December 13, 2012
Secularism Agency Will Defend France from 'Religious Extremists'—Including Creationists
President plans government agency to monitor groups for 'religious pathology.'
French president Francois Hollande has announced plans to create a new government agency to monitor France's separation of church and state.
The possibility of a secularism agency first arose in 2007, and is now slated to be established in 2013. The new agency is just one way Hollande aims to strengthen "laicite," which refers to certain secularist policies established by France in the 20th century.
The agency's responsibilities will include developing a secular morality curriculum for French public schools, as well as monitoring religious extremism—and deporting those whose views tend toward "religious pathology."
France's Interior Minister said examples of religious extremists include "creationists in the United States and the Muslim world, radical Islamists, ultra-traditionalist Catholics and ultra-Orthodox Jews," reported Reuters.
CT has regularly reported on France, including Protestant resistance to a previous anti-sect law and a crackdown after anti-Semitic violence, which warranted the country's mention on the U.S. State Department's 2002 Report on International Religious Freedom for "monitoring or discriminating against religious minorities."