Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Paris attacks: Why it's not racist to point out the obvious.

In the aftermath of the horrific ISIS terrorist attacks on Paris, I wrote the following on my Facebook page:

Everyone wants to know, "What can we do? What can we do?" That's a tough one, but there are some basic facts that we have to face: 
Europe is post-Christian. As Pope Benedict urged, it needs to get back to its Christian roots and live out those virtues and truths, unapologetically. If that doesn't happen, Europe will lose, because ultimately it's a numbers game -- Europeans really don't have babies any more. They've given that up. Muslims (radical or not) have oodles of babies. Demographics, people. There was blood this time, but in the end it will be a bloodless coup.

A friend of mine gently responded with: "Leila. This is racist."

But is it?

First, I myself am an Arab. My father is a full-blooded Arab man, a Palestinian born and raised in the Middle East. He is also a devout Catholic (yes, Catholic/Christian Arabs existed for centuries before Islam entered the scene). If I am a racist, then am I a self-hating Arab? I don't think so. I love my family, I love my heritage, I love the Arab people.

Second, Islam is (obviously) not a race, it's a religion. More accurately, radical Islam is an ideology, and an overtly political one. There is no arguing that, is there? Now it is true that we cannot paint all Muslims with the brush of "radical". However, we also cannot find and identify "true" Islam, because Islam has a "sola scriptura" problem: They have no pope, so to speak. Each branch of Islam is one particular interpretation of the Quran, but there is no final authority. So, the sects with the most power and influence are the ones who sort of "define" what we see as Islam, even if those beliefs are not held by all, or even most, Muslims.

But ultimately, can we really argue with the demographics? After all, the demographics are just facts, numbers, statistics, projections. There's nothing racist about noting the facts, noting where Europe is headed if nothing changes.

Europe was a Christian continent, to its very roots, to its deepest identity. Demographically, we know that Europe will one day be a Muslim continent unless it reestablishes its Christian roots. The French (and Germans, and Italians, and Spanish, etc.) do not have babies anymore. Muslims, and I can't knock them for it, have broods of children. This is a fact. If Europeans do not return to the practice of Christianity, if their abysmal rates of reproduction stay deathly low, you can extrapolate and predict the outcome. It's not rocket science.

Inexplicably, some people don't appreciate differences between Judeo-Christian values and Islam (including a radicalized form of Islam that appears to have more power than peaceful Islam), but the differences are vast, and the ascendency of Islam on a once-Christian continent will change the face of our world. Is it bigoted to point this out?

If we want to pretend that this is an issue of racism or bigotry rather than a clash of truth against error and, yes, a spiritual battle, perhaps we should take the terrorists at their own words. They proudly took responsibility for last night's heinous attacks, calling France "...the carrier of the banner of the Cross in Europe" and referring to Europeans as "Crusaders" no less than five times. The deceased victims themselves are referred to as "Crusaders".

It is not racist to assert that Europe's only hope is to return to its Christian roots.

Echoing Pope Benedict before him, Pope Francis recently said as much, including urging Europeans to have more children:
When there is an empty space, people try to fill it. If a country has no children, immigrants come in and take their place. I think of the birth-rate in Italy, Portugal and Spain. I believe it is close to 0%. So, if there are no children, there are empty spaces. And this not wanting to have children is, partly...due to a culture of comfort, isn’t it? In my own family I heard, a few years ago, my Italian cousins saying: “Children? No. We prefer to travel on our vacations, or buy a villa, or this and that”… And the elderly are more and more alone. I believe Europe’s greatest challenge is to go back to being a mother Europe….

Francis laments the mistake of Europe in discarding its Christian identity:

Europe made a mistake when it chose to speak of its identity without wanting to recognize the deepest level of its identity, its Christians roots. That was a mistake. But, well, we all make mistakes in life. It's time to recover its faith.

Pope Francis is not a racist for speaking these truths.

Let us pray for the souls of the dead, the consolation of their families, the healing of the wounded, and the restoration of Christ's Kingship in Europe.

Let us specifically ask the saints of France to pray for their homeland, which is often referred to as the "Eldest Daughter of the Church".

St. Thérèse of Lisieux, St. Irenaeus, St. Jean Vianney, St. Joan of Arc, St. Bernadette, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louise de Marillac, St. Catherine Labouré, and St. Bernard of Clairvaux, pray for your countrymen, and for our world!


