Shameful inauguration of nativity scene at the European Parliament by the Civitas Institut

12 December 2014

On 9 December, Alain Escada of the Civitas Institut and Bishop Bernard Fellay, the Superior General of the ultra-conservative St Pius X Society, inaugurated a nativity scene at the European Parliament in Brussels in an event organised by the racist Italian MEP Mario Borghezio.

Aside from their quotes denying non-Christians their legitimacy in Europe such as “Europe is Christian, full stop” or “Jesus is meant to rule over the nations”, greater questions should be asked as to why the Parliament allowed an unholy-alliance of far-right, homophobic and racist individuals to stage the inauguration in the first place.

EU institutions are secular and should respect all believers and non-believers in the European Union. Welcoming far-right homophobic fundamentalist Christians was not only offensive to non-believers but also to moderate Christians and religious minorities. The following video (in French) shows the inauguration:

The Civitas Institut has been a key driving force behind the protests over the introduction of equal-marriage in France, and the organisation’s President, Alain Escada, who was present at the European Parliament nativity inauguration is famous for his far-right background with the Front National Belge and has repeatedly made homophobic statements in the past. Escada has called homosexuality an “evil inclination that needs to be corrected[1], whilst Civitas marches relating to the French equal marriage law were also heavily criticised after Civitas demonstrators physically attacked journalists and Femen activists[2], leading to calls from some politicians for the organisation to be banned outright[3].

That the nativity scene inauguration was co-presented by the St Pius X Society should also be cause for concern. The organisation has a long history of ultra-conservative anti-LGBTI views, which have proved too controversial even for the Catholic Church, which excommunicated the society in 1988. The American Anti-Defamation league has also labelled the society as being avowedly anti-Semitic, with numerous publications from the society peddling racist views such that of Jews controlling the global financial system and other such preposterous ideas[4].

The inauguration of the nativity scene by the ultra-conservative ‘catholic’ far-right should be a cause for concern for all secularists and moderate religious people across Europe.