Monday, November 08, 2004

Rocco and Religion

The ex-candidate commissioner Rocco Buttiglione, who resigned after MEPs took his comments about single mothers and homosexuals somewhat badly, is launching a crusade for Catholicism and Christianity, claiming the EU is being taken over by a political correctness which effectively discriminates against traditional religious beliefs.

He's a got a point, although methinks his campaign may be somewhat less selfless than he is making out. Following Bush's election and the first steps towards admitting the primarily Islamic Turkey into the primarily Christian European Union, there has been much speculation about the future role of religion in politics. Some in Europe seem to have started wondering whether this continent - which was, after all, where Christianity got its first foothold - might benefit from some religiously-tinged politics. This approach hasn't worked too well in Northern Ireland, but there seems to be a drive to ignore the Protestant/Catholic division (and all the little subsects of those major Christian sects) and instead focus on an all-encompassing notion of "Christianity" - which I imagine could end up being somewhat offensive to the regular practitioners to which such a move would be designed to appeal...

Could old Rocco be hoping that he could become a secular European religious figurehead, setting himself up in opposition to namby-pamby liberal political correctness in the same way Bush managed to? I doubt he's stupid enough to think this is a possibility, but it could do him some good on a smaller, domestic scale - after all, Berlusconi has got to vacate the Italian premiership sooner or later (voluntarily, democratically or through impeachment), and his hugely raised international profile following this latest spat between the Commission and European Parliament could put him in a good position to take over if and when - especially with the similarly-minded Bush in the White House.

Either way, there's a good interview with Buttiglione here.

(Oh, and sorry for the decline in posts over the last few days - I had a weekend in the country, narrowly avoiding being in a train crash - I luckily took an earlier train - and then got delayed by the aftermath on the way back...)

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