Friday, September 24, 2010

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

On Copé's ambitions (see yesterday's post) and potential hostility toward them in the UMP, nothing is more eloquent than the photo accompanying this article in Le Point. (It's copyrighted, so I link rather than include, but it's worth clicking through to see the daggers in Fillon's eyes as he glances sidelong at Copé.)

See also Bernard Girard.

Laïcité

There is much confusion in France about the precise meaning of the principe de laïcité, even though it is supposed to be one of the fundamental principles on which the Republic is founded. Exactly what does it entail? What is the supposed "neutrality of public space" and who must respect it? Lately, this issue has been clouded by association with anti-Islamic sentiment, but the blog Diner's Room calls attention to a recent court case involving discrimination against a Christian municipal councilor by an (overly) zealous laïc mayor. I cite the following excellent comment verbatim:

Aussi bien, c’est se tromper profondément que de croire que la laïcité relègue la religion dans l’espace privé. L’obligation de neutralité ne pèse que sur l’État, qui n’est pas identifiable à la société, non plus qu’aux élus ; n’en déplaise à qui nourrit des pulsions totalitaires. Hors l’exercice de la puissance publique, donc, il est loisible à chacun de faire valoir ses convictions de fidèle ou de libre penseur. Et, loin de lui apporter une limite, le principe de laïcité garantit la liberté de cette expression. Concernant la religion, la laïcité n’est pas une tolérance, c’est une protection. [emphasis added]