Europe has been through a remarkable process of change over the last 50 years. Christianity, the majority faith of the continent, has been in dramatic decline. Today’s young Europeans rarely identify with Christianity; they engage, more and earlier, in casual sexual relationships, marry later than their grandparents, and increasingly turn to their own gender for partners.
Not surprisingly, Europe is facing a fertility crisis, with a rapidly aging population. The replacement level, the rate needed for Europe to replace its numbers across the generations, is calculated at 2.1 children per woman. However, today the European Union nations have an average fertility rate of 1.5, with Portugal (1.2), Spain (1.27), and Poland (1.29) on the low side.1
Facing this demographic crisis, some political elites, such as EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, find hope in the hundreds of thousands of migrants, mostly Muslim, landing on Europe’s shores from the Middle East/North Africa. In this vein, Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel has welcomed the migrants almost without conditions. “If we do it well, this will bring more opportunities than risks,” she said in one statement, foreseeing a solution to the prediction that by 2050 there would be one retiree for every two workers in Germany.2 This has undoubtedly increased the flow.
Despite increasing public statements of concern from community groups about the level of Muslim immigration to Germany and other European countries,3 the thinking of the political leadership and, indeed, of many ordinary Europeans remains unmoved. The progressive discarding of Europe’s Christian identity over the last half century has left an acute level of religious illiteracy. Consequently, many Europeans don’t understand the potentially disastrous ramifications for liberal democratic traditions if the countries of Europe assume an increasingly Islamic hue. This absence of Christian identity also explains the refusal by European leaders to give priority to the most needy among the masses of refugees, namely religious minorities, especially Christians.
Compounding the problem is Europe’s silent holocaust: the hundreds of thousands of abortions that take place across the continent annually. While the countries of Europe haggle over the numbers of refugees that each should take—seeing them in part as a solution to an ageing population—each of those same countries accepts the termination of many pregnancies. In 2012/2013, there were 17,414 abortions in Portugal; 106,764 in Spain; 37,366 in Sweden; and 3,769 in Ireland. And Germany, the country which has been so welcoming to the largely Muslim migrants today, has been much less welcoming to its own unborn, with 106,815 abortions in 2012. In neighboring France the figure for the same year was 220,736, while England and Wales came close with 190,800 terminations.4 Overall, in 2012/13 almost 700,000 unborn babies were denied the chance of life in the above-mentioned countries by people who had themselves been given the chance of life. And that figure does not even take account of Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and many other European countries.
Unfortunately, the solutions are clearly at odds with those offered by current European political elites. First, the nations of Europe facing the waves of migrants arriving at present should give priority to Christians, a call which has been enunciated loudly by the President of Hungary, Viktor Orban. This would serve two worthy goals. It would ensure that those who have suffered most from persecution in the Middle East in recent decades receive the welcome and support that they deserve from a once-great Christian continent. Moreover, newly arriving Christian populations from the Middle East would help to shore up the remnants of Christian identity that are still visible in Europe. Second, Europe should stop aborting its children, and thus provide an influx of youth far more likely to successfully integrate into European communities than their Muslim replacements. But the decline of Christianity has put Europe in a demographic and cultural death spiral, ever gaining in speed unless the continent returns to its spiritual senses.
Lydia Tomkiw, “Refugee Crisis 2015: Could Syrians Help Europe’s Aging Population Problem?” September 10, 2015, International Business Times, http://www.ibtimes.com/refugee-crisis-2015-could-syrians-help-europes-aging-population-problem-2091181 (accessed December 22, 2015).
William Robert Johnston, “Abortion Statistics and Other Data,” Johnston Archive Website, http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/ (accessed December 22, 2015).