Saturday, April 12, 2014

Council of Europe Planning Crackdown on Christians

Now comes the word that the Council of Europe (CEU) is engaged in planning a sweeping new set of standards and proposed laws that would re-define and severely curtail religious freedom throughout Europe.  These new rules, if adopted, would apply to any religious group or denomination not "approved" by the Council, by defining them as "sects" and stripping them of many of their rights.  Although some branches of Islam, and some cults such as Scientology, could conceivably be affected, the real target is evangelical and fundamentalist Protestants.  The proposed changes could have very practical effects, such as forbidding Christians to educate their children at home, a right protected under Article 9 and Protocol 1, Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

For the benefit of Americans and others, be it noted that the Council of Europe is an entirely separate organization from the European Union.  The Council, formed in 1949, contains 47 member states, and cannot make laws; the European Union, the actual political alliance governing Europe, currently has 28 member states, and has the power to legislate and enforce laws.  However, the Council of Europe is regarded as a vibrant and historically important part of European history and culture, and works closely with the EU, especially in areas of education and culture.  In those areas, the recommendations of the Council are taken very seriously by the leaders of the EU.

A Report “on the protection of minors against excesses of sects” and a draft Resolution have been adopted by the Committee of Legal Affairs and Human Rights, and presented to the Parliamentary Assembly this month.  This report contains extreme and draconian definitions of what constitutes an acceptable "religion," as opposed to a "sect."  Although Vatican City is not a member of the Council, Roman Catholicism and mainstream Protestantism will be protected, but such "sects" as evangelical and fundamentalist Christians will not.  If passed by the EU, this legislation would instantly remove, among other things, the right of evangelical parents to educate their children at home; other consequences would undoubtedly follow.  As is happening all over the world, genuine Biblical Christianity is being marginalized and demonized by those who cry out for "human rights."

This is a long and sordid story, and the details can be found here. They should be read by anyone who is concerned with true religious liberty.  A petition against the Council's actions has received over 12,000 signatures, but has now been closed.  Regardless, anyone living in Europe should be aware of the situation, and oppose it with any means possible.

Europe, alas, has a long and scandalous history of religious oppression, from the Roman Empire to the  Russian pogroms to the Third Reich and beyond.  This is merely the latest example, and is a genuine outrage.  If this post sounds alarmist, one would do well to remember the words of T. S. Eliot:
"It is hard for those who have never known persecution,
And who have never known a Christian,
To believe these tales of Christian persecution."

1 comment:

  1. And history repeats itself yet again. It is an outrage; thank you for drawing our attention to another arena of Christian persecution. I have to think that Scientology and other cults will be overlooked as Biblical Christianity is the main target.