International Conference - Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences at the Casina Pio IV - Vatican City State
European Legal Order vs the Freedom of Religion, Expression & Conscience : introduction by Dr Christophe Beaudouin, PhD - Conference in Vatican, Rome
Squeezed between European and national legal orders : Is there room for Christianity ?
Eminences, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I first thank and congratulate the Dignitatis Humanae Institute for such a beautiful conference in this unique place in the world and on such a hot and disturbing issue.
May I point out that this relevant question we ask ourselves today is really puzzling...? Indeed, does Christianity would deserve no more than a “room” in a pan-European regime ? "Room" for God ? Is this serious ?
Are we happy to be reduced, both as citizens and Christians, to the status of a lobby trying to influence a Commissioner, a Judge or a Member ?
We have now enough evidence, in our bloody European History, to show that supranationalism is unable to produce anything else than materialism and relativism.
Through our previous panel discussions, we've noticed that the National Constitutions of Europe no longer provide protection against politically correct individual and minority rights.
Despite constant warnings issued by few far-sighted political leaders as Philippe de Villiers in France for now 20 years, that is what our governments curiously agreed through the Lisbon Treaty by bowing to the ideology of the ECJ.
Thus, all those new European "rights" seriously challenge both the natural family model and the rights of Man from conception to natural death and human dignity that many hoped to defend among the European integration.
We have also to be aware of how the European legal order – Council of Europe and European Union – deals with and challenges the Freedom of Religion, of Expression and Conscience.
Human rights and fundamental freedoms aim at universality ; but their protection requires the mediation of Law, the responsibility of political power is to proclaim them, to adjust them and to establish priorities, before the judges interpret them.
Such adjustments and prioritization involve an inevitable subjectivity, which is linked to the beliefs and values of these specific human communities of belonging that nations are. Just as Laws, customs and institutions, human rights and fundamental freedoms are indeed based on perceptions of the time and of the place: these common perceptions are necessary to make life in society possible.
However, what kind of human society remains possible under a European regime apparently based on the removing of all the limits ?
Now in Europe, national communities are not permitted to provide frameworks of shared references and values through their Constitution, international Charters and Conventions.
Europe is being forced to become an open and multicultural area.
In the field of freedoms and rights, now managed at the European level by Judges and Commissioners, one sees, however, that "multicultural" means "multiconflicting".
As the other rights, Freedoms of Religion, Expression, Conscience are now balanced and arbitrated by the European legal order.
Thus theses rights and freedoms receive the same treatment as the others :
- No formal hierarchy exists : all are listed one after the other, as though they were all equivalent ;
- They are all proclaimed on an equal basis, entering in a general competition and being reshuffled so that our national constitutional traditions resulting from subtle balances carried over centuries, are exposed to complete re-construction ;
- The European judges in Luxembourg and Strasbourg then receive extraordinary powers to freely select in a complete tool kit of rights and freedoms, only submitted to progressive requirements of these two active principles of a post-modern regime : perpetual movement of all and everyone, and the so-called non-discrimination ;
As a result, two questions must be tackled :
1) How does the European legal order protect Freedoms of Religion, Expression, Conscience and who gains benefit from this ?
2) How does our new legal and political regime deal with Christian faith, and natural Law, which are at the root of European identity, and thus of the society-model sustained by these values ?
Several indications cause us concern.
First at the EU level, for instance, we notice that after having removed in 2003 the mention of our Christian roots from a first version of the Treaty, now religious values only "inspire" or are "protected" by the EU, but they are not mentioned as integrating this Union.
Secondly, we shall be concerned by article 10 of the Charter which ought to ensure a right to manifest religion or belief not only "in private" but also "in public" in "worship, teaching, practice and observance"...
May I also point out that the new Gender-ideology - now even taught at school instead of latin or History ! - found overwhelming support within the European institutions, both in its legislative work and case-law (but not in public mind...) ?
As for the Council of Europe, European judges in Strasbourg accustomed us to double standards. In the name of freedom of religion for example, the Council of Europe through its parliamentary assembly and case law, protects specifically the right to wear the Burqa in public places, to build minarets, perform ritual slaughter and to time arrangements at work and school for worship...
On the other hand, the Court of Human Rights denies the protection of Article 10 on freedom of expression to those who criticize multiculturalism and the “tyranny of minorities” or who publish caricatures of Mohammed.
Equally, the same Court refuses freedom of religion and conscientious objection to Christian employees fired because they had refused to register a homosexual partnership.
Consequently, today, freedom of expression and conscience is no longer guaranteed for everyone. It depends on who you are and what you believe. A 23 year old man will again sleep tonight in prison in France ; and do you know why ? Nicolas Bernard-Buss refused to be treated as a criminal. As one of thousands of young French people, Nicolas had committed the crime of protesting peacefully against the denaturing of marriage.
The judge has wanted to make an example. Now, we have to realise that the “new moral Order” puts also its political opponents in prison.
Ultimately, seeing Christians in Europe placed on the same plane as others and yet treated less favourably than others, was widely predictable. In the last thirty years, European integration has taken a turn which constitutes a break with European identity : a break with its nation states, a break with its Greek and Roman heritage, a break with all the economic, cultural and moral borders, a break with its Christian roots. The EU takes here a huge risk regarding its ability to survive in a multifaceted crisis.
Nobody can with impunity abandon who he is.
Together with its national sovereignties and identities, the EU has relegated its religious and humanist inheritance to its historical past.
At the time of drafting the Treaties for 27 different peoples, European élites wanted to restart from zero, reinvent Europe from a tabula rasa.
In doing so, these élites have neglected the identity of their peoples and basic “natural needs of the human soul”, as wonderfully described by philosopher Simone Weil.
By doing so, they forgot that we cannot build a proper collective identity on some impersonal, general terminology referring vacuously to "democracy", "tolerance" and "free trade"...
This is actually a serious confession : if one must seek to re-build one's identity and values, it means that one probably lost or denied them for a long time.
Without the emphasis on Christianity as the very essence of European identity, why would the Union refuse longer the accession of non-Christian bordering states like Turkey, Israel and Azerbaijan ?
Relegating Christianity to the status of a simple belief among beliefs, politically-correct ideologues are offering disproportionate weight to non-European beliefs which furthermore are rooted in repressive and fundamentalist attitudes.
Once again, the idealization of this so-called "tolerance" is weakening the ability to resist intolerance and strengthens the very forces which it was supposed to fight.
The new European legal order, built by the Council of Europe and the European Union, every day brings evidence of its so-called progressive ideology.
This progressivism is a sort of new religion : each institution, limit and mediation has to be dismantled and individuals are atomised, uprooted and ordered to move on permanently.
This is to clean every man and every thing of all traces of link in order to make them available to trade.
Therefore, one can say that the new European order appears as a “Theocracy of Progress”.
You’ll win temporary battles, but you won’t win the war for natural family, for Life, for freedom of conscience, religion and expression, within the supranational architecture of the EU.
Many convinced Europeans were, and are, sincere and involved Christians.
May we together admit that as Europeans, as citizens of Democracies as well as Christians, that we have been betrayed ?
French writer Paul Valéry said “I call European any earth and people which has been romanised, christianised and submitted to Greek philosophy and discipline.”
As persons and citizens attached to human dignity and the freedom of peoples, we now have to get out of this collective European denial.
The time has come to refound Europe, to give it a new architecture, based on the supremacy of its national Constitutions, peoples sovereignty and identity set on its roots.
See also : Dignitatis Humanae Institute