Religion and Individuals
MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION PRESENTED BY Mr Leo PLATVOET, Netherlands, UEL
One of the Europe’s shared values, which
transcends national differences, is the State’s neutral stance towards all
religious groups, generally referred to as separation of Church and State. This
is a generally accepted principle, which dominates political and institutional
life in democratic countries.
However, there are certain exceptions, such as the state-financing of
schools, which are based on religion.
On the other hand, for some time now, the public sphere has been invaded
– again - by religious beliefs. A militant form of communalism, fuelled by the
international political context and by immigration is seeking to impose
practices that are incompatible with individual rights. Examples include the
Islamic family code, excision, forced marriages and honour crimes. At the same
time, intervention by Churches, and the Vatican in particular, in fields for
which the public authorities are normally responsible has increased over the
past few years.
European countries react in different ways to this new challenge: some
establish multi-faith models, which can lead to a sort of segregation, while
others apply the principle of secularism somewhat rigidly, leading to friction
within and between the different groups.