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The situation of persecuted Christians in France

Pew Research Center forecasts a sharp decline in the number of Christians in the future. Under the guise of combating terrorism, the country has introduced legislation that significantly restricts religious freedom in the public sphere. Christians are targeted from two different directions, namely secular radicals and radical Muslims.


According to the World Christian Database (WCD), in 2020, 63.1 per cent. of the inhabitants of France were Christians, of which 90.5 percent declare themselves as Catholics. Due to migration, Muslims are – after Christians and “non-affiliated” – the third largest religious group in France (9.4 per cent).

French authorities often do not respect the conscience clause that doctors, pharmacists, nurses and officials refer to. In 2018, some politicians pressed for its removal from the legislation as over 70% of doctors refuse to perform an abortion on moral grounds. Gynecologists and medical students are sometimes pressured or feel obliged to perform an abortion – despite the legal protection of conscience – for fear of negative professional consequences. Freedom of speech is severely restricted. Self-censorship by officials who avoid expressing opinions on marriage, bioethics, family and identity is common. Pupils and students are denied the right to express their religious feelings.

In 2020, Matthieu Faucher, who was severely punished by education authorities for teaching about the impact of the Bible on history and culture, won a court case after several years of litigation. The court found that in his case the sanctions imposed were disproportionate. Post-Christian anti-culture is being built in France. Since 2004, crosses have been banned (the first law banning religious symbols in Europe). A series of traditional Catholic holidays and public education celebrations are also referenced. In 2020, a new law restricted home schooling, affecting the parental rights of Christians. In schools, Muslim children abuse Christian children.

The French media deliberately misrepresents and even condemns Christians for moral teaching. At the same time, there is a conspiracy of silence about denouncing church vandalism and attacks on Catholic priests. Almost every day three churches or Christian buildings are destroyed, according to police statistics. However, it is avoided to provide information about terrorist attacks on Catholic churches, such as the Notre Dame cathedral or the Nice basilica.

Restrictions imposed in connection with the alleged pandemic were arbitrary and disproportionate, for example, restaurants and shops were allowed to open, but public worship was still banned. The complete and long-lasting ban on public worship was finally questioned by the episcopate and the Council of State overruled the officials’ decision. France was one of the few European countries where the ban on public worship had to be lifted by a court ruling. The situation of converts is particularly difficult. Every year around 300 Muslims in France convert to Catholicism. They face acts of aggression by other members of the Muslim community and cannot count on any protection from the authorities.

In December 2020, seven priests of African descent received threatening letters with the words “Allah Akbar”. In October 2019, two young men interrupted Sunday Mass in Nancy by shouting the words “Allah Akbar.”

Profanations and arson attacks on churches have become a visible trend. The government of the state that owns all churches built before the entry into force of the 1905 Act does not provide protection for churches or Christian symbols. “The government’s failure to officially respond to the massive amount of hate crimes against Christians also exposes potential political bias against Christians, or at least some level of government ignorance,” the report writes.


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