Dogmatism or populism, where does ECPM stand?

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Dogmatism or populism, where does ECPM stand?

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 2:12)

The past year showed that politics became more complicated and more stigmatized. With the rise of dogmatism on the left-liberal side and of populism on the further right side of the political spectrum, the question raises where ECPM stands ECPM director of European affairs Leo van Doesburg looked deeper in to this question and came with an analysis.

Dogmatism on the left
The left-liberal side has become more and more dogmatic. Their dogmatism is based on the “individual autonomy” of a human being. Politics should focus on eliminating every aspect that could limit the individual choice of a person, whether this is good or not, or whether this even could harm the dignity of another. New rights are created like the right for a woman to do an abortion or the right to die in cases of euthanasia, which can go against the fundamental right to life. The latest development is the promoting of the gender ideology which is focused on an idea that a gender of a human being is not biologically established by birth, but that it is an identity a person has or will have. Someone should have the right to establish even their own gender, even if this goes against nature and is highly questionable if accepting a change in gender really will help a person. It is interesting that there are lately so many television programs Europe-wide that try to promote this unscientific idea of the basics of human being: that we are created as man or woman. The problem is that their ideologies must be adopted in policies and put on societies and others. Other opinions on these issues are seen as intolerant or discriminatory.

In name of tolerance, equality and non-discrimination, they have become intolerant and discriminatory to Christian and other organizations that defend the traditional family, want to protect the life of the unborn or other existing human rights. Reports where written where these organizations are framed as anti-rights, anti-choice and as neo-conservatives. Combined with crazy conspiracy theories, they try to frame the organizations in order to shut them up and neglect their opinions in the debates. Their dogmas have to be accepted by everyone and enshrined in policies. This will have consequences for the freedom of conscience for Christians and other religious people or people with conscience objections in certain professions (like doctors and midwives) who do not want to do an abortion or do not want to do euthanasia, but also for registrars who are for example not able to marry same-sex couples.

Populism on the right
Another development is the rise of populism on the right. We believe that the grow of individualism, the breaking down of communities and increasing secularism, the growing influence of Islam and the refugee crisis, cause an identity vacuum for many. Populist parties on the right side, are jumping in this vacuum and focus on nationalistic and even Christian identity of a country and its people. Christianity is then not based on faith, but merely as a cultural identity, especially against the Islam that is seen more as a political ideology. In some countries, these right populistic movements are also supporting the traditional family or the protection of life. This makes is complicated to establish our positions. Should we as Christians collaborate with these right movements if we deal with issues on family and life, but who do not respect the human dignity of refugees and the freedom of religion or belief of all religions in society?  

These two developments make the political environment more and more complicated. We are framed and excluded more and more by the left and some of our Christian values are misused by the right for their agenda of protecting national and people’s identity. Collaborating with the left-liberals can result in compromising on our values, collaborating with the right will frame us as (far) right-wing politicians.

How should we act?
The apostle Paul gave us the answer in Romans 12. He tells us there to not conform to the pattern to the world. The basis is in our faith in Jesus Christ. Our faith renews our minds and focuses on God and the other person. Our faith should determine our actions in politics. We must not be distracted or being focused on the dogmatic politics of the left or the populist politics on the right. For Pope Leo XIII and Abraham Kuyper, two basic thinkers that influenced Christian Democracy, say that we should not focus on the left or right, but focus more on the middle way. This middle way is based on our “Imago Dei”, on the fact that we are all created in the image and likeness of God. Our basis for politics is not the freedom FROM everything that can limit the individual autonomy of a human being, but the freedom TO love God and to love the other: to protect the weak and fragile in our society and to strive for justice.   

Or as is written: “He (=God) has shown you what is good, o mortal. And what does the Lordrequire of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

We wish you a blessed and joyful 2019!

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