Thursday, November 25, 2004

One Million Christians Petition Re: EU Constitution

1m Christians sign EU religion plea
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in Brussels
(Filed: 25/11/2004)

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.

Euro-MPs voted this week to back the calls for a change in the text.
Petitioners, led by Italy's International Mission Centre, will now take
their case to EU governments. The current version of the preamble eschews
Christianity, talking vaguely of "the cultural, religious and humanist
inheritance of Europe".

Valery Giscard d'Estaing, the former French president, deliberately left the
issue open when he wrote the document, inviting a petition.

"I have chosen not to insert the reference to the Christian heritage in the
constitution,"he said. "Rather I appeal to you to persuade me of its
necessity."

A British official said it was too late to change the preamble, although
national parliaments could add a "rider" stressing their country's Christian
roots.

An EU official said: "These Christians could at least have the good grace to
accept that they lost the argument."