Does God Matter? Representing Religion in the European Union and the United States

Aston Centre for Europe, Aston University, 12-13 November 2010

The European Union has largely been considered an economic and political project in which religion has only a small role to play. However, political mobilisation related to the drafting of the European Constitution and the increasing presence of religious groups in Brussels after 1992 have inserted the representation of religion into the decision-making process. For the first time in the history of European integration, the Lisbon Treaty institutionalises the dialogue between the European Union and religious actors in the most important document of the acqui communautaire.

This conference focuses on the political mobilisation of religious actors in Europe and compares the types and impact of religious representation in the European Union and the United States.

Download the Conference Programme (PDF file)

Download the Conference Poster (PDF file)


The conference will take place at Aston Business School Conference Centre which is around 15-20 min walk from Birmingham New Street Station (the main station) or 5-10 min by taxi. The journey from London Euston to Birmingham New Street takes around 1 hour 25 min with trains every 20 min. Birmingham International Airport is 10 minutes from Birmingham New Street Station by train. For more details on maps and directions see our website.


  • Grace Davie, Emerita Professor of Sociology, Exeter University: Understanding Religion in Modern Europe: A Continuing Debate
  • Kenneth Wald, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, University of Florida: Do Continents Matter? Religion and Politics in Europe and the United States
  • Laura Olson, Professor of Political Science, Clemson University, South Carolina: Tangled Webs: The Religious Left in Contemporary American Politics 
  • Jeffrey Haynes, Professor of Politics, London Metropolitan University: Religion in International Relations: A European Specificity?
  • John Madeley, Senior Lecturer in Government, London School of Economics: Deus ex Machina: The European Union and the Crisis of European Laïcité
  • Michael Sutton, Emeritus Professor of Modern History and Politics, Aston University: Political Realism and Roman Catholic Faith in Connection with the ‘Construction of Europe’: Robert Schuman, Konrad Adenauer, and Charles de Gaulle
  • Fr Frank Turner, General Director, Jesuit European Office (OCIPE), Brussels: The Roman Catholic Church and the European Institutions: Dialogue and Advocacy at the European Union 
  • Rev Gary Wilton, Church of England Representative to the European Union & Canon of the Pro-Cathedral of Holy Trinity, Brussels: From Athens and Berlin to Brussels: Reflections on Community Knowledge and Dialogue between the Institutions and the Churches
  • David Pollock, President of the European Humanist Federation, Brussels/London: Article 17: Reasons for Concern
  • John Wolffe, Professor of Religious History, Open University: Protestant-Catholic Divisions in Europe and the United States: An Historical and Comparative Perspective
  • Jőrg Mathias, Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, Aston University: Protestant Pan-European Thought in the Inter-war Period: The International Work of Archbishop Sőderblom and the ‘Stockholm Movement’
  • Martin Steven, Lecturer in Politics, University of Glasgow: Christianity and British Politics: A Neglected Dimension
  • Ville Jalovaara, Post Doctoral Researcher, Department of Church History, University of Helsinki: The Church of Finland and European Integration
  • Simona Guerra, Lecturer in Politics, Loughborough University: Religion and Politics in the European Union: Eurosceptic Allies or Euroenthusiast Friends?
  • Sergei Mudrov, PhD student in Politics, University of Salford, Manchester: Christian Churches in European Integration: the Process of Treaties Reforms and the EU Migration and Asylum Policy
  • Alan Chong, Associate Professor of International Relations, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore: Representing a Universal Sacred Mission in the Universal Secular Organization: The Holy See in the United Nations (paper co-written with Jodok Troy, Lecturer in Political Science, University of Innsbruck)
  • Adrian Pabst, Lecturer in Politics, University of Kent: The Shape of Post-Secularity: Representing Faith in an Age of Religious Decline and Revival
  • Jonathan Malloy, Associate Professor in Political Science, Carleton University, Ottawa: Between America and Europe: Religion, Politics and Evangelicals in Canada
  • Ronan McCrea, Lecturer in Law, University of Reading: Religious Contributions to Law and Policy Making in a Secular Political Order: The Approach of European Institutions
  • Sara Silvestri, Lecturer in International Politics, City University London: Religious Actors in Brussels: Patterns of Mobilisation and the Emergence of Muslim Pressure Groups
  • Antonius Liedhegener, Assistant Professor, Centre for Religion, Economics and Politics, University of Lucerne: Why Brussels is neither Washington nor Berlin. Political Catholicism in Differing Political Systems
  • Friederike Böllmann, Post Doctoral Researcher, Department of the Study of Religions, Leipzig University: How Many Roads Lead to Brussels? Decisive Factors for Political Mobilisation of Religious Organisations in the European Public Sphere
  • Bérengère Massignon, Post Doctoral Researcher, Groupe Sociétés, Religions, Laïcités, Paris: Secular and Religious Mobilisation and Counter-Mobilisation in Brussels
  • Canon John Nurser, Fellow, Centre for Human Rights, University of Essex and Director of Christianity and the Future of Europe (1989-97): Panel Chair
  • Win Burton, Executive Secretary, Wyndham Place Charlemagne Trust and Coordinator of the 'Soul for Europe. Ethics and Spirituality' (1999-2005): Panel Chair
  • John Anderson, Professor of Politics, Head of School of International Relations, University of St Andrews: Panel Chair


All participants are requested to register by filling in the attached FORM (WORD file) which should be sent to Lucian Leustean at l.leustean@aston.ac.uk no later than 15 October 2010. There is no registration fee for attending the conference. Please note that the conference does not cover travel, accommodation and visa costs.

In order to stimulate discussion, the papers will be circulated in advance to participants no later than 1 November 2010. The conference is part of Lucian Leustean’s ESRC project on ‘The Politics of Religious Lobbies in the European Union’.