Relaymedia

Christianity and the European Union

May 29, 2004 05:21 PM EDT

The dominant voice in drafting the forthcoming Constitution to the European Union has long since urged against the inclusion of a reference to Christianity and God in the charter’s preamble.

Many countries, including England and Germany where Protestantism first formed, have called for a constitution that would merely mark the “cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe.” More secularized countries such as Belgium and France have bluntly argued that mentioning Christianity in the preamble would discriminate against other groups.

Going further, the Prime Minister of France, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, expressed his belief that the “future is a European society which should include secularism as a founding value,” during a radio broadcast last week.

Thankfully, a majority of the new players in the field, Poland, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, challenged the current draft of the EU Constitution, and at no better time; the finalized draft is due in less than a month.

These five majority Catholic countries, with the help of two older members, Italy and Portugal, last week issued a letter urging “a reference to the Christian root s of Europe” in the preamble, warning the other players that the “issue remains a priority for our governments as well as for millions of Europeans citizens.”

Poland specifically urged for a reference to “both those who believe in God as the source of truth, justice, good and beauty, as well as those not sharing such faith but respecting those universal values from other sources".

While it is disheartening that a continent so abundantly blessed by God would consider a denial of its own heritage, it is encouraging that the younger players would boldly stand for what is true: the foundation of Europe cannot be based on the ever-changing concept of “secularism” and “humanism.”

Amid this pivotally historic moment in Europe, it may be possible for the drafters of the continental constitution to overcome identity crisis and reconcile tradition with newfound unity in unprecedented diversification toward a brighter future of the European Union. But denial of Christian heritage would not only thwart continental harmony, it would discriminate against the millions who adhere to sound Christian beliefs.