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Religion and Politics Interact Throughout Europe

Religion has played an important role in politics throughout Europe, from France to Turkey, over the past decades. Ray Suarez details his recent travels to Europe, where he was discussing the role of religion in public life.

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  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    In his book "The Holy Vote," our colleague Ray Suarez looked at religion and politics in America.

    This week, Ray has been exploring that issue in Europe on a trip sponsored by the German Marshall Fund. He has been talking with academics, policy analysts, and others in France, Germany, Turkey, and Belgium.

    And he joins us from Brussels.

    So, Ray, to what extent is the debate and the conversation about religion and politics in this country replicated in Europe today?

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    Well, in each country Jeff, it takes on a personality that has to do with that country's history.

    Now that the European Union stretches all the way from Estonia in the northeast to Portugal in the southwest, they're trying to figure out whether there is a European approach to the role that religion plays in culture, in society, and in politics.

    This was a big debate around the time that the European Union members were trying to figure out whether to put a reference to Judaism and Christianity and the religious heritage of Europe in their own constitution. Eventually, they didn't, and the constitution did not pass. But that conversation is continuing through to this day.