  1. Our Blessed Lady has a special connection to France also, right? I am not remembering at the moment...

  2. Finally! I can comment! And I am the first one!!

    Yes! Thank you, as usual, for speaking the truth, Leila. I have nothing to add to what you have said already--and what you speak is just simply the harsh truth. It can be very hard to call it exactly as it is, isn't it? I think of the truth as a mirror--it tells all and doesn't hide anything. It is what it is!

    Praying especially today, for the recovery for France. That as the shock wears off and feelings of grief and anger take over, that they will turn to God. I pray they will find their comfort in Him. And yes, I will say it, regardless of what that cartoonist says! #prayforfrance!

    1. Ah, well, the second one. That's good too. :-)

  3. Cheech, I think of Nore Dame, of Our Lady of Lourdes, of Our Lady's appearance to St. Catherine Labouré, and more!

    Becky, i'm so glad you can comment again! Not the first one however, drat! Ha ha.

  4. I do think your statement is racist, in that it assumes that white Europeans are or will be Christian. I'm sure you didn't mean it that way since you yourself are an Arab Christian. But looking at just the words, you're saying that Europeans are being out birthed by Arabs/other Asians/Africans, and then making the leap that if only more white babies were born then Europe would be more Christian. The Christian center has shifted: it's now in the global South. If anything, the conflict in France is between secular society and certain Muslim sects. France has been aggressively secular in its public spaces since the French Revolution, and the broader society has gradually caught up. It's hardly a matter of Arab Muslims outbirthing white French Christians. France is very different from the U.S., we should remember.

    1. Not quite, Sarah. Leila is NOT saying "if only more white babies are born.." she is saying that If only Europeans would return to their Christian faith and hertiage, they would, among other good things, have more babies. And yes, those babies, born of converted-bak-to-Christianity Eurpoeans, would also be Christians.

  5. A friend of mine gently responded with: "Leila. This is racist."

    Um. Racist? Doesn't she mean "religionist"? I mean, if she wants to compartmentalize the thought, that's the more accurate type of label.

    It's not a race and, therefore, not a race issue.

    It's like saying that because the Bureau of Labor stats show that men make more money in the business world than women that that is sexist. Not sexist at all, just a reflection of the stats.

    How does a person tie together "race" with a religious idea?

  6. Sarah-
    How do you group white with Christian when Leila never said anything about Caucasian ethnicity?

  7. Sarah, I'm totally fine with Europeans of any and all colors returning or turning to Christ! Not sure how that's racist?

    Nubby, my friend, who is a young progressive male by the way, is using the term "race" in a way that is unexpected. Apparently (I've learned today!) it can mean one group of people wishing to overtake or replace another group of people, or something like that. He doesn't see it as an ideological battle, but as something that can fall under the umbrella of "racism". I find that to be illogical and a misuse of words, so I reject it.

  8. Oh, ok. So racism has nothing really to do with ethnicity now? Hm.
    Why don't the progressives get more precise and use a term like "agenda-sim" or "idea-ism" to explain "one group of people wishing to overtake or replace another group of people." Hey, "genocide" fits that bill. And that's not at all the route you were going down.
    How does your progressive friend defend his inaccuracy?

  9. Also, let us be mindful of the bombings in Beirut, which are not getting as much airplay as Paris. God bless Beirut. I still have many relatives who live there. Lebanon is the most Christian Arab nation there is, although Christians there are suffering.

  10. Nubby, great question, and I haven't gotten a clear answer yet.

  11. The word 'racist' has been weaponized. When someone uses it, you have to ask, "Do you mean 'racist' in the literal sense, or are you using it more casually, to refer to moral inferiors that must be punished?" I don't presume to know your friend's motives, but this is particular way of using the word is easy to acquire if you run in progressive circles.

  12. David, wow, I had no idea. Who has the energy to parse words in this way? I cannot imagine how exhausting it must be to be a "progressive" and use all this "progressive speak". I just prefer straightforward language! Racism should apply to race.

  13. Europeans still refer to themselves in the majority as Christians. But they want little to do with the Church. They probably love Pope Francis just as much as everyone else. They just have a deep antipathy against "the institution" which supposedly is so Pharisean. The truth of course is that they have no idea what Christianity really is. That's why they need to be catechized. And this they refuse with all their strength. They don't understand that you can't separate Jesus from His Church, and that He Himself, through the Holy Spirit, speaks through her. Funny as that sounds, the key is the Church.

