Friday, 2 November 2007

America's culture wars spreading to Europe

WILLIAM BUCKLEY, the grand old man of the American right, once argued that a conservative's duty was to stand athwart history shouting “Stop!” So far this special report has argued that modernity has been surprisingly helpful to religion. The reverse is not necessarily true. Pious people are shouting “Stop!” (or at least “Slow down!”) to things liberals regard as progress. The three main battlefields are culture, science and economics.

Such a sweeping generalisation requires an immediate caveat. The three battlefields are reasonably well defined, but the people fighting on them are not. On the secular side, progressive Parisians and New Yorkers may both be modern, but often have very different attitudes to economics. The religious side is even more fragmented. Conservative American churches tend to embrace modern capitalism, but are suspicious of biotechnology and modern culture; by contrast, leftish American evangelicals are much more bothered about globalisation than about stem cells. The technophobic Catholic hierarchy in Europe is mildly hostile to modern culture, science and capitalism, and technophile Muslim fundamentalists loathe all three.

Slowly a phenomenon that America knows as “the culture wars” is going global. Abortion, gay marriage, stem cells and euthanasia are popping up all over the place as rallying calls for religious people. In many developed countries politics is increasingly driven by problems of identity and values rather than economics. Read more
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1 comment:

David said...

This quote is the tip of the iseberg. The Economist has a leader and special report on religion and politics.

David Hey
West Yorkshire