No Mention of Christianity in EU Constitution

The European Union tentatively adopted its long awaited constitution on Friday, but failed to fully discuss the inclusion of the reference to God in the constitution’s preamble, June 18, 2004.

At the EU summit in Brussels, nearly a third of the 25 constituent nations called for the reference to the Judeo-Christian roots of Europe in the preamble. Led by Poland, these mostly Eastern European countries said the invocation of the “cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe” does not sufficiently illustrate the religious tradition of Europe.

The Polish prime minister vowed to "fight like lions" on the issue.

Germany’s Christian Social Union also demanded that the leaders place a reference to the Christian roots of Europe, several days before the Brussels summit.

"Europe's roots are its 2,000-year Christian history. That's why a reference to God belongs in the EU constitution. If the heads of states can't understand that, then we need to let the people decide,” the CSU spokesman Norbert Geis said.

However, Ireland – the current EU commission president, declared this part of the constitution closed, leaving no room on the table to discuss this critical matter.

The largest opponents on the issue are the highly secularized France and Belgium; these nations contend that the reference to God would violate the principle of separation of church and state.

According to an EU diplomat, the Irish Prime Minister said negoatiations on the constitution is now closed.

"Everybody has bilaterally said they are satisfied," the prime minister was quoted as saying.

However, the countries in support of the reference to God - Spain, Slovakia, Austria, Lithuania, Malta and Italy - said they would need to review the text again before making any final decisions.

Said Slovakian Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda: "We have to see the final text first."

Meanwhile, the Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said the Vatican “regretted the opposition of certain governments to a specific acknowledgement of Europe's Christian roots." Additionally, the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano commented that the constitution “looks towards the future, but has chosen to ignore it historic past.”

Pauline J. Chang
Ecumenical Press