  14. Good Morning,

    I have been reading this blog for a number of months now, and find this post the most compelling of anything written prior by the author. In short, I concur with all that has been written.Years ago I waded into blog dialogue at the Huffington Post and anything and everything I said ( much like what Leila has articulated ) was ridiculed and chastised. I was labelled a bigot, a racist, and a homophobe.. No such terminology was used in my writing. I only spoke the truth, cited statistics, facts, quotes from authority figures, etc.
    Truth and the opposite of truth are like water and oil, they do not mix. Those that espouse the truth are seen as the enemy, but we know that to speak the truth is to speak as Christ himself did - with clarity, honesty, empathy and compassion.
    It is important to note that one can only reject the truth when one knows or perhaps just senses what the truth is. Being made in his image and likeness there is inherent in each of us a sense of what the truth is, and our free will allows us to reject it, should we choose. This rejection of truth is why dialogue is often peppered with words of hurt or label placing.
    Let us continue, as Leila has, speak the truth in love, persevere, as He did, ultimately for His glory.

  15. SO spot-on Leila! Your friend is greatly misled and thanks for defending your correct position so perfectly - keep it up! Keep this handy, in a couple decades we may be applying the same admonishment to the US.

  16. Sebastian, that is so... mixed up! They are not clear thinkers anymore. Sad, sad! I wonder if this tragedy will clear their heads? I doubt it, but God's grace can change the world!

    John, I am sure it will come to America, yes. Sigh.

    FrancieB, thank you! Oh, I have experienced what you describe in those leftist comboxes. It's like they have lost their sense of reason, although I like what you say, that they can only reject truth when they know or sense it somehow. Natural Law... written on the heart of every man! They know on some level. Have you ever read this post? The last part to me is so searing! Understanding the avenging conscience helped me make sense of all the rage by those who cannot/will not see the obvious:

    Also, an Arab relative of mine put this on my Facebook today:

    "Once Qaddafi said we will conquer Europe without weapons we will take it through population"

    If that's accurate, he was certainly right. And it's not racist, it's just a fact.

  17. The Muslim Brotherhood and others have long said that they will take over Europe (and Israel through Muslim Arab Israelis of course) by the number of births, and that time is on their side.

    Europe is in need of leadership, especially in the moral and security crises we have been facing for a long time now. Unless Church leaders find their courage again, and provide clarity and a willingness to stand up to evil in no uncertain terms, in the way St. John Paul II did, others will step into the breach, and it will not be pleasant.

    When the Church is not vilified for being allegedly anti-gay and anti-women and anti-freedom and what not, she is seen as weak and feminized (well, she is Mother Church after all). But we need the strength of Christ and many of the Saints again to provide leadership in these times, in addition to love and prayers. St. John Paul II, pray for us.

  18. No, I do not think it to be racist. It is true. That said, respectfully, I do not believe it to be appropriate. Europe has set its course and may or may not reverse itself. It seems too soon to be pointing out truths such as these. It reminds me of the girl who miscarried and right away certain Catholics are clucking about "well, she was on the pill, dangers of the pill, etc." instead of reaching out to her or asking what they can do. Whether or not said girl lost baby because of the pill is irrelevant because she is hurting and just lost a child.

    That said, your page and people who want to engage and be offended will find reason to be. I wouldn't have commented had I seen it.

  19. Monica, yes, but sometimes it's important to talk about a topic while it actually has someone's attention. Soon enough, complacency will fall on us (and France?) and no one would care about a post like this. But I appreciate your honesty.

    Sebastian, thank you. You are right in the thick of Europe's painful demise. I know you are doing your part! What are the priests there doing to attract people to Christ? There must be some who are fervent and have a zeal for souls?

    Also, this is an excellent explanation of ISIS and what they really want. My uncle (an Arab) sent it to me. Really good.

  20. I am curious. (spinning off) If Europe is post-Christian... aren't we in the US post-Christian, too? I mean, we are a melting pot of religions and our leader certainly isn't really Christian. There's a melting pot of religions in Europe, too. Like... what countries and regions ARE still "Christian"? How is that defined and how does that happen? We were in Fiji years ago and it seemed hugely Christian to me. Lots of Catholics and Protestants and very little else. Hmmm..

  21. Leila, you asked: What are the priests there doing to attract people to Christ? There must be some who are fervent and have a zeal for souls?

