Républicains et Laiques Audois



April 2006

It is customary

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I know very little about French Protestants other than some history of the Huguenots and the salient events, such as the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre and the conversion of King Henri IV. The website ERF (Eglise Réformée de France) has much information and is divided into several websites according to region. I browsed through the sites for Paris and for Cévennes-Languedoc-Roussillon (CLR) trying to find the core ideas.

I browsed through the sites for Paris and for Cévennes-Languedoc-Roussillon (CLR) trying to find the core ideas. There was an angry denunciation of the West’s weakness in the matter of the Danish cartoons, an equally angry review of the fate that has befallen those who criticize or satirize Islam, a bitter criticism of the Archbishop of Paris, André Vingt-Trois, who admonished the French to choose between Christ and dependency on the State, where choosing Christ (and the temporary uncertainty that comes with freedom) would never bring disappointment, while choosing the State (and the illusion of security), would eventually lead to disaster.
There was also a link to an article about the need to provide the same opportunities to the ghetto dwellers that the privileged and protected French receive. I cannot draw a definite conclusion about the ERF from this brief glance, but despite some criticisms of Islam, there seemed to be a general trend toward the idea of equality, equal distribution of wealth, and the need to reach and help the “have-nots” of the world.

This article, by Raymond Beltran, was mentioned by France-Echos.

It is customary, among the bien-pensants, to say that Islam is peaceful and that the Koran does not incite to violence, that only a faulty reading of the “Book” could lead Islamists to this kind of behavior. It is also in good taste to extend this notion to all other religions.
Unfortunately, this feel-good mentality does not correspond to reality. A literal reading of sacred Books, and of the traditional commentary that accompanies them, shows that in all religions there are calls to hate, to wage jihads and to embark on crusades against the infidels. The Muslim religion is not exempt.
There are, however, moderate interpretations that put these calls into perspective, either omitting them altogether, or retaining only the calls for conciliation. These interpretations are fitting for a society that has changed, a society that has become secularized. Here civil law is respected, civil law not subject to religious law.
No religion can be moderate except in this sense. In a modern society, this is not a problem, because tolerance can be reciprocal between believers and non-believers.
But if one undertakes a thorough reading of the sacred Books, with no nuances, with no allowance for an adaptation to modern life, one will inevitably arrive at fundamentalism. Fundamentalism permits God to say only what strengthens His position, only what impels believers to extreme forms of behavior, believers who are fanatics and who threaten those who do not submit to these teachings. This intransigent position is unacceptable since it denies each person his freedom; it seeks to impose its own out-dated view of the world onto others.
Muslim fundamentalism, like any fundamentalism, must be defeated. Any defense of “laïcité” must abstain from tolerating intolerant religions.
Note: Again the word “laïcité” comes up. This refers to the French law of 1905 regarding separation of church and state. At the time the law was passed, Christianity, especially Catholicism, was the only religion involved and the purpose of the law was to remove the Catholic Church from the political sphere. Islam was not on the radar screen. Now that it is, “laïcité” needs to be reexamined. It would be best, in my opinion, to ban Islam from from France on political grounds as a threat to the Republic, rather than on religious grounds.
le 21 avril 2006