25 June 2007

But What About The Muslims?

Peter Burnet passes along an email he received from Ali Choudhury, linking to a Washington Post story on the rise of a new conservative Christian party in the Netherlands. "Rise" and "conservative" are something of an overstatement, as the Christian Union party has only six members of Parliament and seems to be more of a Christian Socialist party with righty social leanings. The whole thing is somewhat suspect because the Post insists on referring to the Protestant Church based party as "orthodox."
"People in high political circles are saying it can't be good to have a society so liberal that everything is allowed," said Kranendonk, editor of Reformist Daily and an increasingly influential voice that resonates in the shifting mainstream of Dutch public opinion. "People are saying we should have values; people are asking for more and more rules in society."

In cities across the Netherlands, mayors and town councils are closing down shops where marijuana is sold, rolled and smoked. Municipalities are shuttering the brothels where prostitutes have been allowed to ply their trade legally. Parliament is considering a ban on the sale of hallucinogenic "magic mushrooms." Orthodox Christian members of parliament have introduced a bill that would allow civil officials with moral objections to refuse to perform gay marriages. And Dutch authorities are trying to curtail the activities of an abortion rights group that assists women in neighboring countries where abortions are illegal.
The Christian Union is a pro-asylum party and there is no mention in the article of Islam or the Netherland's problems with Muslim immigrants. Of course, the Christian Union is exactly the sort of party that Muslims could support.


Ali said...

That's Choudhury.

David said...

A. Sorry. It's fixed now.

B. If it makes you feel better, at first I misspelled "Burnett," too.

C. I reject the small fascism of prescriptivist spelling.

Peter Burnet said...

Yeah, well you Muslim names look all the same to us.

This is interesting, if accurate. As with the Islamic reactions to the Danish cartoons and Rushdie's knighthood, the murders of Pim Fortuyn and Theo Van Gogh were so atrocious and outrageous that they had to be condemned in an unequivocal spirit of solidarity. Yet those two seem to have been the embodiment of tolerance turned into a kind of libertine fascism (they could have played the Joel Grey character in Cabaret) and I've wondered what the average Dutchman really felt about having such types as symbols of freedom and openess. It was close to holding up Larry Flynt as the symbol of America's greatness. Much as Canadians would do, the Dutch seem to be quietly saying one thing while cautiously acting otherwise. Given some of Dutch history, such confusion and even hypocrisy shouldn't be condemned out of hand.

There have been lots of articles, threads and comments of late on that hoary old question of whether doctrinaire atheists/secularists can hold their own morally with the religious. I think we're all in agreement that they most certainly can, but agreeing on values amongst themselves is another question. Religious folks argue endlessly about how wrong a wrong actually is and what an open society can and should do about it, but they seem at least to be able to come to an easy consensus that the drug trade and sexual slavery are bad things.

Except for the Anglicans, of course.

Ali said...

It's also a Hindu name. Means land-owner.

Harry Eagar said...

Ah. I always wondered about the ecumenism of that name.

Mike Beversluis said...

David: You might be right, but I don't think it's because they are called "Orthodox". During the Nineties, the American Calvinist denomination split, with the more conservative branch calling itself the "Orthodox" version. They've since augured themselves into the ground.

It's one of those Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912 things.

Duck said...

"He said Amsterdam's police force is overwhelmed and ill-equipped to fight the sophisticated foreign organized crime networks operating in the city. Laws designed to regulate prostitution and brothel operators have instead opened the trade to criminal gangs, according to de Wolf and other city officials"

Gee, that's a shock.

Bret said...

Our biggest customer is Dutch (Philips). I've found them surprisingly conservative and even religious, especially outside of Amsterdam/Rotterdam/Thisdam/Thatdam.

Most of the Dutch I've met have never used marijuana/prostitutes/etc. and are far too conservative too consider trying it. It was mostly non-Dutch who were into that sort of thing. Admittedly, I haven't looked up any statistics to ensure that's actually the case, but from my (non-Dutch) friends who've visited the famous Amsterdam red light district, it was completely foreign tourists as far as they could tell.

The reason these things are/were legal was that the Dutch felt the costs of prohibition were too high. We'll see what they end up with now.