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Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Laicite and the problem with ethics in France

France 24 has reported the latest effort by the French government to separate religion from the public sphere. The minister of education, Francois Peillon, wants ethics and morality to be taught in the schools from "Republican values." Of course, this is ridiculous, as without a natural law philosophy or an underlying religious philosophy, morals do not have a framework. The government seems to want to impose order onto chaos without addressing the real problem. But, since when are socialists rationale? Of course, these leaders feel like they must do something. Did anything moral come out of the French Revolution>

Convince me.

From the article we can see the dilemma. Part of the problem is that Hollande wants to get rid of all private schools. Yes, I heard him in France when he was campaigning. Really, he said that.

“In France we talk a lot about values like liberté, egalité and fraternité,” Labaquere told FRANCE 24. “But these values can be achieved by a school helping children to grow and develop their personalities and by allowing them to express themselves."
"It shouldn’t be done simply be writing a set of moral codes on the blackboard and forcing pupils to learn them off by heart.”
Philosopher and specialist in secularism, Henri Pena Ruiz is also concerned that teaching secular morality in schools may well undermine the fundamental principal of laïcité and the reasons why France chose to separate its church from the state.
 “We can’t just replace Christian instruction with Republican instruction for there is no point just aping religious indoctrination with secularist indoctrination,” Ruiz told Le Journal du Dimanche.
Parent groups have also expressed reservations about schools taking on the task of teaching morality to pupils.
“This should not encroach upon the role of the parents,” warned Valérie Marty of the Federation of State School Parents (PEEP). “Researchers looking into this must clearly define the roles of each side.”

Hollande is behind this. He thinks is totally secular and humanistic terms. In his campaign, he said that. “A good school is one that teaches “dignity, respect, consideration and personal reflection.”


Here is the philosophy of secularization as expressed from the viewpoint of the French from the article online.
The word laïcité, roughly translated as secularism, has no exact equivalent in English. It refers to a core principle of the French Republic, which had its origins in the French Revolution and was consecrated by a 1905 law separating church and state.  The law protects the right to freedom of worship, but rules that religion should play no role in government or public institutions, particularly state schools. The principle of laïcité enjoys broad backing across France’s political spectrum and is passionately defended when the position of religion in French society arises. In 2004 a controversial law was passed banning the wearing of religious symbols, including muslim veils, in schools. This led some to portray France’s reinforement of laïcité simply as an attack on the influence of Islam in the country. Many Muslims in France supported the law however.