Post-gender Europe

Europe has gone further than the United States in embracing the new ideologies about sex, gender, and political-correctness.  And it’s going even further:  to unisex bathrooms, laws mandating women on corporate boards, and regulations about how men and women may be portrayed.  For example, it will not be legal for billboards in Germany to show women “smiling for no reason.”

What interests me are the attempts to impose–even to create–gender neutral language.  In languages such as German and Swedish in which every noun has a gender!  (In a German language class, teachers drill it into their students’ heads that the gender of a word has nothing to do with its sex!  So that the word for young woman is neuter. A spoon is masculine, a fork is feminine, a knife is neuter.)  So now the effort is to change the very grammar of these languages.  Sweden has added an “inclusive” personal pronoun to its dictionaries by fiat.  (Though linguists will explain that language doesn’t work that way.)

Details of this brave new world, which may well show up on this side of the pond before too long, after the jump. [Read more...]

Putin as conservative?

The word “conservative” means different things in the United States and Europe.  American conservatives tend to value personal liberty, free market economics, and small government.  Europeans call that being “liberal.”  European conservatives tend to hearken back to the good old days of the monarchies, being suspicious of democracy and civil liberties.  Both the European left and the European right favor big government.

Today the European right, which is reportedly poised for big electoral victories, is openly supporting Russia’s Vladimir Putin.  See why after the jump. [Read more...]

Social conservatives rising in France

There is talk of a “French tea party,” as citizens alarmed at abortion, gay marriage, and other social issues are mobilizing politically and taking to the streets.  Something similar is happening in other European countries.  The movement is one of  social conservatism, not necessarily other kinds of conservatism, with the protesters often being fine with big government and controlled economics.  But still. . . [Read more...]

Banning the burqa

The actual subject of Michael Gerson’s column, quoted above, is the vogue in a number of European countries to ban the burqa, the Islamic garb that swaths women so that their bodies cannot be seen.  After criticizing the practice, Gerson criticizes the atempts to outlaw it:

The motives of European leaders in this controversy are less sympathetic. Some speak deceptively (and absurdly) of a security motive for banning Islamic covering. Who knows what they are hiding? But by this standard, the war on terrorism would mandate the wearing of bikinis. The real purpose of burqa bans is to assert European cultural identity — secular, liberal and individualistic — at the expense of a visible, traditional religious minority. A nation such as France, proudly relativistic on most issues, is convinced of its cultural superiority when it comes to sexual freedom. A country of topless beaches considers a ban on excessive modesty. The capital of the fashion world, where women are often overexposed and objectified, lectures others on the dignity of women.

via Michael Gerson – Europe’s burqa rage.

If the freedom of religion is an important principle for us Christians, we need to defend the freedom of religion for non-Christians as well.  Don’t we?  Do you see how this is different from outlawing widow burning?


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