THE RETURN OF RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION and Now It's Happening in Western Europe

Daily Mail (London), January 9, 2008 | Go to article overview

THE RETURN OF RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION and Now It's Happening in Western Europe


AN OLD gag from the popular sitcom Yes Prime Minister captures somethingof the British Establishment attitude to religion. Prime Minister Jim Hacker ismulling over who to appoint as the next head of the Church of England. Onlearning that one candidate doesnt believe in God and that another believes theChurch should be disestablished, the supremely cynical civil servant SirHumphrey Appleby protests that the Queen is inseparable from the Church ofEngland.

And what about God? Hacker asks.

I think he is what is called an optional extra, replies Sir Humphrey.

That attitude came to mind over the weekend when it emerged that a powerfulBritish parliamentary committee had summoned (not requested) the Catholicbishops of England and Wales to appear before them. In a move reminiscent ofthe Penal Laws, the Catholic hierarchy is being called to account for being,well, too Catholic.

Bishops in Britain have been stressing the need for the schools under theirpatronage to be Catholic in fact as well as in name. The Bishop o f Lancaster,Pa t r i c k ODonoghue, has told schools under his patronage to placecrucifixes in all classrooms and to explain Catholic teaching on sexuality. Hehas insisted that Catholic schools refrain from supporting charities or groupsthat promote abortion, e.g. Red Nose Day or Amnesty International which in mostcountries outside Ireland supports abortion. These Church positions may seemcontroversial in a secular country like Britain, certainly. But isnt that whatfree speech is all about?

Not according to Barry Sheerman, the chairman of the British parliamentarycross-party committee on children, schools and families. Faith education, hebelieves, is all very well, as long as people are not that serious about theirfaith. Faith education without the faith is his prescription.

This trend is not limited to Britain. Last year, Sweden banned religiousschools from teaching their doctrine as if it were true. Teaching, under thenew Swedish law, could not be influenced by religious beliefs. The SwedishEducation Minister Jan Bjoerklund, said that pupils needed to be protected fromfundamentalism. Schools that contravene this law will be shut down.

Two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, religious persecution could beon the way back. But this time in Western Europe.

We are back to old questions that we thought had been resolved. Conflict aboutreligion ended in Europe when people learned to tolerate the sincerely-heldfaiths of others, no matter how strange or even repugnant these seemed. It tooka series of wars and hundreds of thousands of deaths before this lesson couldbe learned.

But these current tensions between church and state can be traced to one veryold and to one very new problem. When people talk about church and stateseparation today, they are generally thinking of the need to prevent the churchfrom interfering too much in the life of the state.

But history, from Henry VIII down to the totalitarian communist regimes of the20th century, demonstrates that the Church often has much more to fear fromstate interference than vice versa. At the present time, China seeks a vetoover any bishops to be appointed within its borders. Karol Wojtyla, it isreported, only became a bishop in Poland because the communist authoritiesvetoed other preferred candidates. In the early 19th century, it took theintervention of Daniel OConnell and other prominent laymen to prevent the Irishbishops from ceding a veto to the British authorities over any appointment totheir ranks.

WHEN Henry VIII appointed himself the head of the Church of England, he broughtboth religious authority and secular authority under his control. Perhaps itsnot surprising that, today, some British parliamentarians think that religiousauthorities can be brought to heel if what they teach their adherents seems toconflict with the state-preferred view of the world. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

THE RETURN OF RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION and Now It's Happening in Western Europe
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.