Brussels Declaration

Should the future Constitution of the European Union make reference to Christian values? The Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel among others thinks so. Or should it be founded on secular liberal principles? I among others think so.

To that end, I have just signed the Brussels Declaration on-line.

We, the people of Europe, hereby affirm our common values. They are based not on a single culture or tradition but are founded in all of the cultures that make up modern Europe.

  • We affirm the worth, dignity and autonomy of every individual, and the right of everyone to the greatest possible freedom compatible with the rights of others. We support democracy and human rights and aim at the fullest possible development of every human being.
  • We recognise our duty of care to all of humanity including future generations, and our dependence on and responsibility for the natural world.
  • We affirm the equality of men and women. All persons regardless of race, origin, religion or belief, language, gender, sexual orientation or ability must have equal treatment before the law.

  • We affirm the right of everyone to adopt and follow a religion or belief of their choosing. But the beliefs of any group may not be used to limit the rights of others.
  • We hold that the state must remain neutral in matters of religion and belief, favouring none and discriminating against none.
  • We hold that personal liberty must be combined with social responsibility. We seek to create a fair society based on reason and compassion, in which every citizen is enabled to play their full part.
  • We uphold both tolerance and freedom of expression
  • We affirm the right of everyone to open and comprehensive education.
  • We reject intimidation, violence and incitement to violence in the furtherance of disputes, and hold that conflicts must be resolved through negotiation and by legal means.
  • We uphold freedom of inquiry in every sphere of human life, and the application of science in the service of human welfare. We seek to use science creatively, not destructively.
  • We uphold artistic freedom, value creativity and imagination, and recognise the transforming power of art. We affirm the importance of literature, music, and the visual and performing arts for personal development and fulfilment.

Made this 25th day of March 2007, being the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome and the foundation of the European Union.

Dear Reader, if you agree with the above and are a citizen of an EU country then please consider signing it too.

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Comments

  1. #1 Ben Hocking
    February 25, 2007

    I’m assuming that only EU citizens should sign this and not those of us in the US.

  2. #2 Magnus
    February 25, 2007

    I’m actually concerned that non believers have bean so quiet about this in Europe. I don’t follow German and French media but some of it should have been picked up by English or Swedish media. I hope that 100 years of fighting against faith in politics don’t stop.

  3. #3 Martin R
    February 25, 2007

    Yeah, I was also kind of alarmed to learn of this so late! I mean, we like to think of ourselves as superior to the US in many ways, but they’ve had a non-denominational Constitution since 1776…

  4. #4 Daniel
    February 26, 2007

    Jag skrev just på!

    Actually, I had heard about the divide that exist between the secular and “christial-value” sides but I didn’t know until now that there was this declaration to sign. Thanks…

  5. #5 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    February 26, 2007

    Should the future Constitution of the European Union make reference to Christian values?

    Unequivocally, yes! It should mention that Christian values are a bad thing, and how fortunate it is that The Enlightenment came along to free us from them.

  6. #6 Martin R
    February 26, 2007

    Yeah! Hell yeah! And in the name of fairness, the document should denounce every single religion with a current number of faithful exceeding 99 people!

  7. #7 John
    February 28, 2007

    Martin: The U.S. Constitution mentions “God” as the source of individual freedom, but does not promote (or dissuade) any particular religion. While this may offend Buddhists (who say they have no God, but offer ‘karma’ as a near identical subsitutute), and athiests, it has worked pretty well at limiting how far a government can speak for the religious values of its citizenry.

    The U.S. founders fled an oppressive religious-based European government. Their intention was NOT to separate mankind from its innate spirituality, but to separate the tyranny of faith used as political oppression.

    If the founders could see what was happening in the USA today, they would be horrified.

  8. #8 Martin R
    February 28, 2007

    John, I believe you’re right about the founders’ views. As for spirituality, I personally hope it’s not innate. But I am optimistic that humankind might be separated from its cruel habits and taught tolerance & humanity.

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