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Barbier, Jean-Pierre

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Ouest France - France | 22/12/2015

Jean-Pierre Barbier and Antoine Arjakovsky warn against misplaced secularism

The Association of French Mayors in November published a guide to help city councillors apply the secularism enshrined in the French constitution. The publication has resulted in the current controversy over nativity scenes. The mayors are taking the call for secularism too far, conservative politician Jean-Pierre Barbier and historian Antoine Arjakovsky write in the regional daily Ouest-France: "The secularism they defend results in a sort of false neutrality that goes as far as to deny history, traditions and values. This is not a workable solution. … You can't stop barbaric fanaticism with less religion. Let's be clear: the problem of French secularism does not focus on Christianity, Islam or Judaism, but on fundamentalism. You can't counter fundamentalism simply by doing away with Christianity. Fighting the propagators of 'holy ignorance' does not imply abandoning the principles of authenticity, identity, or - of course - respect for liberty, equality and fraternity."

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