Ronan McCrea

in Religion and the Public Order of the European Union

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199595358
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595776 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in European Law


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This introductory chapter sets out the overall approach of the book. It notes the many ways in which EU law can affect and be affected by religion. It argues that the Union's approach to religion is based on a commitment to balance between two partially competing influences: a predominantly Christian religious tradition and a secular and humanist tradition that limits religious influence over law and politics. Such balance is sought by treating religion as a form of identity. Such an approach is complicated by religion's nature as both a form of individual identity and a form of collective identity that can serve as the basis for the restriction of individual identity rights. The chapter contends that treating religion as a matter of identity limits the degree to which religious truth claims can be asserted in the political arena and reinforces the Union's humanist-influenced commitment to individual autonomy. Religious approaches which cannot accept such limitations will, the chapter concludes, struggle to achieve influence within the EU's public order.

Keywords: religion; humanism; secularism; public order; culture; law; Europe; European Union

Chapter.  6742 words. 

Subjects: EU Law

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