The long-awaited preamble to the document used the words "spiritual", "religious" and "humanistic" to describe Europe's heritage and references traditions in Europe "nourished by the Greek and Roman civilizations," but makes no reference to the deity.
The question of whether to include God in the EU's first-ever constitution has been a subject of intense debate in recent months as drafters attempted to cobble the document. Its purpose is to build cohesion within the EU as it expands eastward and grows from 15 to 25 member countries next year.
All current members are formally Christian states, but most make no reference to their Christian roots in their respective constitutions and keep church and state separate.
But many of the 10 countries due to join next year, led by the largely Roman Catholic Poland, wanted "Christian values" mentioned in the constitution.
Poland is due to hold a referendum June 7-8 on whether to join the EU. Cardinal Jozef Glemp, the Polish primate, has said he supports EU entry "but only with God," reports Agence France-Presse.
Likewise the Roman Catholic primate in Hungary, Monsignor Peter Erdoe, is clear on what the union should be founded on.
"Without Christianity, the heart of Europe would be missing," Agence France-Presse quotes Erdoe as saying.
Pope John Paul II also lobbied European leaders for "a clear reference to God and the Christian faith to be formulated in the European constitution."
Former Irish Prime Minister John Bruton formally proposed including a mention of Christianity. He told EUobserver.com, an independent website based in Belgium, he believes "a greater reference should be made to the fact that many Europeans derive something beyond humanity - this would apply to those who believe in all the major religions."
Secularist countries, led by France, contend pluralist modern Europe is beyond the need to reference religion, according to ANSA. Leaders also stressed a reference to "Christian values" would make it more difficult to accept a mostly Muslim country such as Turkey.
In an editorial, Scandinavia's largest daily newspaper, the Swedish Aftonbladet, said referring to Christian values in the constitution and placing them above other values would be a "huge mistake" because it would "exclude groups and raise new walls."
ANSA reports several countries were nervous about creating resentment among their large Islamic immigrant populations.
"We are very glad a reference to God has been left out, it would have created unnecessary barriers in Europe," Terry Sanderson, vice president of the UK's National Secular Society, told EUobserver. "Europe has to be secular for it to be really unified."
Giscard d'Estaing, a former French president and the head of the Convention on the future of Europe, the body charged to draft the constitution, earlier indicated a compromise was possible by having the preamble mention religion. There is no mention of God or religious values in the main body of the text.
Penning the article himself, Giscard dashed the hope of compromise he had raised.
The 105 convention delegates will debate the latest draft starting Friday. The individual EU governments will then have the final say.
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[COMMENT: See Dennis Prager's article on the future of the world -- Muslim, European, or American? We are in the midst of a spiritual war of which very few are even aware, and most of those in the Biblical camp have no strategy for winning it. Christians will win it only if they come to understand both the uniqueness and the reasonableness of the Biblical worldview. We have allowed ourselves to be snookered by the secularists who claim to be "rational", but whose whole worldview has collapsed into the morass of post-modernism.
Europe is about 50 years ahead of America in the slide into secularism/paganism. The European view of "liberal democracy" is that of the French Revolution (which is atheistic and control-oriented), not of the American revolution (which is Biblically based and freedom oriented).
Pray for Britain to hold the line against joining the European Union. It will lose its wonderful heritage of freedom, which will be submerged under the centralization of the European mentality. America badly needs England as an ally. Pray that the Christians in both nations will wake to up what is happening and see the radical differences between the Biblical and the secular/pagan worldviews.
God is the reasonable one and the only possible sustainer of freedom (either personal or political), and He is trying to teach His people how to hold that ground with Him. E. Fox]
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