History provides ample evidence of ways in which the local church provides continuity, encouragement and support of family life and societal freedoms. It also reveals what happens when churches close: societal structures erode, crime escalates, and freedoms evaporate.
Throughout Europe, tens of thousands of churches have been torn down, sold and repurposed due to an 80-90 percent drop in attendance. Non-attendance is indicative of negative population growth and sub-replacement fertility rates. And negative population growth is indicative of empty pulpits.
Heterosexual marriage and procreation cannot be forced. But both are the natural heartfelt response to hearing the Gospel. And if there is no one preaching, teaching, or encouraging the development of family and community life, both will cease to exist.
A Christian’s identity and purpose is directly linked to encouraging human flourishing.
This is why Christians throughout the world have founded schools, hospitals, orphanages, humanitarian and relief organizations, and offered numerous approaches to helping the elderly, poor, homeless, addicted, and destitute.
Swedish bishop Bjorn Vikstrom remarked that despite Sweden’s recent loss of nearly one million Protestant churchgoers, most Swedes “miss the sense of fellowship and continuity that traditions help create.” They want the church to baptize their children and bury their dead. Minister Sven Bjorkborg adds, “people support the church because it guards important national values and traditions and does good work,” like helping the poor, elderly, and homeless.
Sadly, however, within one generation of churches closing throughout Europe, empty pulpits have significantly contributed to the loss of fellowship and traditional continuity communities previously enjoyed. The rise of secularism, multiculturalism, and failed immigration policies created the perfect storm for crime in epic proportions to plague Europe.
Consider a brief survey of Scandinavian countries and their cousins.
In Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, Imams call for decapitation and/or jail for those who reject Islam, because as immigrants they reject European laws and values.
In Sweden, Muslim immigrants account for 5 percent of its population but commit 77 percent of its crime. Sweden’s “rape crisis” is a direct result of an influx of Muslim “asylum seekers.”
Amnesty International reports that Sweden has the highest number of rapes in Europe and the lowest conviction rate. According to Swedish Public Radio, in Stockholm alone, over 1,000 Swedish women reported that a Muslim immigrant raped them; 300 were under age 15. (One third of those living in Stockholm are immigrants; 24 percent are Muslim). These numbers represent only 25 percent of all rapes in Stockholm because officials claim the majority are unreported. Despite this, the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention and the European Commissioner for Home Affairs “refuse to admit the assailants are Muslim.”
Norway is no stranger to secularism and closed Lutheran churches, although in some regions Catholicism is growing. Crime has also spiked to unprecedented levels so much so that Norway’s jails can’t sustain their increasing overcapacity. Norway’s response: deport criminal Muslims back to where they came from: Nigeria, Afghanistan, Romania, and Morocco.
Over the last decade, more than two churches per week have closed in the Netherlands; less than 4,000 churches of 19,000 built since the 13th century remain. In Amsterdam, Het Parool reported young male Moroccan second-generation immigrants and Dutch citizens are publicly murdering non-immigrant citizens with AK-47s to advance their “unstoppable march to become the largest group of violent criminals” in the country. These are not isolated incidents and continue despite decades of government efforts to “divert young Muslims away from crime.”
One need only read Sharia4Holland’s website to understand attacks on film directors, politicians, and pedestrians are not isolated incidents. In fact, Dutch MP Macheil de Graaf is imploring his colleagues in the government to deport Muslims — who alone are costing the Dutch $7.2 billion per year in welfare and crime.
de Graaf claims, “The Netherlands must be de-Islamised, all mosques must be closed, jihadists must be expelled and never allowed back, and the borders must be closed to people from Islamic countries. The Dutch government must commit itself to repatriation of Muslims back to Muslim countries so we will not be plagued with honor killings, cousin marriages, anti-Semitism, homophobia, animal abuse, rampant crime, rape.”
In Denmark, ten percent of its remaining 2,000 churches were closed last year. Some remain hopeful though because of an evangelical resurgence best described by prayforDenmark.com.
However, the brutal assault of Nanna Skovman in Copenhagen on Christmas Eve by an Islamist “cultural enforcer” evidences the reality of escalated unprovoked non-isolated attacks in Denmark. Skovman’s Facebook post and subsequent news coverage went viral alerting Danes to be alert. A few days later a 39 year-old Syrian Muslim asylum seeker climbed into a window of a family’s home in Graestad, a small village, to rape their 8-year-old daughter. Her parents got to her in time with the help of a neighbor.
Denmark’s 10news. dk reports that eight out of the nine ethnic groups who commit the most crimes are Muslim “asylum” seekers who enteredDenmark from Lebanon, Pakistan, Morocco, Turkey, Syria, Somalia, Iran, and Iraq. Seventy percent of inmates in youth prisons are immigrants; the majority are Muslims.
Denmark, like other European countries, and the EU, has implemented entire agencies dedicated to “integration” programs for Muslim immigrants. One result from this effort is insight offered by Danish psychologist Nicolai Sennels who coined the term “Criminal Muslims.” His assertion that Islam creates a “psychology of an unhealthy culture that spawns criminal minds,” led to a national debate about freedom of speech and Denmark’s Integration program. Based on extensive research, interviews, and analysis, Mr. Sennels states, “Muslims are taught to be aggressive, insecure, irresponsible and intolerant.”
In Belgium, Catholic mass attendance hovers over 5 percent (despite a priest’s valiant attempt to rally citizens to protest the government’s legalization of child euthanasia.)
Its De Standaard reported Sharia4Belgium’s members (17-25 year-old second-generation Muslim immigrant citizens) determined to turn Belgium into an Islamic state, are actively fighting with ISIS. Belgian security services express “particular concern about what will happen when the military-trained ‘drop-outs,’ after the war from Syria, return to our country.”
What the EU fails to acknowledge and each country is realizing is that Muslim immigrants have no intention of integrating. Eighty percent are on welfare, following Islamic teaching to take money from the non-Muslim “Kuffar.” Both Sharia4Belgium and Sharia4Holland advocate complete extinction of Jews.
Both countries have the largest population of Muslims at 6 percent, (behind France’s 7.5 percent), with over 25 percent living in major metropolitan areas. These percentages are no small matter, represent imminent threat to European civilization.
Three generations prior, in 1936, nearly 6 million Germans were members of the Nazi Party, representing 7 percent of Germany’s population. Those 7 percent caused over 50 million deaths in less than 10 years.
The 6 and 7.5 percent of Islamists in Europe will cause even more death unless they are stopped. Unless others like de Graaf speak truth, name and fight evil, which is Islam, these countries will implode. Swedish ministers Bjorkborg and Vikstrom both identified what their people need.
The question remains, will leaders rise up and heed minister Charles Finney, who warned: “If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall, the pulpit is responsible for it.”
This column was originally published by The Washington Times.