14 April 2006

Europe's Fundamentalism

"Any leader has to pick his fights, and my guess is that this pope will take his to the place he knows best--Europe. In the post-Soviet Europe that Pope John Paul II helped bring to life, there is already political tension between the more actively religious peoples of Eastern Europe--particularly Poland, Lithuania and Slovakia--and an assertively secular West. In February the European Union, the official arm of secular Europe, threw down the gauntlet; it effectively collapsed the government of Slovakia over a religious issue.

In 2003 the government of Slovakia signed a concordat with the Vatican to let doctors and health-care workers in Catholic hospitals decline to participate in abortions as a matter of conscience. This January the EU's Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights (their real name, not an Orwellian satire) ruled Slovakia in violation of its EU "obligations." Translation: Tell those Catholic docs to do abortions or we will hammer you financially. The political tensions split Slovakia's government, and in February it fell."

Here's the whole thing.


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