community's human rights legislation see The Penguin Companion to European Union, Timothy Bainbridge, London 1998, pp. 127-129, pp. 157-158, pp.298-302.
(11) Supplement Article 3 of the Treaty of Rome. For a good discussion of the damaging social effects of gender equality legislation and the scientifically spurious theories which underpin it see Liberating women from modern feminism, Caroline Quest ed., Institute of Economic Affairs, London 1994.
(12) The full title of the Directive is "The Council Directive establishing a General Framework for Equal Treatment in Employment and Occupation". For an excellent analysis of the potentially damaging impact of the Directive on religious institutions see The Christian Institute's The European Threat to Religious Freedom: a response to the European Union's proposed Employment Directive -Newcastle, 2000.
(13) John Bowers QC and Mark L.R. Mullins, ibid., p.25.
(16) Ibid, p.18.
(17) Ibid, p.4
(18) Martin Howe, "A Giant Stride Further", European Journal, September/October 1997, p.4.
(19) Article F, para. 2, The Treaty of Amsterdam amending the Treaty on European Union, the Treaties establishing the European Communities and certain related Acts.
(20) The Daily Telegraph, 9 March, 2000.
(21) The Spectator, 5 February, 2000.
(22) John Laughland, "The long road to communism", Spectator, 15 April, 2000.
(24) European foundation intelligence digest, no. 92 7-20 April 2000, European Foundation, London.
(25) Vasyl Marcus, "Religion and nationality: The Uniates of the Ukraine," in B.R. Bociukiw and J.W. Strong eds: Religion and Atheism in the USSR and Eastern Europe, London, 1975.
(26) Valentyn Moroz, Chronicle of Resistance in Ukraine, Baltimore, 1970, p.5.
(27) Robert MaCartney QC MP, speech delivered at the Westminster Central Hall, to the annual conference of the UK Independence Party, Westminster, 1998.
(28) Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger - Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, Rome 1986.
(31) Lambeth Conference Resolution on Sexuality, Canterbury 1998. The Resolution was passed by 526 to 70 with 45 abstentions.
(32) Catherine Elsworth, "Bishops divided over the Resurrection", Sunday Telegraph, 12 April 1998.
(33) Jonathan Petre, "Bishop defies tradition with prayer to 'God the Mother'," Sunday Telegraph, 30 May 1998.
(34) See for instance, Paul Hockenos, Free to Hate, p.246.
(35) Ibid pp.246-247.
(36) Ibid, p.249.
(37) Ibid, p.255.
(38) Konstitucja Rzeczpospolitej Polska, Warsaw 1997, Article 48, para. 1.
(39) Ibid. article 53, para. 3.
(40) Opoka w Kraju, March 1999, p.11.
(41) An insight into Cardinal Glemp's views on Europe is yielded in an interview given by him to Rzeczpospolita, 7 April 1998.
(42) Opoka w Kraju, March 1999, p.11.
(43) The six signatories of the ECSC were West Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg and Italy.
Article A, Maastricht Treaty.