How for the government and the majority to hold the crest line on this highly sensitive bill, accused by some of being anti-Islam?
Hearings conducted beforehand by the special commission passed serenely, without heated debates, with representatives of cults, unions and more academics. The work has been rich, in a limited time.
We are in an open state of mind: let’s avoid blinders and questioning and anathemas. We have a commission which brings together deputies with very diverse opinions: from LFI to the president of the National Rally via the former mayor of Sarcelles François Pupponi (ex-PS passed to the MoDem group, Editor’s note). We have been talking about this topic almost since the start of our mandate and it is important to take action. Few of those interviewed disputed the usefulness of a text.
We take general legislative provisions, we do not make a law for Muslim or Protestant worship associations, but for worship associations in general, this should calm things down. If we were focused on one religion, we would take bad measures. .
The majority are crossed by different sensitivities on secularism, how to reconcile them?
When we look at the debates and the law of 1905 (on the separation of churches and state, editor’s note), which is the reference, we realize that it is a law of compromise. Not a law where one camp imposes its point of view on another, where the Republic would have wanted to put the Catholic religion KO, whereas this one undoubtedly wanted to overthrow the Republic. There is freedom of belief, freedom of worship, state neutrality, and no public funding of cults. It is always a question of compromise and we are in that line – without the pretension that our law will have the same posterity.
Secularism protects us against religions wanting to carry a political project
My experience as a local elected official in Nantes and as a deputy reinforced my conviction: secularism is a shield. In 2017 (during the primary of the left in which he participated, editor’s note), we had this debate and Benoît Hamon denounced the fact that secularism is becoming a sword, a tool in the fight against religions. But for me, it protects us against religions wanting to carry a political project.
This shield needs to be strengthened, a little renovated, because the Republic is challenged today by Islamism in its radical, political version, and can be challenged by others who say they want to live under their own laws and not the common law.
Should we expect changes in the bill, in particular to support the “left leg”, the Social Republic?
This government, this majority have taken measures for three and a half years in the fields of education, housing, gender equality, with resources. We will continue to do so and we are not mixing everything in the law.
The temptation existed within the government itself, but I am not in favor of provisions on housing, for example, which would be legislative riders.
The hearings raised questions about measures on associations, home education and more hatred on the Internet. There will be details to reassure, enrichments. And at some point, we will stop at a point of equilibrium.