A draft of the new European Union constitution fails to acknowledge the role of God and Christianity on the continent. Some Christians are outraged. The document does mention Europe's "religious heritage."
Religious conservatives are pushing for some constitutional acknowledgement of "the Creator," or at least a statement that indicates that Christianity and Christian values have been key influences in Europe's history and culture.
"It is an offense to reason, to good sense, and to a good part of Europe's citizens," said Cardinal Roberto Tucci, president of Radio Vatican. The Vatican is asking for changes to make the draft more balanced.
The document will provide the framework for enlarging the EU, which will admit 10 new members in 2004.
Alexander Kwasniewski, a self-described atheist and president of staunchly Catholic Poland, called the godless tone of the constitution shameful.
In March the European Evangelical Alliance (EEA) said it would "welcome a mention of Judeo-Christian values in the [constitution] since [these values] shaped European culture."
Jeff Fountain, one of the initiators of Hope for Europe, an evangelical network tied to the EEA, is a native New Zealander who lives in the Netherlands. Fountain told CT the constitution's values should explicitly reflect the Judeo-Christian tradition. "The values that shaped Europe, and many of the values that were built into the European Union, cannot be found outside of Scripture," Fountain said.
But Human Rights Without Frontiers, a Belgium-based human rights organization focusing on religious liberties, is fearful of a possible two-tiered legal system for traditional and minority faiths. Director Willy Fautre told CT this would "reinforce and legitimize the institutionalized ...1