Home > Uncategorized > “France had neither winter nor summer nor morals – apart from these drawbacks it is a fine country”

“France had neither winter nor summer nor morals – apart from these drawbacks it is a fine country”

Several years ago, I was a regular lecturer in a religion and world affairs summer program at Boston University. After one course where I described the rising militant anti-religiousity spreading across Europe but manifest most blatantly in France, my students bought me this t-shirt:

Well, today the t-shirt once again speaks truth.

A much-anticipated French parliamentary committee has released a report in which it recommends a partial ban on women wearing Islamic face veils, proposing a ban in hospitals, schools, government offices and on public transport. It falls just short of calling for a full ban in public.

The committee also recommends that anyone showing visible signs of “radical religious practice” should be refused residence cards and citizenship. The interior ministry says just 1,900 women in France wear the full veils.

In its report, the committee said requiring women to cover their faces was against the French republican principles of secularism and equality:

The wearing of the full veil is a challenge to our republic. This is unacceptable. We must condemn this excess.

The commission called on parliament to adopt a formal resolution stating that the face veil was “contrary to the values of the republic” and proclaiming that “all of France is saying ‘no’ to the full veil”.

Presenting the report to the French National Assembly, speaker Bernard Accoyer said the face veil had too many negative connotations:

It is the symbol of the repression of women, and… of extremist fundamentalism. This divisive approach is a denial of the equality between men and women and a rejection of co-existence side-by-side, without which our republic is nothing.

The language of “radical religious practice” is extremely dangerous. What is “radical religious practice”? Anyone who has an apostolic zeal about their faith – especially the members of the over 600 groups on the government’s secret sect list – is in danger of being accused of “radical religious practice”.

The French government for too long has believed that it can interfere willy-nilly into the activities of religious organization. Within the last six months alone, an anti-religion agency based in the Office of the Prime Minister and headed by a former judge who was on trial for bribery and selling arms has raided at least three Roman Catholic churches in France because the priests were acting in a “sectarian manner.”

While I am by no means a fan of the Saudi approach of forcing women to wear the veil, this French approach is no better, denying women the right to wear it if they so choose. It is hypocritical of the French government to think that it can ban the veil on the one hand and decry the forced wearing of it on the other.

The secularism of which the report speaks is the religious equivalent of Islam in Saudi. France’s national religion is militant secularism, and it will do whatever it wishes to guarantee the protection of their faith.

(Thanks to Mark Twain for the title of this post)

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Jules
    October 19, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    It is easy to talk about things you do not live every day. France is one of the first countries in the world to have splet Church and State. As on your dollar bills we can still read “In God we trust”.

    Not allowing the “burka” (for security reasons), is not much when you think that Atatürk banned the ENTIRE veil for women in Turquie (wich was an Islamic Country) a few decades ago.

    You’re lucky I don’t have you in front of me.

    you f****in idiot!

    • October 19, 2010 at 9:49 pm

      Hahahaha. That’s outstanding! Nothing makes your point better than misspellings, bad grammar and physical threats. When you graduate from elementary school and can formulate a thought like an adult, let’s talk.

  2. Jules
    October 20, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    I have at least the merit of speaking your language, and of talking about something I know. I bet you don’t see much “burkas” over in Boston…

    I have at least two arguments that prove you wrong in my answer, you didn’t gave any in return though.

    France isn’t the country that declared war to Irak on fake arguments.
    Wearing a T-shirt that disgraces the country who offered you the Statue of Liberty proves your lack of eductation.

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