April 06, 2005

+Beyond Separation: Laïcité

The French have gone from separating the church from the state to actually trying to banish religious people from even secular purposes. This is an old tradition in France called laïcité and it enjoys widespread support. But now they're pushing laïcité even further by saying the flags in France should not be lowered for the Pope's death or funeral. They're saying Chirac's order to do so is more or less illegal.

Of course, when the previous popes died, the French republic lowered its flags, and when other heads of state die they do so as well. What's interesting is that they don't want the honor bestowed on John Paul II, who had a great deal of real world accolades and successes, because he's close to God. For some reason, though, they don't seem to mind lowering it for Hirohito (he died in 1989 and the French lowered their flags) who, under the orthodox Japanese view, actually IS God.

Chalk this up to anti-religious sentiment. They've gone beyond balance and being faith-blind to being quite hostile to public sentiments with religious overtones. In other words, par for the course for France.

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