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Title: Religion and the public order of the European Union
Author: McCrea, Ronan
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis analyses religion's place within the public order of the European Union. It argues that the Union's approach to religion is characterised by the pursuit of balance between Europe's mainly Christian religious tradition and its strong humanist traditions which place limitations on religious influence over law and politics. Balance between these traditions is sought by treating religion as a form of individual and collective identity. Such an approach protects individual religious identity rights while enabling Member States, on grounds of cultural autonomy, to pursue their own relationships to religion, including the maintenance of institutional and cultural links to individual faiths and the promotion religious morality as part of the legal protection of a broader public morality. However, such facilitation of religious identities is limited by the Union's identification of the autonomy of the public sphere from religious domination and the protection of individual autonomy from the promotion of collective morality as key elements of its public order and prerequisites of EU membership. Religions seen as unable to reconcile themselves to such limitations are regarded as contrary to the Union's public order. Linking religious influence over law to religion's cultural role enables religions which are culturally entrenched at national level to exercise greater influence than outsider religions whose attempts to influence law can be seen as political rather than cultural and therefore as threatening to the principle of balance. The thesis therefore shows that the EU's public order is influenced by a Christian-humanist tradition which facilitates religion's cultural role but restricts its political influence. This distinction between religion's cultural and political roles, though complex and problematic in terms of equal treatment of insider and outsider faiths, represents an attempt to ensure respect for the Union's cultural and legal pluralism while constructing a distinctive public order with identifiable fundamental norms.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available