I read this story with some interest, and with mixed emotions.
Here is an excerpt:
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, head of the Catholic Church’s department for interfaith contacts, said religion was now talked and written about more than ever before in today’s Europe.
“It’s thanks to the Muslims,” he said in a speech printed in Friday’s L’Osservatore Romano, the official daily of the Vatican. “Muslims, having become a significant minority in Europe, were the ones who demanded space for God in society.”
The “return of God” is clearly seen in Tauran’s native France, where Europe’s largest Muslim minority has brought faith questions such as women’s headscarves into the political debate after decades when they were considered strictly private issues.
I think this is an interesting take on what has happened in Europe. Let’s be honest… it is disheartening to see the de-Christianization of Europe. But who is to blame for that? The fact that Muslims are immigrating to Europe and having children at a rate 4 times the rest of the continent is not the fault of Muslims. It is the fault of the secularization of a society that was once based on Judeo-Christian principles.
And let’s be honest about another thing, too. There is a major concern with this growth in the Muslim population in Europe from the standpoint of whether or not this will lead to a sort of extreme Islamic take-over at some point, or whether or not this population will prefer to be part of a multi-denominational society. There surely is concern that radical Islam will forcefully and successfully prevail at some point when the population reaches a sort of tipping point. Let us pray that it is not the case, and that the moderate majority of Muslims prevail in the direction of their place in a democratic society.
But the Cardinal is correct. He is in no way saying that the Muslim faith is the truth and correct. he is simply acknowledging that Christians have long ago turned into jellyfish and have invoked “person matter” as a way of stifling all public religious discussion and expression. For their theological faults, at least give credit where it is due: anyone willing to stand up for their faith and the right to practice it deserves credit. And to the extent that they succeed in relaxing this notion of public = secular and private = whatever, then Christians who actually do want to be a little more open may finally feel a little more emboldened to stand up for themselves.
Meanwhile, we continue to fight for our right to display nativity scenes and such in public. Let us never back down from this basic right of free expression as Christians in the U.S. We should not need another religion to pave the way for us to have our own public discussions on faith.