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Friday, September 9, 2016

Nuance

Liberty Leading the People — Eugene Delacroix
“It is not easy to explain the French notion of laïcité to Americans, not because it is entirely foreign to the American experience, but because it is close enough to it to give Americans exactly the wrong idea. Laïcité is about the separation of church and state, a concept Americans know well. But in America, separation was designed to free religion from state interference (and vice versa), whereas in France separation evolved to exclude religion from public space and to promote the supremacy of the state over religious organizations. And the historical reasons for the distinction are clear enough. As de Tocqueville observed, the American Founders saw Protestant Christian religion as a support for freedom and civic virtue; French republicans saw the Catholic Church as having been complicit with the worst features of the ancien régime and sought to limit its sway over French democracy.” - Olivier Roy quoted in a story on ExtraNewsfeed

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