Separation of Church and State: France

This is from my dear friend who is spending some time in France studying the language:

“This came up in class the other day and it stirred up a lot of different thoughts, so here goes—-

“La France est une République indivisible, laïque, démocratique et sociale.”
TRANSLATION: France is an indivisible, secular, democratic and social republic.
Article 1 of the French constitution, and the French pride themselves on guarding those traits.
Secularism?  The concept of laïcité was OFFICIALLY instated in 1905 when separation of church and state became viable by law.  Since then, the French have been doing their part on “strictly” upholding this secularism.  But, I think they’re just kidding themselves.
Per Constantine I, the French have adopted the Roman doctrine of refraining from work on Sundays.  But, they’ve taken it one step further than Ole’ Const’ by making it AGAINST THE LAW for businesses to open on Sundays.  The law.  Why?  Why because Sunday is the “Lord’s Day.”  It is holy and it must be respected (you are evil and you must be destroyed).  Apart from markets, Sunday is best identified in my mind by the constant chiming of the church and cathedral bells.  Everything is closed, grocery stores, government buildings, public libraries…school libraries…
Museums stay open, as do SOME cafés around touristic hubs… which is interesting, but it’s probably because they would face so many losses if they shut down.  What would the tourists do?
Case numero dos: Same sex couples do not have the right to get married.  Wait…it’s not that they don’t have the right… it’s that there’s a LAW stating that it is illegal for them to get married.  There is no such thing as domestic partnership either (ie, civil unions).  The reasoning:  the church does not support same-sex unions; ergo, no ceremony for two people of the same sex.  ergo.  OK.  Then go through this “secular” state.  No can do.  The state will not perform unions for homosexual couples.  Why?  Although secular, France still has Christian roots and healthy ties with its religious commissaries.  They don’t want no trouble with the big guy upstairs… (more…)

Published in: on November 30, 2008 at 7:04 pm  Comments (1)  
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