Cross-posted on the Corner:
The New York Times ran this oddly revealing story a day or so back:
[L]ate last year, the National Bank of Slovakia announced that the European Commission, the union’s executive arm, had ordered it to remove halos and crosses from special commemorative euro coins due to be minted this summer. The coins, designed by a local artist, were intended to celebrate the 1,150th anniversary of Christianity’s arrival in Slovak lands but have instead become tokens of the faith’s retreat from contemporary Europe. They featured two evangelizing Byzantine monks, Cyril and Methodius, their heads crowned by halos and one’s robe decorated with crosses, which fell foul of European diversity rules that ban any tilt toward a single faith….
The commission’s monetary and economic affairs department that ordered Slovakia to redesign its commemorative euro coins says it had no real problem itself with halos and crosses and demanded that they be deleted in the interest of “religious diversity” because of complaints from countries that also use the euro. Leading the charge was France, which enforces a rigid division of church and state at home, and objected to Christian symbols appearing on Slovak money that would also be legal tender in France. Greece, where church and state are closely intertwined, also protested, apparently because it considers the Greek-born monks Cyril and Methodius as part of its own heritage.
One size fits all, working well as usual, I see.
The fact that the arrival of these two monks (if not, I suspect, their halos) in Greater Moravia undoubtedly made them a part of Slovak history didn’t seem to count for too much. George Orwell might have had something to say about this. In fact he did:
“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”
The EU knows a thing or two about that. Happily, the Slovaks are sticking with the original designs—good for them. If the Greeks and the French don’t like it , they can always withdraw from the currency union. In fact….
Meanwhile Europhiles will also have to contend with this admission of failure (read the whole piece for the context):
Katharina von Schnurbein, the commission official responsible for outreach to both religious and secular groups, smiled and said, “I can assure you that the European Commission is not the Antichrist.”