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 chapter argues that the Union's approach to religion is characterised by a commitment to balancing its predominantly Christian religious tradition with a strong tradition of secularism and of questioning and challenging religion. The Union does so by treating religion as a form of identity. While such an approach permits the accommodation of divergent Member State approaches to religion, there are limits and approaches that fail to respect public or private autonomy which are contrary to the Union's public order. These features give the Union a public order that is unambiguously linked to a Christian humanist tradition and which facilitates the predominantly Christian, cultural role of religion in influencing the law. On the other hand, while not strictly secular, such a public order is avowedly non-theocratic and while recognising religion and privileging certain culturally entrenched forms thereof, the Union also recognises the importance of non-religious perspectives.

Keywords: religion; secularism; public order; Christian religious tradition; discrimination; non-religious perspectives; liberal democracy

Chapter.  8024 words. 

Subjects: EU Law

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