The other day, I reported about the Church of Sweden's strenuous efforts to appease Islam. Now comes the news that from December 15 to March 15, churches in the diocese of Gothenburg will be used at night as shelters for the homeless. Lovely idea. But there is a catch. The only homeless people who will be allowed in are foreigners -- either immigrants from elsewhere in the EU, who are by definition legal, or illegal immigrants from outside the EU. In other words, native Swedes need not apply, even though the initiative is being paid for by taxpayer money.
A man begs on the street in Lund, Sweden, July 23, 2013. (Image source: Sigfrid Lundberg/Flickr)
The argument for this policy -- which represents an expansion and formalization of a practice that began two winters ago -- is that it is designed to help people who are not covered by the Swedish welfare system. But this argument does not hold up. One reason there are so many immigrants in Sweden, both legal and illegal, is that the country's welfare system is a bonanza for foreigners. Far from not being covered by the system, immigrants often enjoy preferential treatment. Last fall, for example, it was reported that several Swedish municipalities were passing over hardworking citizens who had waited several years to rent government-owned housing, and were giving the homes instead -- for free -- to unemployed, newly-arrived immigrants. Some Swedes actually stirred from their torpor and angrily criticized this policy, but the protest was to no avail: the Swedish Parliament had passed a law compelling local governments to put foreigners at the top of their waiting lists.
That the Swedish Parliament could pass such a law is, of course, a scathing indictment of its welfare system's priorities. So is the fact that there are, as it happens, a great many ethnic Swedes living and begging on the streets of its cities, and -- in the winter -- huddling in the doorways of stores and offices, wrapped in layers of blankets at night, in hope of keeping alive in the subfreezing cold. The same disgraceful situation can be observed in the major cities of Norway and Denmark.
These Swedes should not be on the streets. The Scandinavian welfare states were founded on a compact between the citizens and their government: the people would pay outrageously high taxes, and in return their government would guarantee them a magnificent safety net should they get sick or get fired. But ever since these countries chose to open their doors to mass Muslim immigration, that compact has been broken.
Yes, the citizens are still being forced to pay for the welfare system -- but that system no longer has their backs. The people in authority, from the highest-ranking national leaders down to the lowest local bureaucrats, would seem to have forgotten for whom they work. In a way, it makes sense: After all, a state-employed paper-pusher who gives citizens something for which they have already paid can hardly feel particularly virtuous, whereas handing out free stuff to aliens who have done absolutely nothing to deserve it can make that same government paper-pusher feel like a world-class Good Samaritan.
What is even more shattering than this state of affairs is that millions of those Scandinavian citizens accept it. Marinated from birth in multiculturalism, millions of them dare not demand what they have coming to them -- what they have paid for, what they deserve -- lest they be viewed by others, and even by themselves, as bigots.
Fortunately, not all Scandinavians fit this description. When the alternative news website Samnytt reported that the churches in Gothenburg would be turning away homeless people who belong to that church in order to accommodate members of a religion that views Christianity as an abomination, dozens of readers reacted with outrage. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions," wrote one. "The hatred toward ethnic Swedes knows no bounds," wrote another. A third suggested that the churches of Gothenburg will soon, in any case, be converted into mosques -- minarets and all.
At present, alas, that seems like the safe bet.
Bruce Bawer is the author of the new novel The Alhambra (Swamp Fox Editions). His book While Europe Slept (2006) was a New York Times bestseller and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist.