Kenneth L. Woodward writes in the New York Times today about how shocked he is that the godless Europeans decided not to mention Christianity in the preamble to the EU constitution. “[T]he eliding of the Christian foundations of Western culture is morally and intellectually dishonest,” he says, and he should know, since he’s obviously the master of intellectual dishonesty. Check this out:
And it was the canon law of the Catholic Church, the oldest legal system in the West, that nurtured respect for law long before the rise of Europe’s nation-states.
Interesting idea, but I heard there was something called the Roman Republic, and I seem to recall that they had laws – and people even respected them! And I bet if you go back further you find other states with laws. I’m sure what he meant was “oldest surviving legal system”, but given his argument, eliding that qualifier is rather intellectually dishonest, don’t you think?
That bit, though, is just stupidly disingenuous. It’s not astonishingly offensive, like the next paragraph:
In the language of the French Enlightenment, the preamble extols Europe’s “underlying humanism: equality of persons, freedom, respect for reason.” But as we all know, these “humanist” values, separated from religious faith, crumbled in the blitzkrieg and disappeared at Auschwitz.
That’s right, he’s saying what you think he’s saying. Joe Lieberman is content to claim that there’s no morality without religion, but this guy takes the next logical step in suggesting that atheism caused the Holocaust.
I don’t know where people get this idea that atheists are evil. Nevertheless, Woodward is in good company with his notion that morality requires a religious foundation. I’m sure he’d agree with the man who said, “Secular schools can never be tolerated because such a school has no religious instruction and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith…. We need believing people.”
However, in considering the notion that the crimes of Auschwitz were due to a lack of religious foundation, we should take note of another quote from the same man, “Therefore, I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews, I am doing the Lord’s work.” That’s from his book, Mein Kampf.
Update: I am still not done with this guy, even after comparing him to Hitler. (He was the one who started tossing the Godwin-bait around in the first place, anyway.) Anyway, what I logged back in to say is: Given that Christianity’s contributions to the European heritage include the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, witch-hunts, and the suppression of a slew of major scientific and cultural advancements, no wonder they want to just skip over it!