Stupid blinkered secularism: French court bans nativity scene

A nativity war has broken out in France after a court’s ban on a nativity scene in the La Roche-sur-Yon town hall.

The French court’s ban is to preserve France’s secular traditions and has sparked a fierce backlash, reports The Guardian.

“Why not ban Christmas and the public holidays that go with it?” screamed Le Parisien; its headline ran “Spare us a nativity war.”

The paper claimed 86% of its more than 12,000 readers were in favour of keeping nativity scenes in public places.

The Nantes’ court decision came in response from a complaint by secular campaign group, Federation Nationale de la Libre Pensee.

The court ordered the western town of La Roche-sur-Yon to remove the crib from the entrance to its building.

Calling the decision “stupid, blinkered secularism”, the council is appealing the decision.

“Next we’ll be banning epiphany cakes at the Elysee Palace” local senator, Bruno Retailleau, said in a statement.

The Guardian reports other councils are fighting similar decisions.

The controversy surrounding the ban comes as the French government does not want to be seen to discriminate against only Muslims.

Muslim people are banned from wearing burqas or niqabs in public.

Critics are saying the government is leaning too far in the other way to protect France’s secular traditions.

“Secularism must not kill our country, our roots and our traditions,” said Nadine Morano, deputy with the centre-right UMP party.

Sociologist Jean Bauberot claims upholding of France’s religious “neutrality” is becoming increasingly aggressive and repressive secularism is affecting Islam.

“The anti-Islamic climate is causing a crackdown on other religions,” he told Le Nouvel Observateur weekly magazine.

But, he added, the law is the law, and “cribs are a religious symbol that has no place in a public space.”


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