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Secularism and the French revolution
essay [ ]
libertĂȘ,egalitĂȘ,fraternitĂȘ - revised version

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
by [wipperud ]

2006-07-31  |     | 

The slogan in the subtitle reverberates through history.

Throughout the latter part of the century the old
order of the world was challenged by two great revolutions; the american and the french. The american revolutionaries were clearly inspired by french contemporary thinkers. The social order of England was not equally stagnant as that of France. Merchants and other bourgeoise citizens had a certain influence upon
politic decisions.
Take a minute to reflect upon what the french revolted against. Old France was a pyramidical structure. Social mobility was, to put it very kindly, scarce. On top were the king, his family and court, the nobility and the church. Not even the richest of merchants had any real influence in matters of the state. Ideas and creativity were shut out. The bourgeoisie, as well as a largescale industrialization was still waiting for its heyday.

Much of the ideology connected to the revolution went a lot further thsn just aiming at power for the bourgeouisie. Neverthelesss - France went through great changes when the old order of society was overthrown. And in the long run both town citizens and peasants benefited greatly from this.

The idea of secularism stems from the revolution. In 1905 the parliament of the third republic decided that religion should have no place in public schools and in the public sphere whatsoever. Now religious education was left entirely to the parents.

It is on this background that the french parliament some time ago revitalized the banning of religious symbols of any kind, such as big crosses,kippahs, jihabs and burkahs from all public school. For this decision France has been met with numerous protest actions and terrorist threats. I strongly support the French in this matter. France is the only nation with the necessary credibility to reawaken a law like this. Today modernity and freedom of thought, speech and religion is threatened by islamic movements and charismatic christianity. My hope is that France will resist these attacks and persevere as the only great secular nation of Europe.

Special thanks to such thinkers as Voltaire,Montesquieu
and Diderot.

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