Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Europe's New 'Faith':

CS Monitor has a must-read article about the growing "religion gap" between the U.S. and EU. Among other things, the article notes that just 21 percent of Europeans say that religion is very important to them compared to 59 percent in the U.S.

Others, however, insist that the story isn't quite this simple. According to Rocco Buttiglione, the Italian politician whose ambition to become the European commissioner for justice was thwarted last year by the European Parliament, which objected to his description of homosexuality as a sin:
"The new soft totalitarianism that is advancing on the left wants to have a state religion. It is an atheist, nihilistic religion - but it is a religion that is obligatory for all."
The article notes that the new European religion may be contributing to a potentially even more momentous change on the continent: rapidly falling birthrates which, combined with Islamic immigration, portend a radically different Europe in the coming decades. As Mary Noll Venables explains in Books and Culture:

If you ask the average European woman of child-bearing age how many children she would like to have, you are unlikely to receive the answer "2.1." That number, however, is crucial for European bureaucrats. When women on average bear less
than 2.1 children, as has happened in most European countries over the last several decades, the country can no longer reproduce itself and must rely on immigration to keep its population stable and its social system healthy....

[Suddenly] private choices about having babies have worked their way into public debate.

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