The liberties of French Christians have long been in a perilous state, however now the recently elected Socialist Government is set to impose a new form of secularist surveillance upon the Church and lay organisations, seeking to discover and ‘dissolve’ any potential cases of what it deems ‘religious pathology.’
The month of Advent saw a disturbing spate of attacks and desecrations of Christian icons and buildings across France; from the burning of a Nativity scene in Savoy, statues decapitated in Frejus and Churches attacked in Mayenne and Soissons. Yet rather than defend the religious liberty of her persecuted people, the French government is pushing ahead with a further curtailment of religious expression.
Announced by President Hollande, the new ‘the National Observatory of Secularism’ will come into being this year, tasked with closely monitoring religious organisations for any potential ‘excesses.’ According to Reuters, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls highlighted various Catholic organisations, stating that “All excesses are being minutely registered in case we have to consider dissolving it.”
This aggressive form of imposed laïcité is coupled with the proselytization of what the Socialist education minister Vincent Peillon called a ‘secularist morality’ within the state education system. This compulsory form of re-education will seek to remove any ethics other than the core, secularist, tenets of the republic. The Federation of State School Parents has already protested against what could be viewed as child indoctrination.
In response to these worrying trends, Benjamin Harnwell, Founder of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute warned of the dangerous precedents being created:
“The French government has already defied its own constitutional courts on its tax policy and now seeks to redefine the notions of justice and due process. A government that can pre-determine your guilt before any actual crime has even been committed, based solely on a supposition of religious belief, has abandoned any claim to being a pluralist democracy and has become something far more sinister. This disturbing move marks yet another descent in a country which already heavily curtails the universal right to public displays of religious expression.”