Papers, Please

Many decades ago a tiny island nation faces oblivion at the hands of one of its larger neighbors. Its neighbor was not a kindly sort. Very early in its existence it blamed all of the nation’s ills on members of a particular religion. At first things weren’t too bad. The nation forced members of that religion to register with the government and submit to additional security checks. Eventually stores owned by members of that religion were boycotted and then destroyed. Finally members of that religion were hauled off to be executed en masse.

Even though vaguely familiar with history realize I’m talking about World War II, specifically as it related to Britain and Nazi German. I bring this up because I would think a country that was facing complete annihilation would be a bit more proactive in not because its would-be destroyer. But Britain, a nation that truly loves tyranny, has taken a rather frightening step in a very dark direction:

Imams, priests, rabbis and other religious figures will have to enrol in a “national register of faith leaders” and be subject to government-specified training and security checks in the Home Office’s latest action on extremism.

The highly controversial proposal appears in a leaked draft of the Government’s new counter-extremism strategy, seen by The Telegraph, which goes substantially further than previous versions of the document.

The strategy, due to be published this autumn, says that Whitehall will “require all faiths to maintain a national register of faith leaders” and the Government will “set out the minimum level of training and checks” faith leaders must have to join the new register.

Registration will be compulsory for all faith leaders who wish to work with the public sector, including universities, the document says. In practice, most faith leaders have some dealings with the public sector and the requirement will cover the great majority.

One might point out that this is different because it doesn’t target any specific religion but we all know that broad laws have a way of being enforced very selectively. And there is certainly nothing stopping a supposedly secular state from persecuting all religions.

The real takeaway though, in my opinion, is the fact that Britain is planning to force all faith leaders to register with the government and submit to compulsory training. Historically subsets of societies registered on special government lists haven’t fared very well. Even if this is never passed into law the fact that the proposal is viewed as acceptable by even a single member of the British state shows just how far that nation has slid into imitating that which tried to destroy it not even a century ago. I think our friends across the pond are in for some dark times.