The European Union’s newly composed constitution won’t mention God, despite several member countries’ efforts for the contrary.
Valery Giscard d’Estaing, president of the convention on the future of Europe, unveiled the EU constitution’s first 15 draft articles Feb. 6. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
The articles include statements of respect for member countries’ national identity, for human rights, and commitments to social justice and the environment, according to BBC News. However, BBC reported, “none of the chapters mentions any deity, or any explicitly religious or Christian values supposed to underpin the European project.”
Religious nations like Poland, Germany, Italy and Slovakia had lobbied for some inclusion of God and religion, while France, a strictly secular country, opposed such language.
The Guardian reported that although God’s place in the EU constitution matters greatly to countries with strong religious traditions, doubting governments are considering the continent’s 10 million Muslims and other religious minorities. “They want to keep the Lord out of the European project,” according to Guardian, “favouring a form of words that refers to universal values.”
Those lobbying for some inclusion of God in the constitution wanted to define European values as including “those who believe in God as the source of truth, justice, good and beauty as well as those who do not share such a belief but respect these universal values arising from other sources,” the Independent reported.
The question of whether to mention God in article two of the draft constitution, a section that deals with EU values, has been seen as a test, according to the Independent, of whether the EU, which has accepted Turkey as a candidate for membership, sees itself as a Christian club.
The Pope has lobbied heavily for some religious reference to be included.
Several agencies stated that the battle to include God in the constitution will resurface when the preamble is written.
The article in question reads: “The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, liberty, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, values which are common to the Member States. Its aim is a society at peace, through the practice of tolerance, justice and solidarity.”
Jodi Mathews is BCE’s communications director.