Friday, December 03, 2004

Follow on to Islamization of Europe Follow on to Islamization of Europe

My comments on Islamization of Europe discussed some of the potential ramifications from a likely Islamization of Europe.

In that posting, I glossed over what is happening in this country, the U.S.A., and blithely assumed that our neighbors in the New World would go along with us. That, to some extent, of course is naive. We have two decades of strife in this hemisphere, much in reaction to what was viewed as our imperialism. To some extent, opposition to the United States is almost knee jerk in much of the rest of the Americas. Indeed, I cannot name another country in the Americans that has stood by us nearly as steadfastly as has Great Britain over the last hundred years or so.

In addition to problems with our imperialism, there are also large differences based on religion and language. The predominate religion south of us in the Americas is Roman Catholicism, and the primary language is Spanish, and secondly, closely related Portuguese. And of course, up in Quebec, we have French speaking Catholics.

And yet. And yet. One of the trends in this country that has made me quite happy is the final integration of the Catholics into our society. For hundreds of years, there was some religious strife and persecution. It was accentuated in the late nineteenth century with the waves of Irish and Italian Catholic immigration. In the early 1940s, when my parents were dating (they didn't marry until after the war), both my father and my mother's sister had Catholic fiancées, and, as good Protestants, their parents forbid the unions. As a result, they all ended up marrying within their faith, and ethnic group (all descended primarily from Great Britain, but some German too).

But then, WWII was the big mixing bowl. For the first time, regiments were not raised locally, probably due to experiences in previous wars where, when a given regiment was heavily damaged in battle, the region from which it was raised was hit disproportionately, while other areas, through luck, were not. In any case, the result was that the Whites (including Hispanics) in this country were all thrown together in the same units. Catholic, Jew, and Protestant, from New York City, Montana, and San Francisco, might be sharing the same tent. And, I think, they all realized that their differences were not as great as their parents had taught them.

In any case, by the time I was going to high school in the 1960s, there were some schools that were still fairly segregated by religion and ethnic background, esp. in the inner cities. But where I grew up, in the suburbs (of Denver), there was almost total integration, at least of the Catholics and Protestants. Indeed, for the most part, I did not know the religion of my classmates. And my Catholic friends were little different than I. Things got worse in college. My fraternity was probably 1/3 Protestant, 1/3 Catholic, and 1/3 Jewish. These were the guys I got drunk with, played sports with, and slept with the same women with.

I married a woman of a faith very near my own (mainline Protestant). But then, she was never that devout or religious. After my divorce ten years ago, of the four women I principally dated, three are Roman Catholic, and one Mormon. And yet, spiritually, I have much, much, more in common with them spiritually, as they are all fairly religious, than I did with my Protestant ex-wife. We find much more in common with our faiths than we find separating us. I go to their churches, and they go to mine. Sure, I am not totally comfortable with their services, but then, I have problems with our new junior minister who prays to Jesus, instead of, as I believe you should, directly to God.

My point here is that I think that my experiences are indicative of what is happening in this country. In this last election, Mr. Bush outpolled Mr. Kerry, a practicing Roman Catholic, with the Catholic vote. And he pulled a significantly larger percentage of the Hispanic vote than he did four years earlier.

What I see happening is that devout Catholics are little different from devout Protestants. And the "Red" message plays much better with the devout Catholics, as it does with devout Protestants, than does the "Blue" message of Mr. Kerry. On questions of abortion, homosexuality, family, there is little separating these groups.

Back to the geopolitical. In the end, Christians are going to band together to fight Islam. And that is going to happen primarily in the Americas, because, except in central and eastern Europe, long under Soviet domination, the vast bulk of the religious Christians are in the Americas. We have significantly more bringing us together with the rest of the Americas than they, or we, do with the rest of the world.

But, it isn't going to be a United States of All the Americas. Too much bad blood over the last two centuries. Rather, I see three main centers of influence. English speaking in the north. Spanish speaking, with probably Mexico as the primary player. And Portuguese speaking Brazil, with the two southern centers of influence making some common ground to counterbalance our economic weight. We can add in to our center of influence such outliers as Australia and New Zealand, and, maybe even, the U.K, itself, if it can disentangle itself from the rest of Old Europe.

We shall see.

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