    You bet we have fervent priests with a zeal for souls! Most of them are on the younger side (< 50 years). The church I attend is packed on Sunday mornings for the family Mass at 0930 am - with lots of kids too! They are full of love but don't mince words either. Mostly they radiate joy and are grounded in very good education (which I think they mostly got in Rome during the JP II and Benedict XVI years). How do they attract souls? Mostly word of mouth. They (and the laypeople) also go out an evangelize door to door once a year, but that's not very successful, to be honest. Also, they don't shy away from processions through their neighborhood, in full "regalia". Yes, we get stares from people, but I think many are also touched by something which they think was lost. Lots of retreat offers, spiritual direction etc. Some adult conversions every year, but mostly I have the impression they preach to the already converted. Also, sadly, it seems to me those "conservative" priests are not in line for bishoprics. Mostly bishops are not supposed to "rock the boat" and upset the non-catechized or the government. Like I said, I often wish for more courage at the upper echelons. More Peters and Pauls!

    Is it successful? IDK. Church attendance sure is down here compared to 50 years ago (though less than the Protestants). But it seems to me that generally the "quality", at least in the cities in my country, is better. So while I don't expect much of a revival any time soon, there is real strength which gives me confidence that even here the Church will survive. And who knows, maybe events like Paris will be a galvanising force.

  22. Sebastian, thank you for this! Well, young priests with zeal and lots of kids in the pews… That does make me hopeful! Although I don't really understand why they are choosing bishops who will not rock the boat. That part makes no sense! Thank you for being faithful in the midst of all of it. I often think of you very solid Catholics in Europe and I'm so admiring of you!

  23. Holly, it's a good question. I guess there are nations like Malta or the Philippines which really are quite solidly Catholic! Poland is also doing a good job keeping the faith I believe. Which Central American nation tried to keep IVF illegal but somehow lost the battle? I want to say it was Costa Rica but I could be wrong. Anyway, I think that although many Christians have lost their footing, Sebastian says that most still consider themselves "Christian" in Europe. They need to have a mass conversion, really, back to Christ. May be the way it happened in Mexico with Saint Juan Diego! But once that happens, there will be so much power and grace among the Saints that only good can come! Europe needs more Saints. Europe needs a return to the sacraments which will mean a building up of virtue, including the virtue of courage!

    But in truth, I don't know what it will look like, I just know it's the only hope.

  24. Leila
    Perhaps I'm mistaken but you seem to be equating "Christian" with Catholic. It sounds like you're positing that Europeans have to become Christian again because it follows they will have more children and otherwise Europe will be filled with Muslims who have lots of children-right? But I question the logical progression from Christianity to more children, because lots of Christians aren't Catholics and don't forbid birth control and don't push for large families.

  25. My priest has pointed out that since non-Christian refugees are coming to Europe, we don't have to go to them anymore to evangelize them. Certainly they will have more opportunity to get to know Christianity here than in their home countries where even reading the Bible is forbidden to all except the most learned Muslims. On the other hand, we haven't been too successful with re-evangelizing even our "indigenous peoples" in Europe, let alone Muslims who have been part of Europe forever.

    Leila is exactly right: We need more Saints now here in Europe, and JP II and Benedict XVI have canonized many to show that they still live among us. It was always the Holy Spirit through the Saints who has effected evangelization - certainly here in Europe, and usually in times of crisis. I think of St. Benedict in the early Middle Ages (also called the Dark Ages), St. Francis of Assisi and St. Dominic when confronted with abuses in the Church and the heresy of the Waldensians and others, St. Ignatius of Loyola during the Counter-Reformation, and the many Saints of the 19th and 20th century in the era of modernization and atheist ideologies like nazism and communism.

  26. Johanne, you wrote:

    "Perhaps I'm mistaken but you seem to be equating "Christian" with Catholic. It sounds like you're positing that Europeans have to become Christian again because it follows they will have more children and otherwise Europe will be filled with Muslims who have lots of children-right? But I question the logical progression from Christianity to more children, because lots of Christians aren't Catholics and don't forbid birth control and don't push for large families."

    You have to remember that Protestant Christianity (every last denomination) called contraception a grave moral evil and held that unbroken Christian teaching until the very first crack in the dam came in 1930, with the Anglicans, who began to allow limited contraception for married couples only, for very grave reasons (and then it snowballed, of course). So, when I say return to its Christian roots, I really mean that. Europe must return to the fullness of its Christian roots, which definitely did not include contraception as a "moral good". But of course, a full return would be all the way to its Catholic Christian roots, since there was no Protestantism until about 500 years ago (and they held the Christian position on human sexuality until a mere 85 years ago... heck there are plenty of people on earth still alive from that time, that's how recently it was that Protestants began to cave on the moral issues involving human sexuality.)

    So yes, a return to its Christian roots! An acceptance of contraception is a deviation from those roots, and is a conformity to secular, "progressive" ideas that have nothing of Christianity in them.

    Hope that makes sense! If not, I'll try again.


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