INTOLERANCE AND CONTRADICTION: About a Syrian asylum seeking family's influence on the party program of Sverigedemokraterna (Sweden Democrats).

05/04/2014 17:29

In these days when Europeans are preparing themselves to elect their parliamentarians and populists all over the continent organize themselves within parties proclaiming that they are “safeguarding European cultural values”, not the least the teachings and morals of the Christian Church, I assume it is appropriate to ask: “From whom did we  receive these values?” Are Dansk Folkeparti, Sampo Terho, Vlaams Belang, Le Front National, Partij voor de Vrijhed, the British National Party, Lega Nord, Jobbik, Freiheitliches Partei Österreichs and not the least Sverigedemokraterna giving this a serious thought?

Somewhat more than a month ago Joseph of Nazareth was commemorated by the Catholic Church. According to the Bible, this carpenter married "Virgin" Mary, a young lady pregnant with a child whose father probably was considered as unknown by people in her neighborhood. Mary could accordingly have been suspected of being an “adulteress” and thus ran the risk of being stoned to death. Even so, Joseph took her in as a wife and accepted her son as his own. There is thus reason to celebrate Joseph of Nazareth as a brave man who dared to defy an intolerant society.

Joseph seems to have been a good father to his stepson. It is seldom that Joseph of Nazareth is mentioned in the Bible, but aside from his decision to marry a young, pregnant woman and take in her son, he once more took a risky decision while caring for them both. Namely, when a crazed dictator decided to do away with potential rivals by killing them. To secure his power King Herod ordered all newborn male children within "his" kingdom to be killed (though he was in fact only a minion to Roman imperialists). Since the life of newborn Jesus thereby was threatened, Joseph decided to flee to Egypt, with the child and his mother. They left an area that shortly afterwards would be incorporated with the Roman province of Syria.

The newly elected Pope Francis, who last year by Time Magazine was named “Person of the Year”, gave on March 19th a touching speech about fathers' responsibility for their sons, taking Joseph's care and love for his foster son as a shining example. The pope pleaded "I beg you fathers to act like Joseph and be near to your sons. Let them grow and be strong, but above all be close to them, close! They need you! They need your presence, your care and love. Try to be like St. Joseph. Watch over them while they mature in age, wisdom and benevolence." Certainly, the pope could have mentioned that even daughters need their fathers, but nevertheless I find the Pope's speech to be yet another interesting example of his fight against what he has described as “the globalization of indifference." The first trip Jorge Mario Bergoglio did after becoming Pope Francis was to the Italian island of Lampedusa where illegal immigrants are crowded into camps awaiting deportation. Off this island he threw a wreath into the sea as an act of compassion for all those who had drowned in their quest for freedom from persecution and poverty.

Without being overly religious I, like many of my Latin American and Italian friends, respect a pope who through his speech and actions apparently strives to encourage a sense of responsibility and tolerance within an increasingly claustrophobic and cynical European community. Maybe Christianity after all can become a moral force to be reckoned with?

Sverigedemokraterna are according to themselves a “non-confessional party”, but do nevertheless in their party program emphasize that: "Christianity is intimately interwoven with Swedish culture and identity. Few other ideas and institutions have been more important for the formation of the Swedish culture as Christianity and the Swedish Church. The Swedish language, art, literature, philosophy, morals, traditions, architecture, music, etc. are all examples of areas of society that were and still are strongly influenced by our Christian heritage."

May such a position be connected with the story of St. Joseph of Nazareth? Why not? Let us assume that Joseph's asylum seeking family had not been received in Egypt, but instead been deported back to Palestine, something that almost certainly would have meant that the newborn Jesus would have ended up being killed by Herod's armed forces. If that had happened we would not have any Swedish Church at all.

You can of course argue that in Joseph's time there was no Egypt Democrats who stated that their Government would save 119 billion denarii by reducing the number of asylum seeking immigrants (and their relatives) by 90 percent,  thus risking to expel a child who, if he was killed, would not have become the man who gave rise to a doctrine that according to Sverigedemokraterna was crucial for the development of  "the Swedish language, art, literature, philosophy, morals, traditions, architecture, music, etc."?

In spite of Sveridemokraternas emphasis on “Swedishness”, i.e. the amazing excellence of Swedish customs and morals, and their repeated warnings about foreign forces threatening the Swedes and their magnificent cultural heritage, I cannot help wondering if the Christian heritage they espouse is, in spite of everything, nothing less than an assimilation of extraneous influences and that there may be some truth in the Swedish 19th century author Esaias Tegnér´s opinion that "only barbarism was once patriotic".

 

BLOG LIST

A pleasure of mine is to listen to CDs while I am alone in the car. Alone? Well, it means that I am able to listen with a concentration that cannot be achieved when the rest of the family is around, particularly since they are not so particularily fond of some of the sounds I occasionally like to...
Ett av mina glädjeämnen är att i bilen ensam lyssna till mina CDskivor. Ensam? Jo, då kan jag nämligen spela sådant som kräver koncentration och som i allmänhet inte uppskattas så livligt av den övriga familjen, men som emellanåt fascinerar mig  ̶  exempelvis Schönberg, Webern, Penderecki...
My wife and my daughters tell me that I do not get enough sleep. They know and have read that we humans should sleep for at least eight hours, if we do not do it we are threatened by Alzheimer's disease and senility. I assume they are right, usually I do not sleep for more than six hours. However,...
Hans Adolph Brorson, präst i den sönderjyllandska staden Tønder, skrev 1734 psalmen Jeg går i fare, hvor jeg går, vars tredje vers beskriver dödens visshet: Jeg går til døden, hvor jeg går og ved mig ikke sikker, ej nogen dag og time, når han har mig alt i strikker; et lidet åndefang kan ende...
My wife and my daughters tell me that I do not get enough sleep. They know and have read that we humans should sleep for at least eight hours, if we do not do it we are threatened by Alzheimer's disease and senility. I assume they are right, usually I do not sleep for more than six hours. However,...
Min hustru och mina döttrar säger mig att jag sover för lite. De vet och har läst att vi människor under varje dygn bör sova åtta timmar, gör vi inte det hotar Alzheimer och senilitet. Möjligen har de rätt, oftast sover jag inte mer än sex timmar. Drömmer gör jag dock varje natt och jag ser fram...
Especially Americans seem to have a romantic view of Paris as the capital of love, art and good food, at least if you believe the image of the French capital created and supported by Hollywood  ̶  La Ville Lumière, Le Gai Paris. My first experiences of that town were not...
Speciellt amerikaner tycks ha en romantisk uppfattning om Paris som en kärlekens, konstens och den goda matens huvudstad, i varje fall om man får tro den bild av den franska huvudstaden som har skapats av Hollywood  ̶  La Ville Lumière, Le Gai Paris. Mina första erfarenheter av...
Sometime in the late seventies, I and Rose went to an auditorium in the university town of Lund in southern Sweden, to listen to a lecture and watch colour slides presented by Erich Anton Paul von Däniken. The hall was filled and the atmosphere was expectant. The crowd was mixed; enthusiastic UFO...
Någon gång vid slutet av sjuttiotalet befann sig jag och Rose på Spartas auditorium i Lund för att lyssna till ett föredrag och se ljusbilder presenterade av Erich Anton Paul von Däniken. Salen var fylld och stämningen förväntansfull. Publiken var blandad; entusiastiska UFO-nerdar satt med sina...
Items: 1 - 10 of 231
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 >>

Contact

In Spite Of It All, Trots Allt janelundius@gmail.com