Muslim immigration into Europe and to a lesser degree North America is the focus of the new populist, nationalist political movement which has gained momentum in the last several years. An appeal to the defense of Europe’s “Christian heritage” is part of the movement’s platform.
Nigel Farage wrote in an introduction to UKIP’s 2015 “Christian Manifesto”: “We need a much more muscular defense of our Christian heritage and our Christian Constitution. Ours is fundamentally a Christian nation…”[i]
Leaders in the movement in what were once Catholic countries have made similar comments. Sebastian Kurz said in a television interview, “What has shaped Europe, what has shaped Austria? We have a culture shaped by our Judeo-Christian heritage and the Enlightenment – and this culture needs protecting…”[ii] Marine Le Pen said at a rally back in 2012, “The principles we fight for are engraved in our national motto: liberty, equality, fraternity…That stems from the principles of secularization resulting from a Christian heritage.”[iii]
Le Pen and Kurz speak in contradictions rather than about the truth of European history. Such statements about acknowledging and protecting Europe’s “Christian heritage” are political slogans based on vague sentiments, and when you scratch the surface, they fall apart. Underneath the sloganeering these politicians may have a nagging intuition about the truth, but instead of exploring this intuition, they stick to the safety of their political platform.
In a recent article written by journalist Claire Berlinski about the ongoing sexual harassment “hysteria,” The Warlock Hunt, Berlinski pleads with women to stop the hunt because they might lose the freedom and power they’ve gained from feminism and the sexual revolution. She writes:
Like so many revolutions, the sexual revolution risks coming full circle, returning us right where we started—fainting at bawdy jokes, demanding the return of ancient standards of chivalry, so delicate and virginal that a man’s hand on our knee causes us trauma. Women have long been victims, but now we are in so many respects victims no longer. We have more status, prestige, power, and personal freedom than ever before. Why would we want to speak and act as though we were overwhelmingly victims, as we actually used to be?
According to Berlinski, men of the “old world,” by which one may assume she means the pre-feminist world, were “brutes” and of course, “women don’t want the old brutes back.” She writes: “No woman in her right mind would say, ‘I want the old world back.’ We know what that meant for women. Nor would we even consciously think it.”
Putting aside the fact that Berlinski deals in caricatures—damsels in distress and brutes—as opposed to the flesh and blood reality of the past, how can she be so sure that women don’t secretly and genuinely desire that “old world?” (And if they don’t, do women, at this point of their feminist indoctrination, know what is good for them?) In other words, is woman’s so-called freedom and power making them happy?
In an attempt to counter the erroneous feminist allegation that women were oppressed in the medieval Christian social order,[i] some historians turn medieval queens into feminist heroines. Such historians replace a negative view of women’s role and status in the medieval period with a positive view, but fail to shed the trappings of feminist ideology.