Europe day to day
Applications are open for the next European Advocacy Academy, held in Brussels from 19-21 June, 2013.
The European Advocacy Academy (EAA) is an ambitious political training program, presented by leading experts, EU officials, and policy makers. It is designed for those who want to understand the European and even global dimension on critical societal issues of today: the respect for the dignity of the person, the fundamental role of the family for prosperous communities, freedom of religion, of conscience and of expression in a pluralist society. It provides participants with insights into the functioning of the different institutions of the EU, the Council of Europe and European Court System.
Participants at the European Advocacy Academy are provided with a network of like-minded NGOs activists, journalists and experts, and enabling participants to collaborate efficiently across Europe.
Who can apply?
The EAA calls on those who want to understand the European dimension of these critical issues. We especially welcome politicians and political advisors, NGO leaders and opinion makers, journalists, and academic thinkers. All EAA participants need to be fluent in English to a degree that allows them to actively participate in discussions.
Request application material and program here.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or +32 470 20 98 11
On Thursday, April 23, as France voted for the legalization of sex-same marriage despite months-long mass protests, Professor Helen Alvaré of George Mason University School of Law affirmed that such “sexual expressionism” cannot lead to true human flourishing.
Invited by the European Parliament, Professor Alvaré, a specialist in family law, spoke of existing tensions and even clashes between the free exercise of religion, on the one hand, and the push for equal recognition of all sexual behavior, on the other. Although recognition of different sexual orientations (known collectively as LGBT) is not a new phenomenon, the claim for granting them complete equality within society is. Alvaré calls this the “demand for sexual expressionism”.
Based on strong emotional and sexual interests, LGBT organisations have continued to push for public recognition of their different sexual orientations – thereby pushing for a new definition of marriage. For “sexual expressionists”, the sole condition for marriage should be an emotional relationship between a flexible number of consenting adults – a decision based on individuals, regardless of the consequences that this may have on children, lineage, and society. Besides the legal redefinition of marriage, the key goals of „sexual expressionists“ – as a necessary consequence of that lifestyle - are free access to contraception, abortion and sterilization.
But again, this demand has no foundation in any research of what actually contributes to the well-being and flourishing of persons and pays no attention to consequences, which include the large-scale immiseration of lower- and middle-class women.
“Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families that are denied official recognition can miss out on many benefits such as common income tax computations or other benefits that are made available to heterosexual families when a family member dies or is injured. Thus these families can experience serious economic hardship and disadvantages as a result of the lack of recognition of their family.” (Source: ILGA Europe)
This poster depicts a “lesbian family” with two women and their children. While it claims to seek equity in benefits between homosexual families and heterosexual families, what it is really demanding is legal recognition of same-sex marriage or civil partnership, as well as official state recognition of both women as the children’s parents. After all, it is through these mechanisms that heterosexual couples and their children receive benefits in the event of death or injury.
The European Citizen Initiative, ‘One of Us’, seeks to put an end to the European Commission’s financing of practices that destroy human embryos.
‘One of Us’ is a European Citizen Initiative which aims at changing the financial regulation of the EU such that it no longer funds any activity involving the destruction of human embryos. This initiative was created in the spring of last year and has since then received support from the representatives of various European associations as well as distinguished academics.
‘One of Us’ has two objectives. The initiative seeks, first and foremost, to prohibit the Commission’s financing of scientific research involving the destruction of human embryos. This is of great importance since the Commission’s proposed scientific research programme from 2014 to 2020, called ‘Horizon 2020’, currently allows for the general financing of scientific research on embryonic stem cells. Given that the Commission plans to invest 90 billion euros toward this programme, the scope for the destruction of human embryos in years to come would therefore be immense unless such activity is explicitly banned in the ‘Horizon 2020’ proposal.
Secondly, ‘One of Us’ also aims to put an end
Today, the Fourth Section of the European Court of Human Rights has issued an important ruling on freedom of conscience and freedom of religion. While it contains some positive language regarding the wearing of religious symbols, the ruling is deeply worrisome with regards to the freedom to act according to one's individual conscience.
Four cases were decided today at the ECHR. All four applicants were Christians, all from the UK, all suffered severe sanctions or even dismissal from their jobs because of their Christian faith and conscience. The Court joined the four cases into one single judgment.
The cases of Nadia Eweida and Shirley Chaplin vs. United Kingdom concern religious freedom and the wearing of religious symbols at the workplace. Shirley Chaplin worked as a nurse in a government-run hospital and had worn a small cross on a necklace without incident for more than 30 years. She was asked to take off her cross, which she refused. Her request to be allowed to continue to wear it was refused on the ground that it could cause injury if a patient pulled on it. She was removed from her position and eventually lost her employment. Nadia Eweida worked at a check-in counter of British Airways and wore equally a small cross on a chain around her neck. She was dismissed from her job, given the reason of BA’s uniform code, which permits the wearing of a Sikh turban or a Muslim headscarf, but not a Christian cross.
The other two cases...