Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Islam and Christian politics

André Rouvoet delivered this lecture on 'Islam and Christian Politics' in 2005 at the ECPM Congress 'Ethnic and Religious Diversity in Europe' in Leuven, Belgium.

Rouvoet's lecture is included in the booklet published after the Congress edited by Silviu Rogobete and Andrew Otchie, on pages 66-70. You can download the publication here.

Two themes are the focus of this article:
1. The current state of Islam in the Netherlands,
2. A Christian political view on Islam.

1. An important Islam-related issue is integration. Difficulties with integration in Dutch society incidentally lead to extremism. Consider for example the murder on Theo van Gogh. This murder caused much unrest in society and distrust and hostility towards Islamic fellow citizens.

2. For Christians it hurts to see that the number of mosques in the Netherlands is increasing, while the number of churches declines. We should look to our selves first though, before blaming someone else. The biggest problem today is not “islamisation” but secularisation. Church and state are principally distinct. The state should be concerned with public justice, the church with righteousness through faith. Church and state are two coordinate, distinct offices. They are in a coordinate relation to one another and receive their respective authorities directly from God. The church has a key role in society, because the Word of God is entrusted to her. This Word has relevance for all of society, including the sphere of the state. The Christian politician accepts God’s rule over all of life, including his political activities. A separation of faith and politics is therefore impossible. Theocratic views holding that faith can be forced and fought by the sword overestimate the calling of the state and deny the central position of Christian tolerance. The state can not discriminate among religions; they deserve equal treatment. A Christian state coincides per definition with religious freedom. The limits of religious freedom are reached when expressions religions go against the legal system or when the public order is disturbed.
So Christian politics principally tolerates the presence of Islam in the Netherlands. At the same time muslims are – like all Dutchmen – to act within the framework of the constitutional state. Extremist excesses have to be countered.

2 comments:

  1. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

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  2. Thank you very much for your comment. It is exactly for readers like you that I make these translations available. :-)

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