Happenings in Europe can be insightful for determining what we can expect in our country and how we–as American Christians–can cope with the agenda to come. With that in mind, recent events in France are deserving of our full attention.
When Socialist President François Hollande was elected last May, he promised government endorsement of same-sex unions under the moniker “marriage for all.” In a secular country with liberal politics and very low church attendance, politicians and pundits assumed Hollande would make good on his promise and France would soon join other European nations altering the definition of marriage to include same-sex unions. Many have been surprised to learn that a religious movement has arisen against same-sex “marriage” in France, with unexpected bedfellows making their voices heard.
Religious leaders from Catholic to Muslim to Jew to Evangelical have spoken out, urging the government to proceed with caution before abandoning societal norms like marriage and parenthood. Many French citizens are listening and seem to agree with the sentiment, concurring with arguments about the need for children to have legal associations with both fathers and mothers.
Just yesterday, a march was organized in Paris. Citizens came from all over the country, marching along three routes and converging on the Eiffel Tower. Organizers estimated the crowd at over 800,000. Even with lower police estimates, it was one of the largest protests in over 25 years. As more speak out against “marriage for all,” polls are showing a measurable impact in public sentiment.
This battle is far from over in France. President Hollande and his government have been resolute about their intentions in passing the “marriage for all” law. But the very fact that there is a battle on this issue–and not a mere afterthought by this point–underscores the fundamental importance of religious expression in the public square.
Let us pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in France as they fight for their beliefs and for the hearts of the French legislature to be soft to their message. And let us also pray for ourselves, that when our time comes–which will be sooner rather than later–we too will have the courage to share our religiously-based views in the public square.
Posted by Nate Kellum