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Discussant, ‘Values for Europe’ conference, Christian Political Foundation for Europe, The Hague (2012)

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‘”Values for Europe” conference in The Hague

Friday 27 April 2012

At April 27, the ECPF held a congress about the European Union in The Hague, together with the Research Institute of the ChristenUnie party.

The beautiful Old Meeting Hall of the Dutch House of Representatives was full with congress participants that afternoon. The timing of the congress could not have been better, because just in that week important negotiations had taken place about the 2013 budget, in which the ChristenUnie had taken the lead. Budget cuts are necessary because of European agreements in the Stability- and Growth Pact.

Researchers Luitwieler and Ten Napel and politicians Slob and Van Dalen were speakers at the congress. Over 80 attendants participated in the conference.

Dr. Sander Luitwieler, researcher for the ECPF ‘Europe’s Values’ study project, encouraged the Dutch ChristenUnie party to speak henceforth both positive and critical about the European Union. In the Christian political philosophical tradition originating from neo-Calvinism, ‘public justice’ is seen as the core political norm for the task of government.

Luitwieler stated that public justice can be applied also at a supranational level, such as that of the European Union. Public justice can help policy makers to balance multiple interests. Justice should be the leading principle, not the laws of economics and the financial markets.

At the moment, Europe is at a crosspoint between, at the one side, a financial crisis, and, at the other side, also a crisis of legitimacy. The Dutch cabinet has fallen also more or less because of the developments in Europe. The European desire for further integration runs up against a lack of support. This can only be countered if the EU itself recognizes where it is good at and when it also guarantees cultural diversity between member states.

Constitutional law scholar prof. Hans Martien ten Napel argued for ‘a higher form of tolerance’ in Europe than just escaping sensitive issues. Remaining silent about the name of God in a constitution is not religiously impartial. Based on the thought of European law professor Joseph Weiler, Ten Napel observed a ‘Christian deficit’ in Europe.

This is shown in the fact that many academics, especially on the history of European integration, neglect the Christian heritage of Europe. European integration was not defended because of the process itself or because of the results, but because of the ideals that were the foundation for it. Now Europe is increasingly post-Christian, also the European idealism (Weiler even calls it ‘European messianism’) disappears.

Peter van Dalen MEP suggested that research should be done on the possible future of the eurozone. Might it be a good idea to introduce an adjusted euro for countries like Greece and Spain, so that countries can develop their economies in their own ways, taking into account their own possibilities? It has become clear that the current way to deal with the crisis has not led to a solution.’

Source: http://www.ecpf.info/k/n34705/news/view/522996/581712/values-for-europe-conference-in-the-hague.html.

About CPFE:

‘The Christian Political Foundation for Europe (CPFE, formerly ECPF) is an association that acts as the political foundation for the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM). The CPFE supports and underpins the ECPM especially in terms of political content by European co-operation and the introduction of analysis, ideas and policy options.

The CPFE shares the basic program and Christian values of the ECPM. As association the CPFE welcomes thinktanks, NGO’s and individual politicians as members if they agree with these values and the Christian-democrat principles as expressed in the basic program.

The CPFE has three main goals among which its activities will be organized:

  • Connecting Christian inspired think-tanks and NGOs and starting a process of exchange of knowledge and experience. The CPFE website will become a European portal to many organizations, virtual libraries and information on many fields of policy. Also a database will be developed that will help parties, politicians and other organizations in their work.
  • Informing parties and politicians at the national level on important European policy developments that will enable them to react early and efficiently on ideas coming from the EU institutions. This work will be accompanied by actual policy comments.
  • Creating new ideas and approaches to the challenges in a globalised world and a global economy. The CPFE supports in-depth study projects that highlight and work from Christian inspiration. The CPFE wants to formulate attractive alternatives for the dominant secular dogmas in culture and economics.’

About Sander Luitwieler’s book A community of peoples: Europe’s values and public justice in the EU:

http://www.ecpf.info/acommunityofpeople.

