Europe: Is the USA “Holier than Thou”?
In a recent discussion with a US expatriate here in Europe, he remarked that the reason for increasing world and European stand-offishness to the USA is America’s “holier than thou” attitude, an attitude based upon an American history marked by Puritanism, Calvinism and religious fervor.
It is a dogmatic attitude which Europeans and many other Western nations not only do not share, but which they find to be an arrogant projection of a “we know better” state of mind.
Much of secular Europe has as much difficulty relating to Christian fundamentalists in the United States as they do in relating to any other religious fundamentalist groupings elsewhere, including the Muslims. Indeed, some Europeans regard religious fundamentalism to reflect a certain kind of mental ignorance.
Too often, it seems, that the typical religious fundamentalists, ever ready to forcibly convert the “non-believers” to their particular pet belief, have their particular “holy book” in one hand and “war and weapons” in the other hand, true to Voltaire’s statement that “God is on the side of the heaviest batallions”.
Many secular persons thus view the joining of the Church and the State to be an “unholy” alliance. Indeed, John Locke, upon whose principles America was founded, stated so expressly.
Given the increasing influence of religion in America – see this most recent Presidential election as an example – and the increasingly disturbing erasure of the line between church and state in the USA, we think that a further alienation of the United States from the countries of Western Europe, the European Union and much of the rest of the world is inevitable. Either that, or weaker nations will emulate the USA in again forming unholy alliances of Church and State. The entire current phenomenon of the rise of Muslim states shows the disaster for humanity which a combination of Church and State brings.
Update: Davids Medienkritik has a posting which shows that Americans, on the other hand, find European attitudes toward America to be “holier than thou” – so we see – in all fairness – that minds can differ.