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The Distinction Between Religion and Politics in France - Assignment Example

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The paper "The Distinction Between Religion and Politics in France" analyzes the separation of church and state French society. In December, 2007 French President N. Sarkozy shocked the French press with his apparent acquiescence to what he thought the Pontiff might want to hear regarding the Church’s role in French politics…
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The Distinction Between Religion and Politics in France
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Download file to see previous pages The French concept of laïcité while generally viewed as the separation of church and state goes much deeper into the French consciousness, history and law. Laïcité, or secular society, dates back to the French Revolution and its bloody attempt to eliminate the Catholic Church’s influence over its newly formed Republic, the notion which so disturbed the French in Sarkozy’s remarks. It has held that definition and confirmed it in the Law of Separation of 1905. Yet, if interpreted fully, laïcité includes provisions to protect the rights of the church and all religions and individuals under those rights, while giving the state the power to enforce “the strict separation of public and private, with all forms of secondary associations placed firmly within the latter domain” (McKinnon & Castiglione, 2003). During the twentieth century the term evolved to mean equal treatment of all religions, although a more restrictive interpretation of the term has developed since 2004 in response to the controversial Stasi Commission Report.
In 2003 then President Jacque Chirac commissioned “a group of scholars, government officials and educators to study laïcité (and its application) in France” (Choudury, 2007). Its findings, incomprehensible to many outside of France, led to the widely controversial 2004 law prohibiting the wearing of any obvious religious or political symbols in primary and secondary schools. Adrian quotes Elaine Sciolino writing in the International Herald Tribune, “The debate has little to do with the usual reasons for school dress codes and everything to do with the French state’s historical impulse to impose its republican value system on an increasingly diverse nation.…” (Adrian, 2006).
Charges of discrimination were widespread and vociferous. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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