After negative statements that denoted multiculturalism as a “complete failure” pronounced by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard also Nicolas Sarkozy have resolutely turn to this position by todays prohibition of prayer in streets of Paris, where ten thousands of Muslim believers everyday block the streets to complete their daily rituals. Even though both secular representatives and Muslim leaders came to agreement that praying on streets is not respectable; individual believers hold an entirely different perspective:
‘This is another example of the government clamping down on Muslims, and the Muslim way of life. ”
‘If they do not want to see us in the street, then they should provide more Mosques.”
Currently there are about 2000 mosques in Paris, out of which more than half were built over last 10 years.
Even though it appears that this ban was put into effect mostly because of the Muslim community, it applies for everybody. While it is not such a big problem for Christians due to the different nature of our prayer life, we may want to ask ourselves: “Where might this be heading?” In Bible we can read about Daniel who was facing faintly similar situation (Daniel 6:10) which yet was not limited only to streets, but also to his household. Although it is always important to discern the good reasons for our conduct, what would be our response, if this law was broaden up a little more?
I believe some more questions are at the moment in place: Why is it necessary to install such a law? Aren’t the current laws sufficient to prevent or stop such practices? A law about unauthorized blockage of the public areas (like road) could be applied, as well as the classic rules of road traffic where people have nothing to do on the road. What hides behind this new law? Is there more coming?
France is already for some time known for its militant secularism. In 2004 they banned head-scarves worn by Muslim women in public schools, then on September 2010 any veil that covers face, including the burqa, the full-body covering was forbidden, which made France the first European country to apply such a measure and today they have added one more.
French nation is by the constitution defined as “secular“. This was used by two parliamentarians who proposed a legislation to “prohibit [any] President of the Republic from receiving any religious title“. This was a response to President Nicolas Sarkozy’s acceptance of the honorary canon of St. John Lateran in 2007. This title was given from Vatican to French heads of state already for centuries…
Until now secular behavior mostly meant, not to belong to a religious order or congregation and thus merely observe the situation from a religiously neutral position while applying rules and regulations that were also religiously neutral. However, it seems that for some reason this definition no longer applies. For under developing course of events secularism is slowly getting a completely new meaning; a meaning in which secular behavior is not neutral or impartial anymore, but it is defined by a state. What is going to be next? Where will Christians be in the midst of it? What should be our response?