Emulating the European Model: Prescription for Failure
Special Report by Bill Donohue
To say the Obama administration is enamored of the European model would be an understatement—it positively adores it. That’s why the “Change You Can Believe In” crowd is in full gear trying to mimic their economic system, the most visible example of which is its health care program. If only the European model were worth emulating. Sadly, the record is not encouraging.
Every time there is a worldwide economic downturn, the Europeans lag the Americans in recovery. Quite simply, the more market-oriented the economy, the quicker the recovery; European-style socialism trails the U.S. is rebounding precisely because government is anything but nimble. So why the attraction?
What drives the Obama administration to mimic the European model is not its record of achievements; rather, it is the belief that private institutions are not to be trusted. From its opposition to school vouchers to its embrace of a public plan for its health care program, the administration prefers the public sector to the private sector, hands down. It does so in large part because it lusts to take command, whether it be in the form of social, sexual or economic engineering.
Father Knows Best has given way to Government Knows Best. And by creating economic public policies that make men and women more and more dependent on government, the engineers control their destiny, as well as their vote. It does so, unfortunately, at the expense of self-reliance and self-government. As Dennis Prager wisely observes, “the bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.” Regrettably, government now dwarfs the individual, the result of which is a diminution in our ability to hold the state at bay.
Statist policies naturally incline toward expansion. Make no mistake about it, the encroachment of the state on civil society is real, the result of which is the creation of a precarious situation for all private institutions. That would include, certainly, religious entities. European observers of all political leanings are quick to point out how genuinely secular those societies have become. The pace of this deracination has quickened, the effect of which has been a movement away from religious indifference toward genuine hostility. Atheism hasn’t been so fashionable since the Enlightenment.
Every statist regime in history has been anti-religious. The church, of course, is rightly seen as a bulwark to the reach of the state. This explains the animus: secularists of this hyper-politicized sort cannot settle for neutrality—they are out to sunder religious traditions and institutions. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that these secular saboteurs are busy flexing their muscles in the U.S., as well as in Europe.
I wrote Secular Sabotage: How Liberals Are Destroying Religion and Culture in America as a wake-up call. The open assault on our Judeo-Christian ethos has been operative for decades, but never before have we approached a tipping point: we have now reached that stage. The stakes are high as our cultural future hangs in the balance.
From the politically correct programs that mark multiculturalism—a love fest for every civilization save our own—to the sexual libertines who see in Christian sexual ethics a roadblock to genital liberation, we are up against it. Scatological art exhibits are bad enough, but when paired with expressions of Christian bashing, they cross the line many times over. It’s been a long time, of course, since Hollywood found itself capable of portraying Christianity in a positive light, and the fury unleashed against Mel Gibson for making “The Passion of the Christ” underscores the politics involved.
Secular saboteurs show a particular fondness for using the law as a club to stamp out Christianity, torturing out of all recognition the original intent of the Framers; the First Amendment provisions regarding religious liberty have been hit the hardest. Secular elements within the Democratic Party have become bolder and bolder in their disdain for people of faith, driving Catholics out of the party in droves. Perhaps most distressing, the radical secular agenda has penetrated Catholicism, as well as the mainline Protestant denominations, disfiguring them in ways not previously thought imaginable.
In short, Christian bashing is in vogue. That this is happening in a nation which is approximately 80 percent Christian shows the power of a loosely organized, but totally determined, secular minority, and a collapse of will on the part of a sizeable segment of the Christian population. Only a coalition of religious conservatives, across faith lines, can reverse course. Fortunately, as evidenced by the coalition that rallied around Proposition 8 in California, there is reason for optimism.