Wednesday, 19 December 2012

'Religious pathology' - a threat to liberty in France? And here...?

From LifeSiteNews [here]
"Reuters’ Religion Editor Tom Heneghan reports that France’s Interior Minister Manuel Valls announced the policy at a Meeting on Secularism organized by socialist members of France’s National Assembly, the country’s lower legislative house, on Tuesday. Reuters is the only news agency known to to have reported on the statements, which were left unmentioned in the French press.Valls claimed that that Institut Civitas, a group that socialist legislators have called to be disbanded for its aggressive defense of Catholic values and opposition to the homosexual political agenda, is close to “the limits of legality,” and warned that “all excesses are being minutely registered in case we have to consider dissolving it and defending this before a judge.” Valls claimed at the meeting that “the aim is not to combat opinions by force, but to detect and understand when an opinion turns into a potentially violent and criminal excess,” according to Reuters. “The objective is to identify when it’s suitable to intervene to treat what has become a religious pathology.”“Behold a program of radical secularist extremism, which fraudulently equates choice of life, of convictions, with terrorist and criminal acts,” wrote French journalist and correspondent Jeanne Smits, editor of the French newspaper Present, in response to the statements. France’s socialist education minister has also been under fire for his promotion of “secularist morality” classes for the nation’s schools, which have been compared to brainwashing classes instituted by Vichy France’s pro-Nazi leader Philippe Petain during World War II.  The proposed “Observatory of Secularism” would also be used to institute such classes, according to government officials.“Secularism is not about simple tolerance. It’s not about ‘anything goes.’ It is a set of values that we have to share,” Minister of Education Vincent Peillon told the French press recently. “To be shared, these values need to be taught and learned and we need to rebuild them among France’s children.”
It would seem from the original report that the targets of the new 'surveillance policy' are religious radicals across the spectrum, including potentially violent Islamic extremists. Since the Revolution and its long-unfolding aftermath, laïcité, the upholding of  'secular values,' has become very dear to the French State so it's not surprising that the contemporary apostles of  equality would seek to use what has been (at least recently) a basically neutral concept as  a stick with which to intimidate those who refuse to fall into line with the new dominant western ideology of 'rights.'  Yet in a large and very diverse country of regions, such a policy - one has to say, if followed through - from the French socialist Government will have its attendant political risks...

Britain is different: expect this kind of attack on opponents to come largely through judicial decisions, and through  charity law and its agent the Charity Commission -'public benefit' can be as restrictive as the society which defines it. 
Moreover, on this side of the Channel we do have a political and social elite which is virtually monochrome in its views on 'equality' issues and,  in so many ways, modern Britain is now, in practice, both more centralist and  more instinctively conformist than France will ever be...
As Andrew Brown (or, rather, his newspaper's headline writer) put it so charmingly and revealingly on another, but related, issue  in yesterday's Guardian, those concerned about the restriction of civil and religious liberties are 'running out of hiding places.'  

The original report from Reuters is [here

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