Extinguishing the Lights
In my previous post on the January 13 march, I mentioned that minister of Education Vincent Peillon had warned Catholic schools not to debate the issue of homosexuality in the classroom lest it engender "homophobic" feelings on the part of the pupils. An entry dated January 5 at Yves Daoudal's blog indicates that Peillon's action was worse than a mere warning:
In his letter to the school administrators in which he asked that they observe "the greatest vigilance" with regard to debates that might be held in Catholic schools on the proposed bill to denature marriage, Minister Peillon had the audacity to write:
"Let us never forget that we are dealing with adolescents and that suicide attempts are five times more frequent among young people who discover they are homosexual than among others."
This "argument"(?) that is repeated constantly (even by Vincent Peillon's "right-wing" predecessors) is now being used against Catholic schools. As if Catholic schools were responsible for the potential suicides of homosexual adolescents. This is ignominious.
It comes right after the remark in which the minister implies he is ordering Catholic schools under contract to "respect the principle of neutrality and freedom of conscience" and recalls that it is "the duty of the State to be the guarantor of respect for these principles."
Note: A reminder that a Catholic school "under contract" is partially funded by the State and must conform to government policies, even if it has some latitude in the teaching of Catholic doctrine.
Vincent Peillon, who also dared to declare: "I don't want to revive the scholastic war," is a specialist of the scholastic war of the turn of the 20th century. When he speaks of "neutrality" and when he implicitly orders Catholic schools to respect neutrality, there is in his words an echo of René Viviani, who wrote on the front page of l'Humanité on October 4, 1904:
Note: Before proceeding to the quote you should be aware that Algerian-born René Viviani held several ministerial positions under President Raymond Poincaré in 1914 and 1915, including minister of Public Schools. He belonged to a breakaway Socialist party called the Republican Socialists. Before that he had been a deputy in the National Assembly.
L'Humanité is the newspaper of the French Communist Party.
"And neutrality? It is and has always been a lie. True, it was perhaps a necessary lie when we were forging, amidst the impetuous anger of the Right, the school law. (…) The gulf to be crossed was perilous; it was already enough just to establish secular and compulsory education. We promised this chimera of neutrality to reassure some timid souls whose coalition would have been an obstacle to the passage of the law."
Note: Daoudal quotes a line from a famous speech delivered in the National Assembly by the atheist René Viviani following the passing of the 1905 law separating Church and State. Here is a longer version of that astonishing quote, as published by Wikipedia:
"All of us together, our parents and our forbears, and ourselves, became attached in the past to an anticlerical project, a project of irreligion. We snatched human consciences from faith. When a wretched man, exhausted from the day's burden, fell on his knees, we raised him up, we told him that behind the clouds there were only chimeras. Together, and in one magnificent act, we extinguished in the sky lights that will never again be lit. That is our work, our revolutionary work. Do you believe the job is over? On the contrary, it has only just begun."Note: Daoudal also mentions Moroccan-born Élisabeth Guigou, former minister of Justice under Jacques Chirac, who, in 1998, expressed her support for the civil union pact (PACS) and her disapproval of homosexual marriage. Today, Mme Guigou has seen the light, or the darkness, and has made the following comment:
" (…) Today I have evolved on the topic of marriage. Having spoken with the homosexual associations, I feel that, so long as there is mutual consent between two adults, it is not possible to refuse them equality of rights. Society has evolved a great deal. As for myself, I still question adoption; we will have to find a way of writing into law the way in which the filiation of a child adopted by a homosexual couple can be determined."
Yves Daoudal closes this short but richly informative article with a personal observation:
When I lived in the Paris region, I always thought about it (i.e., the quote above from René Viviani) every Easter. In the church of Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre, Easter night begins with a first Mass of the Resurrection celebrated out-of-doors, between two solemn processionals. And there was a bit of extra pleasure every year in hearing the proclamation of Christ's Resurrection… right in the middle of René Viviani Square.
Apparently, despite Viviani's best efforts, some lights were not extinguished after all.
At the top, a great old photograph of a demonstration in front of Notre-Dame des Champs in Paris in 1904, when the issue of Church/State separation was the big controversy of the day.
Final thought: The bill on gay marriage goes far beyond the act of marriage itself. There is the question of adoption, and of future predictable demands such as polygamy, pedophilia, and incest. There is also the relentless work of the Left as it chips away slowly but surely at the edifice of Christian France. Therefore, a defeat of this bill would be a resounding victory for tradition, for the family, and for humanity. But we can be sure that the Left would continue its mission furtively and with determination despite the setback.
Below, François Hollande and Vincent Peillon.