Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.

Now Blogging Afresh at Ad Orientem 西儒 - The Western Confucian

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Inforced Secularism

There is a lot of knee-jerk French-bashing out there and I do not intend to lend it another voice. But this article, Ignoring warnings, Chirac backs ban on Islamic headscarf, cries out for commentary. Here are some quotes from the French president:
    "The Islamic veil -- whatever name we give it -- the kippa and a cross that is of plainly excessive dimensions: these have no place in the precincts of state schools. State schools will remain secular. For that a law is necessary."

    "Secularism is one of the great conquests of the republic. It is an element crucial to our social peace and national cohesion. We cannot let it weaken. We must work to reinforce it."

The United States and France are the two great examples of the principles of the Enlightenment put into practice in a nation-state. The two countries are so very similar yet so radically different. The two countries are nearly alone in the world in basing citizenship not on race but on birth. Both are held up as examples of democracy. Both were born from a revolution. The more conservative American Revolution allowed for freedom of religion; the radical French revolution called for freedom from religion.

A look at the lasting effects of the two revoltions is telling: The American Revolution has resulted in the longest-lasting government on earth; the French Revolution resulted in the Reign of Terror, Napoleon, 1848, etc.

It's a pretty sad state of affairs for a country whose sons evangelized the world in the 16th and 17th Centuries.