Former European Union Commissioner Frits Bolkestein takes to the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal Europe to decry “Europe’s Cultural Masochism.”Â As an aside, and noting that this is indeed the Bolkestein of Frankenstein Directive fame, it now seems quaint to recall the time when the biggest threat to the European Union was seen as foreign plumbers offering cut price services, as opposed to the serial bailout crisis in which the Eurozone now finds itself.Â But anyway, excerpting from his main theme of Europe’s cultural self-hatred, we are informed that:
If they have any doubt about the importance of Christianity in contemporary Western life, these non-European Christians need only look to locales such as England’s Oxford. There, in a land with an established Christian church, the municipality has decided to replace Christmas with a “Winter Light Festival.” According to a spokesman, this ensures that equal attention is paid to all religions.
Now if you’re worried that on your next trip to Oxford, the name of Christchurch College will have been blacked out in a wave of hypersensitivity, fear not.Â A quick run through the Google reveals that this “Oxford bans Christmas” meme is one that played out 2 years ago, and it wasn’t Oxford council but a council-sponsored charity, and the move was roundly ridiculed by the town’s non-Christian faiths, and anyway everyone was still able to call the Christmas tree a Christmas tree etc etc.
Of course, the broader issues of immigration and European identity are up for grabs, and one suspects a link, though hard to prove, between Europe making the migration valve a little tighter over the last couple of years and a bottling up of tensions in North Africa culminating in the Arab Spring. Â But it doesn’t contribute much to such debates to deploy some hoary old chestnuts of the conservative outrage! circuit in lieu of tackling those broader issues.