A new book, featuring conversations with European politicians and activists on the issues around religion and how it intersects with public and political life, has been published by the Green European Foundation, with the support of its partners Bureau De Helling and Green Foundation Ireland.
In the last decades, the relationship between religion and modern society has shifted. As a consequence, there have been fierce debates on issues such as ritual slaughtering, homosexual teachers in schools, the wearing of the headscarf in public institutions and the relationship between Islam and terrorism. In a new publication titled ‘Green Values, Religion and Secularism’, Green politicians from different European contexts reflect on the way their own religious or secular values influence their political attitude; the role of religion in the public forum; conflicts between fundamental rights, such as the freedom of religion and the principle of sexual and gender equality; the role of Islam in Europe and the question of whether religion is a source of inspiration or an obstacle for Green politics.
Religion and politics have much in common. They share the longing for another world, one in which peace and justice will reign. They also share the dangers of this desire: the temptation to force their own imaginative order onto others. Both religion and politics have to find a way to deal with the tension between the actual world and the world as they imagine it should be. The fact that they do this in very different ways is part of the explanation why religion and politics, by definition, have a difficult relationship. Modern political movements have roots that go back one or two centuries at most, whereas religious traditions have much older sources. However, this doesn’t discharge either of them from the task of interrogating and reinterpreting their traditions in the light of new challenges.
Although Green parties often have an uneasy relationship with religion, the debate about values, religious or secular, cannot be escaped within a Europe haunted by many different crises at the same time. This publication is an invitation to work towards a more coherent debate within the Greens on the changing role of religion in society.
The book is edited by Erica Meijers (De Helling) and Nuala Ahern (Green Foundation Ireland). It features conversations with politicians and activists from France, Turkey, Poland, Ireland, Greece, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
You can ready the publication by downloading the pdf below or order your own hard copy and support the project.