Jonathon van Maren

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Angela Merkel is simply wrong to say Islam ‘belongs’ to Germany

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

March 22, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – A few weeks ago, I interviewed British journalist and author Douglas Murray on his fascinating 2017 book The Strange Death of Europe. The West, Murray explained, has been gripped by a paralyzing inability to deal with the crises it faces: the influx of migrants, rising rates of Muslim immigration, and the frequency of terrorist attacks. 

One of the key reasons that the West finds itself so unable to respond to these things is that it has completely lost its cultural confidence, and instead has lapsed into a never-ending cycle of self-flagellation and repentance for historical sins. It is not that historical sins should not be repented for, Murray noted. It is simply that many Western nations now seem to believe that there was nothing good, and that they can do nothing good in the future.

It this context, it isn’t hard to understand another spate of “scandals” that have hit German politics in recent weeks. In response to rising protests following the 2015 crisis, when Chancellor Angela Merkel opened Germany’s borders to a flood of migrants, Merkel declared that, “Islam belongs to Germany.” But now, her new interior minister Horst Seehofer, a long-time critic of her open-borders policy, told the Bild newspaper that just the opposite was true. “No. Islam does not belong to Germany. Germany is shaped by Christianity,” he said.

“The Muslims who live among us naturally belong to Germany,” he went on. “That of course does not mean that we should, out of false consideration for others, give up our traditions and customs. Muslims need to live with us, not next to us or against us.” The response to Seehofer’s comments was instantaneous outrage, and Merkel was swift to distance herself from his remarks. “Four million Muslims are living in Germany and they also practice their religion here,” she said, missing his point entirely, “and these Muslims also belong to Germany and so their religion, Islam, also belongs to Germany.”

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It is hard to understand why a historically factual statement—that Germany is not an Islamic nation, and traditionally has never been Muslim—is so controversial. Germany was the heart of one of Christianity’s greatest upheavals during the inauguration of the Reformation. Even in Germany’s very darkest hour, it was a handful of her faithful Christians who reminded them what it was to be German: Hans and Sophie Scholl, the devout Lutherans who sacrificed their lives to distribute leaflets warning their fellow citizens of Nazi evils, Martin Niemoller and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who battled the Nazification of the churches, and Bernhard Lichtenberg, a Catholic priest murdered for his condemnations of Nazi policies on euthanasia and their treatment of Jews. These men and women are a fundamental part of Germany’s heritage.

Following Seehofer’s remarks, Merkel’s health minister Jens Spahn triggered what the Telegraph referred to as a “second row” by responding to demands by abortion activists to remove a German ban on advertising by abortion clinics, remarking that, “Some of those who now want to promote abortions are uncompromising enough when it comes to animal rights, but in this debate they no longer take into account that it’s a question of human life.” These remarks were immediately condemned as “incendiary” and repudiated by the Social Democrats, who have long pushed for Germany to permit the abortion industry to advertise its lethal services.

Germany, because of its horrifying legacy with medicalized killings during the Nazi days, did not legalize abortion until 1992 and has strict laws in place preventing abortion from being advertised, or even abortion information being distributed. A German gynecologist, for example, was fined the equivalent of about $8,500 for posting information on abortion on her website in 2017. This policy is only one of a number of steps Germany has taken to ensure that abortion does not become normalized as it is in many other Western countries, which accounts for the fact that their abortion rate is significantly lower.

But again, Spahn’s point is simply an accurate observation. Abortion activists still attempt to twist themselves into pretzels and avoid admitting what is unavoidably true: That abortion ends the life of a human being developing in the womb. The Left becomes far more exercised about the treatment of animals, while refusing to discuss the fact that their position on abortion essentially endorses the violent killing of one subset of the human family. That is why they must respond with outrage when the obvious is pointed out—because if a discussion were to take place in which they were forced to defend the idea that some human beings may be killed by other human beings, they would find that the rhetorical devices they cling to so fervently will prove quite flimsy.

The fundamental problem with progressives is that because so much of what they believe does not align with reality, they are left lapsing into outrage when confronted with facts that they dislike. Germany has never been an Islamic country, and it should not be considered sacrilegious for someone to say that those entering Germany should respect the existing customs and traditions. The Left is passionate about abortion, which is why they are pushing so hard for their friends in the industry to be able to advertise their services—ignoring the fact that we are talking about the ending of individual human lives—another fact that makes them furious to hear. And herein lies another key element in Europe’s loss of cultural confidence: They can no longer agree on what truth is anymore. 

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Jonathon van Maren

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.