Breaking Glass

Cartoon Enlightenment

Two years ago, Europe was in the middle of its cartoon jihad, as thousands of Muslims protested images believed to insult Muhammad.  At the time, despairing observers saw the affair as yet another milestone in Europe’s descent into Eurabia, a graveyard of Christianity and Western civilization.  In hindsight, though, it rather looks as if the cartoons might have marked a turning point in a quite different direction.  Since 2005, and precisely because of those cartoons, the prospects for Christianity in Europe seem better than they have for decades.

The aggressive militancy of immigrant populations forced Europeans to spell out the minimum terms on which all citizens should agree.  In itself, this willingness to claim superiority for certain values over others represented a massive departure from anything-goes multiculturalism, although many might argue with the definitions of core European beliefs that elites have offered.  Generally, these were presented in terms of Enlightenment values.  Wouter Bos, leader of the Dutch Labor Party, enshrined the “freedom of expression, the equal treatment of men, women, heterosexuals and homosexuals, the separation of church and state, the principle of democratic government and the rule of law.”

Secular liberal ideas also shaped the tests that various European governments created to prevent Islamists from entering their countries or gaining...

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