Bernstein: Anti-Christian Attacks in France Quietly Quadrupled. Why?

Crucifix at French church that was vandalized
SEBASTIEN BOZON/AFP/Getty Images

Richard Bernstein writes at RealClearInvestigations of the growing phenomenon of violent anti-Christian attacks taking place in France:

…There is nothing at all unusual about an attack on a Christian religious site these days in France, or, for that matter, elsewhere in Europe. The French police recorded 129 thefts and 877 acts of vandalism at Catholic sites – mostly churches and cemeteries – in 2018, and there has been no respite this year. The Conference of French Bishops reported 228 “violent anti-Christian acts” in France in the first three months of 2019 alone, taking place in every region of the country – 45 here in the southwest.

. . .

Most major media outlets in France have also downplayed the uptick in attacks. Among the major French newspapers, only the conservative Le Figaro has published a substantial front-page investigation. Others have published a few scattered articles on individual incidents. The absence of palpable public alarm led one magazine, Causeur, which specializes in a certain irreverent skepticism regarding the conventional wisdom, to run a series of articles on the attacks under the overall headline “Explosion of Anti-Christian Acts: The Victims that Nobody’s Talking About.”

. . .

Not surprisingly, both views have merit. What’s clear is that the attacks – and the debate over their meaning – illuminate a range of fundamental questions roiling France and Europe involving populism, national identity and immigration. The attacks also highlight the paradoxical role of the Church, which remains a symbol of power – a bulwark of tradition and authority – even as declining attendance and a series of sexual scandals involving priests have made it seem a weak and easy target.

Read the rest of the article here.

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