EEA Newsletter June 2015

In this letter:


Church and State

Thomas BucherSome weeks ago, I attended a seminar by Evert van der Pool (Professor of Religious Studies and Missiology). He spoke at the State of Europe Forum in Riga on an interesting phenomena. In France there is a debate among philosophers concerning the role of State and Church or religion in general. These philosophers note that by banning religion from the public square into the private life of individuals the State starts to take over what actually belongs into the religious sphere and so “becomes God” in various areas of life. . Subsequently these philosophers suggest that religion should find its rightful place in the public square. They do not question the separation of Church and State. But they do question the present practice in many European nations where religion is declared to be totally a private matter and herewith banned from the public square. The current German minister of interior, Thomas de Maizière, while addressing the role of Church and State in a speech at the end of 2012 in Leipzig talked about the Church having guardianship of all Christians towards the State. The Church has the role of reminding the State of its responsibility before God. It was not enough to have the separation of powers. The importance of the Church in modern society was to counter the one-sided claims of the market and the State. And, so for de Maizière, it was important that the Church spoke with its own language and thus opened hearts and senses about what could be bettered in society. CNEF (the French Evangelical Alliance) tackled this subject with its convention at the end of January and with the four booklets on the subject of Laïcité in various areas of life titled Libre que le dire … Free to speak … (one booklet has been published). After the Charlie Hebdo attack, a quote by a French philosopher with Algerian roots on Swiss radio referring to this tragedy has caught my attention: “Fanaticism is fostered by ignorance of religion. And ignorance goes back to the rigid Laïcité which bans religion from school.” The Charter of Conscience addresses this topic very much. The role of the EEA in getting this important document written was very prominent and shows how much this is on our hearts. Let us keep working on all levels for a healthy relationship of State and Church and Religion in general in order to help true freedom and tolerance in the area of religion being practiced and lived out. This is a journey and a topic which needs to be addressed over and over. But together we can keep it on the agenda and make sure the right balance is established time and again. Yours thomas signature       Thomas Bucher

In this letter:


Latest Posts

Receive the EEA newsletter!