Controversial ex-commission candidate Rocco Buttiglione contributes an interesting article to The Wall Street Journal’s OpinionJournal.com on his new pet topic of Europe’s apparent hostility to Christianity.
He strains the point quite a bit – especially in the first paragraph where he claims that George W Bush’s religious beliefs would make him unfit for European office (a claim which somewhat ignores Tony Blair’s well-known religious devotion) – but makes some interesting arguments as well:
“we can expect… in Europe a change of attitudes within a comparatively short period of time. Our struggling economy and ageing society can survive and be modernized only if we recover at least some of the values of the past–among them the ethics of hardworking and caring fathers and mothers.
“This is difficult to accept in Europe because our intellectuals were always convinced that modernity brings with itself the extinction of religious faith. Now America, the most advanced country in the world, shows us that religion may be and indeed is a fundamental element of a free society and of a modern economy.”
Smacks a bit of sour grapes, and the article isn’t lengthy enough for Buttiglione to present detailed arguments so remains chock-full of generalisations and simplifications, but this could prove to be an interesting debate if he can maintain his current high profile and prompt a few responses. As I’ve said before, I can see his point, it’s just he isn’t yet arguing it very well.