The recent terrorist attacks against Christians in France – one in Nice, where an Islamist stabbed parishioners at a Catholic church, and one in Lyon, where an Orthodox priest was wounded – have aggravated a battle for secular values that was already in full swing in cyberspace. At the same time, the dark irony of the situation, when secularists are paying the price for their penchant for offensive cartoons with the heads of Christians, has somehow escaped public attention. As has another important feature of what is going on. Although bitter enemies, it seems that the secularists and the Islamists are very useful to each other. It happens in politics sometimes that enemies capable of igniting the anger of the masses, thus mobilising and uniting them, are actually more useful and beneficial than friends.
Islamism seeks to fuel feelings of humiliation, injustice and bitter resentment among Muslims. This is a standard technique for any extremist movement – our nation, social class, racial group or, in this case, religious community is being cruelly insulted and harassed, so we must rise up, take revenge, and secure our rightful place in the world. “Charlie”, and now the French government itself headed by Emmanuel Macron, is kindly giving the extremists exactly what they want with their offensive cartoons of the Islamic prophet Muhammad reproduced at state level.
Publicly making fun of what people regard as most important, sacred and precious in their lives is a simple and effective way of showing that they are no longer thought of as human beings. Extremist propaganda immediately acquires convincing images that can easily be sent to any smartphone.
To return the favour, the extremists commit wilfully heinous murders so that the secularists can say what a terrible evil religion is and how important it is to rub it out – and this refers to religion generally, to every branch of Islam, Christianity, Judaism and whatever else, because obviously inequality and discrimination should be avoided at all costs.
It is often said that the cartoons are just an excuse and the extremists would commit murder anyway. On the one hand, this is true – an embittered psychopath who hates the world and themselves does not need a reason to murder people. They do not really need Islamism, either. It is just that psychopaths who are white like Anders Breivik and Brenton Tarrant have more options. They can embrace neo-Nazism or Satanism, although the door to Islamism is not closed to them. Should they be darker skinned and rejected by the Nazis, then the natural place for them is with the Islamists. However, acts of mindless violence – where someone grabs a weapon and starts killing random people – can happen without any kind of ideology.
What makes Islamists different is that they identify with a certain religion, seek out accomplices among its followers, and declare themselves to be avenging their wrongs.
And whether they find accomplices, gain influence, and receive support – or get rejected and handed over to the authorities – relies heavily on Muslims’ relations with their neighbours. Deliberately poisoning these relations means helping the Islamists. The premise that people who deliberately insult the Prophet Muhammad are helping the Islamists not fighting them seems obvious – but not to the secularists, apparently.
Why? The fact is that secularism dates back to the bloody massacre of the French Revolution. It is a form of ideological fanaticism for which notions of pragmatism and common sense cannot be placed above ideological tenets.
I discovered a prime example on Facebook on the day of the terrorist attack itself. People rushed to post cartoons from the same magazine on their Facebook pages, but of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ rather than the Prophet Muhammad. It is not entirely clear what they were trying to say by posting these offensive anti-Christian cartoons on the same day that Christians were martyred by savage murderers, or why on earth they were reacting to an atrocity committed against Christians with anti-Christian blasphemy.
Perhaps to emphasise that mocking and insulting people, including the victims of a recent terrorist attack for their religious beliefs, is a secular tradition they feel is important to hold on to. A fundamental lack of tact, empathy and any notion of decency is what they consider necessary and would like us to get on board with. Well, I don’t want to be any part of it. In the Bible, the one who “opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven” (Revelations 13:6) is not a good person at all. I and his admirers are on totally opposite sides.
It has nothing to do with freedom of speech per se. Freedom means that I could, theoretically, say things that are rude, offensive and irresponsible, but, as an adult capable of treating others with respect and compassion, I would never do that. In 2010, for example, an American called Terry Jones was going to publicly burn copies of the Koran. Technically, it would not have been illegal, but the whole of America decried his plan and persuaded him not to do it.
He was also urged to abandon the venture by the government (including the president), the military, and religious leaders. So, the position that “we live according to the law and the law does not forbid it, but it is wrong and should not be done” is completely possible. And it is not a difficult position to take. For example, it is impossible for the law to cover people who are offensive (although France does have hate speech laws), but there is absolutely no need to drag their obscenities into schools and make banners out of them.
But, as we always hear, this would mean giving in to the Islamists. Well, let me say again that by supporting blasphemy, and primarily anti-Christian blasphemy, you are not standing up against the Islamists. You are supporting and making room for them. In fact, like it or not, you are making yourself their ally and attacking the Christian faith and the Christian church with them.
For instance, almost 50 Islamists in Vienna ransacked a Catholic church. Why are they attacking churches, believers and priests who had absolutely nothing to do with the cartoons?
For the same reason that churches are attacked by people from what seems to be the opposite political side. On the same day, I read about attacks on churches in Poland during pro-abortion protests, about how Black Lives Matter protesters in Philadelphia burned a church to the ground, and more generally about arson, violence and other acts of vandalism being carried out against Christian churches by two groups of people – the Islamists and the militant secularists.
And both for the same reason – they hate European civilisation and want to destroy it, and they understand instinctively where the beating heart of this civilisation lies – where the priest lifts the chalice above the altar.
Rip out its heart and Europe will be clear for the construction of either a left-wing liberal utopia with dozens of “genders” and so on or a world caliphate. It is fairly obvious which of the two will emerge victorious, simply because the progressives fighting against bigotry and religious superstition are extremely hostile to the idea of family and childbirth, and they will not have anyone to populate their brave new world. In purging Europe of Christianity, they are not purging it for themselves.
The choice being forcefully imposed on us – whether we are for the blasphemers or the thugs – is simply false. Both are part of the same destructive process. They only seem like enemies when they do, in fact, support each other.