By J. Parnell McCarter


Should Christians support the addition of a clause to the EU or US constitution which acknowledges Christianity in a generic way?


There are significant efforts underway in the EU to add just such a clause.  Consider this excerpt from an article at http://news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/11/25/wchris25.xml  :


“More than a million people from all over Europe are to deliver a petition to Tony Blair and fellow EU leaders calling for changes to the constitution recognising Europe's Christian heritage.  Refusing to accept a secular "fait accompli" from Brussels, a Christian coalition is demanding that each EU state publish  its version of the constitution's preamble, with references to God if desired.   Already armed with 1,149,000 signatures and with thousands more pouring in from Holland since the murder of the film-maker Theo van Gogh, the group claims that most states want some reference to Christianity but were blocked by France.  The move is keenly backed by Pope John Paul II, who has repeatedly condemned the "moral drift" of Brussels. "One does not cut the roots to one's birthright," he told pilgrims this summer.”


And consider this quote from an article cited at http://www.puritans.net/news/snare051905.htm :


“…Candidates standing for the Christian Peoples Alliance in the European Union elections on June 10th will pledge to oppose the draft EU Constitution in the EU Parliament and at a referendum unless there is recognition of Christ and the Christian heritage of Europe. …The petition reflects the strong stance taken by Roman Catholic Archbishops in Britain and the lead of Pope John Paul II in calling for Europe's Christian heritage to be acknowledged in the new legal document. Dana Rosemary Scallon MEP, who sits as an independent in the Christian Democrat group, the EPP, in the European Parliament, has also been backing the petition…”



The Vatican is applying its own weight behind the campaign, as evidenced in the articles above, and meeting with some real success.  Efforts to pass the current secularist EU constitution are faltering, smoothing the way for the addition of a Christian clause to the EU constitution.  Consider this excerpt from an article at http://www.eubusiness.com/topics/Constitution/constit.2005-04-26 :




EU Constitution facing unexpected difficulties in France, Netherlands


The European Union's new constitution is facing difficulties from an unexpected quarter. Opinion polls show that a majority of voters in France intend to reject the treaty at a referendum set for 29 May. Rejection by France -- a founding member and central pivot of the EU -- would almost certainly sink the constitution and throw into doubt further European integration. The Netherlands also appears to be leaning toward a "no" vote. What has gone wrong?… The 'no' votes can be explained by many, many different motives, and certainly Turkey is one of them. Some French seem to be convinced that with the constitution, Turkey could join the European Union without any kind of [proper membership preparation] proceedings. Of course, that idea is wrong," Moreau said…The Netherlands looks like a similar case to France. A founding member and enthusiastic supporter of the EU, the Netherlands seems to be going through a period of uncertainty. Some of the latest opinion polls show the prospective "no" voters in the lead, others the reverse.  Some analysts link the change in the country's previously ultraliberal mood to the murder several years ago of a rightist politician who opposed immigration, and also the killing last year of a filmmaker who was critical of Islam.   So far, six countries, including Italy and Spain, have ratified the constitution. In most cases, there is little prospect of failure as parliaments will ratify the treaty. But in the half-dozen countries where referendums are still to be held, the road ahead could be bumpy…


An obvious way to address the concerns over Islam in the EU would be to add a clause to the EU constitution identifying the EU with Christianity.  Thus, these concerns work in favor of the Vatican’s own objectives, and it is likely these concerns have been assisted along by the Vatican’s campaign.  While efforts in the US to add such a Christian clause to the constitution are nowhere near as significant as in Europe, nor as likely in the near term, if the EU were to add a Christian clause to its constitution, it may empower such a movement in the US. 


But such a generic statement regarding Christianity is in no wise adequate.  The word of God does not command merely a generic form of Christianity, but a Christianity exhibited in the reformed and Protestant confessions, such as the Westminster Standards.


The benefits of a clause to a merely generic form of Christianity serves best the interests of that religious party which has the most political clout.  The Protestant community is fragmented and dispersed, whereas the Roman Catholic Church is centralized.  Such a clause could be used as a legal justification for suppressing those movements which could be argued “divide” the Christian community.  Thus, it could readily be turned against a church like the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland.  Within the EU the Roman Catholic Church would unquestionably be the religious party with the most political clout.  Even in the US such an amendment would likely prove in the Roman Catholic Church’s favor.  At the beginning of US history, when Roman Catholicism’s status in America was more in doubt, such a clause would have been risky to the Roman Catholic Church in America.  But now that the Roman Catholic Church is the largest denomination in the US, such a Christian amendment to the US constitution would likely prove favorable for the Roman Catholic Church.


The most meaningful and beneficial state acknowledgement of religion is of the sort exhibited in the Solemn League and Covenant.  It refers to a very thorough reformed Protestant confession.  It recognizes and protects the church which faithfully upholds that confession.  That is what Christians should seek now, not recognition of a generic form of Christianity that likely would be used by the Vatican to do more mischief.