Presentation during Second National Conference of Christians in Political Science, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI (1999)

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About the Conference:

‘The Paul Henry Institute will host the second national conference of Christians in Political Science, June 17-20, 1999. Christian political scientists from the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, and Australia have already registered to attend the event. More than twenty different panels, each addressing different thematic issues, have been organized, with more than sixty papers being given by different scholars in the field. On Friday, June 18, the Rev. Richard John Neuhaus will deliver an address that will be open to the public.’

Source: http://henry.calvin.edu/dotAsset/182cb684-4848-4d40-8150-9476e78b335d.pdf.

About the Henry Institute:

‘The Paul B. Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics was created in 1997 to continue the work of integrating Christian faith and politics advanced by its namesake, educator and public servant Paul B. Henry.

The Institute is dedicated to providing resources for scholarship, encouraging citizen involvement and education, structuring opportunities to disseminate scholarly work, seeking avenues to communicate and promote information about Christianity and public life to the broader public, and motivating and training future scholars and leaders.’

About Christians in Political Science:

‘Christians in Political Science aims to encourage students of politics to integrate their Christian faith into their research and writing; stimulate and assist members to bring insights and perspectives from their faith to classroom teaching; and provide a forum for fellowship. We recognize that Christians of good faith may disagree about how Christianity should inform our professional, political, and other activities. Indeed, a major goal of CPS is to encourage discussion of these matters among believers from different traditions and with divergent views.’

My own presentation was entitled ‘The Fall of Christian Democracy in Europe’.

Presentation during day conference on ‘Multiculturalism: Template for Peace or Recipe for Division’, West Yorkshire School of Christian Studies, Leeds (2007)

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‘”Has multiculturalism had its day?” “Has multicultural society any space for faith-based institutions”? This time the answers come from Greg Mulholland MP, Jan van der Stoep, Hans-Martien ten Napel and Jonathan Chaplin, who are the speakers at a day conference run by the West Yorkshire School of Christian Studies.

Multiculturalism: Template for peace or recipe for conflict? takes place on December 8 at Outwood House, Horsforth with sessions at Woodside Methodist Church.’

Source: ThirdWay Magazine, december 2007.

‘WYSOCS is a Christian education centre exploring the power of faith in learning for every aspect of life. Based in Leeds, we provide resources for Christians throughout the UK and beyond to engage culture with an authentically Christian worldview.’ See: http://wysocs.org.uk.

You can download Jonathan Chaplin’s contribution, ‘Has multiculturalism had its day? Towards a Christian assessment’, here: http://www.klice.co.uk/uploads/Ethics%20in%20Brief/Chaplin%20v12.6%20pub.pdf.

For audio, go here: http://www.wysocs.org.uk/recordings.php.

My own presentation was entitled: ‘”Curbing’ multiculturalism in the European Court of Human Rights?

 

Chapter in volume on Religion, Politics and Law. Philosophical Reflections on the Sources of Normative Order in Society (2009)

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‘Modern, liberal democracies in the West living under the rule of law and protection of human rights cannot articulate the very values from which they derive their legitimacy. These pre-political and pre-legal preconditions cannot be guaranteed, let alone be enforced by the state, but constitute nevertheless its moral and spiritual infrastructure. Until recently, a common background and horizon consisted in Christianity, but due to secularisation and globalisation, society has become increasingly multicultural and multireligious. The question can and should be raised how religion relates to these sources of normative order in society, how religion, politics and law relate to each other, and how social cohesion can be attained in society, given the growing varieties of religious experiences. In this book, a philosophical account of this question is carried out, on the one hand historically from Plato to the Enlightenment, on the other hand systematically and practically.’

My own chapter, co-authored with Florian H. Karim Theissen, is entitled ‘Taking Pluralism Seriously: The US and the EU as Multicultural Democracies’.

See https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228283908_Taking_Pluralism_Seriously_The_US_and_the_EU_as_Multicultural_Democracies.

For order information, visit http://www.brill.com/religion-politics-and-law;

or http://www.amazon.com/Religion-Politics-Law-Bart-Labuschagne/dp/9004172076/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1452689366&sr=8-1&keywords=religion%2C+politics%2C+law+labuschagne.