The reality of Europe today is that both established churches and the secular establishment are on the defensive against the rise of more fundamentalist belief.I wonder if Mr. Peel means to imply that Europe has that healthy tension, but other parts of the world, including the United States, do not. If so, it's something to ponder. I would characterize the U.S. in the category of healthy tension. Despite the treatment of prayer in public school. And in spite of the fears of blue-staters that some politicians are beholden to Evangelicals.
Europe's traditions of tolerance are struggling to cope. It is wrong to see the conflict in terms of religion versus secularism.
It is the tension between them, and the accommodation they have reached, that ensures the stability of European society. Religion without secular limits could become theocratic.
Secularism without religion turns to atheistic fanaticism. If either side wins the contest, we will all be worse off.
Financial Times, by Quentin Peel