On the radio talking about faith, politics, and Europe

I was part of a discussion on Premier Radio today.  The debate was about some comments the Czech Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, the Archbishop of Prague, was reported to have said.


He was quoted in the Daily Telegraph as saying that Europe had denied its Christian roots and was in danger of being 'conquered' by Muslims.  Despite that very unfortunate phrase (which I criticised), his main point seemed to be that there is a 'spiritual void' in Europe and that Christians have not been bold enough in their faith.


My point was that our values of equality, freedom of conscience, and freedom of speech are based on our Christian heritage.  That means everyone is free to choose their faith, and to choose their political beliefs.  When I hear someone talk about Muslim faith in Europe, I just think about the 3% of my fellow British citizens who happen to hold a different faith than I do (though we may come to some similar conclusions about how to build a better society).


My main point was that the Church would surely argue that any spiritual void it found in Europe was being filled with materialism.  Yet that worldview had been severely threatened by the financial crisis and recession.  Political leaders and others are looking to the Church and Europe's Christian heritage for a foundation for better values in life (eg Gordon Brown at St Paul's Cathedral last year).  It's up to the Church to speak up and engage further in that debate.


Stephen Beer, 07/01/2010

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