France Must Remain Secular, No Matter What!

As we reported last night, the culture wars have come to the town of Béziers in southern France, where Mayor Robert Ménard has been forced by the local prefect to remove a Christmas crèche from the Town Hall, all in the name of laïcité.

The following discussion about Béziers from French television features Martine Cerf, the general secretary of the secular association Egale-Egalité Laïcité Europe (Equal-Equality Secularism Europe). Many thanks to Ava Lon for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

00:00   This isn’t a tradition. It’s… there were perhaps some stumbles
00:04   in the past, but this is absolutely not lawful.
00:08   it’s an infraction of article 28 of the 1905 law.
00:12   Therefore in public buildings there shouldn’t be any display
00:16   of religious symbols. That’s the law. —Secularism is coexistence; you are talking about
00:20   stumbles with the Nativity Scenes; it’s certainly not a slip-up to put them
00:24   in the Town Halls. Is it going to disturb Muslims or Jews to see a religious crèche
00:28   in the Town Hall, in the lobby? —Precisely, you need to understand the why, why this neutrality.
00:32   The neutrality is to underline strongly that the state is looks at citizens in the same way,
00:36   whatever their convictions or their beliefs. When the state starts
00:40   to put itself, symbolically, on the side of one religion, whichever one it would be, the others
00:44   could feel embarrassed. For my part I am embarrassed. —You really do think that Muslims and Jews
00:48   will be embarrassed by a crèche in a Town Hall? —Do you feel like that, you, as an association?
00:52   Of course, of course. The secular associations,
00:56   a number of secular people and of people who think that secularism is
01:00   the best way to coexist, don’t think that it’s up to the state to display religious symbols.
01:04   On the other hand [they think] that there is total freedom to display them in a church,
01:09   even on the forecourt of the church; with the authorization of the prefecture, why not?
01:12   Truly it could enter the public space. The public space is not
01:16   the domain of the public power;
01:20   it’s not the same thing. —Aren’t we witnessing secular extremists here just a little?
01:24   Aren’t we going a little bit far? It’s true, you say it’s not a tradition,
01:28   it’s the religion, but in the beginning Christmas was a pagan festival, but in France everybody
01:33   celebrates Christmas, or almost everybody. —Yes, but incidentally there would be no objection
01:36   if it was a Christmas tree… — Are you sure that won’t be the next step?
01:40   Of course not. It’s not the next step. That doesn’t make sense whatsoever. The Christmas tree
01:44   is used by families, even those that aren’t Christian. It’s a festival for the children;
01:48   people give presents; this is really a secular festival nowadays,
01:52   I would say; of course there are religious people who will
01:56   go to the Midnight Mass, but you have a big chunk of the population who celebrate Christmas
02:01   differently. — You say the state has to stay neutral. Following your logic, the state would have to
02:05   remove the holidays related to Christian festivals. Why, on December 25th
02:09   wouldn’t we therefore work? — Listen, we have, each country, and
02:13   in Europe it’s the same. In all the European countries it’s the same: we have the weight of history,
02:17   and in fact I don’t support abolishing everything,
02:21   but there happens to be a law that has drawn the line. And I am simply
02:25   for the application of the law. So I am not telling you that we have to go further
02:29   to the next step. Look, this law is more than a hundred years old. And we
02:33   didn’t harden its application, in fact we became even more flexible
02:37   until this point. —Well it’s hundred years old, it’s been respected, I don’t see the problem
02:41   but for three weeks, a Nativity Scene, well? — Is a Nativity Scene this problematic,
02:45   when we see that for example there are towns which subsidize
02:49   temples in an indirect way?
02:53   While there is separation, there is the 1905 law,
02:57   there’s the Créteil case which indirectly financed a mosque this way?
03:01   You need to rise against those things if you rise against a Nativity Scene. — Listen, I’ll rise
03:05   against all measures which are trying to overturn or go around the 1905 principles.
03:09   In fact the state shouldn’t finance temples. The state shouldn’t
03:13   try to go around a law to manage to subsidize anyway
03:17   the things it is not authorized to finance, it’s obvious. And that’s why
03:21   secular associations exist, and this is why they are vigilant, but, they aren’t always listened to.
03:25   Thank you very much, Martine Cerf.

15 thoughts on “France Must Remain Secular, No Matter What!

  1. Equivocation is the real problem They fear to ban Islamic practices like street prayers so they go for Christianity to make their point. Cowards! They then say to Moslems “Look we do not allow Christians to express their faith either in public!” The cowards way out.

    Christianity is part of French culture- street prayers are not.

    • “Christianity is part of French culture -street prayers are not”. That is, when those street prayers are directed to Satan (judging by his deeds, such as the Armenian Genocide, the Nice truck jihadist, Bataclan, etc, Allah is actually Satan).

      An early American, William Penn, got it right: “Those who will not be governed by God”…i.e. secularists and Mohammedans, to name just 2…”will be ruled by tyrants”… examples, every dictator, caliph, gang leader, mujahideen, sheikh, strongman, sultan, warlord, etc.

      The West needs to repent and come to Jesus, who will give strength to resist the devil and his minions.

  2. Pathetic! Muslim men clog up public streets at the so called “call for prayers”. Sharia law is is slowly being implemented as Imans’ demand religious fidelity from the so called secular spineless state, as they bully the gutless “proletariat” into silence and obsequiousness. This woman is exhibit A of what is the pathetic secularist. When men return to the Church and fill the pews on bended knee then maybe, possibly this terrible tide will be turned.

  3. These militant secularists are worse than Muslim extremists. Muslim extremists are an external force, but the secularists are the enemy within. It is they who are responsible for the suicide of the Western civilisation, which is based on Christianity.

    Christianity is the life force of the West and secularists want to remove it, with great success. Without Christianity Europe is defenceless before her outside enemies be they Islamists or anyone else.

    I am no Cassandra, of course, but I venture a prophecy: if Europe does not return to her Christian roots, in twenty years or so it will be a shambles. Or part of the Muslim world. Or something as bad as that or worse.

  4. Interestingly they are not to eager to tell this to the mohamedans! Where is the secular Mohammed cartoon drawing competitions? Seems like the French rather kick the house pet, than mess with the packs of wild hyenas…

  5. Just brought to mind…

    “Le Corbusier was the sort of relentlessly rational intellectual that only France loves wholeheartedly, the logician who flies higher and higher in ever-decreasing circles until, with one last, utterly inevitable induction, he disappears up his own fundamental aperture and emerges in the fourth dimension as a needle-thin umber bird.”

    -Thomas Wolfe

    …. but not sure why.

    It is an invention used for state primacy, where belief is co-opted or rejected only as far as it is of pragmatic use to authority.

Comments are closed.