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“We ask Emmanuel Macron to preserve everyone’s freedom of worship, conscience and expression”

Evangelical Christians encourage the re-elected President of France to “build an authentically human society”. Protestants remind him that “the Republic is secular but French society is not”.

AUTOR 5/Evangelical_Focus PARIS 29 DE ABRIL DE 2022 09:35 h
A view of Paris, France. / Photo: [link]I. Bekkers[/link], Unsplash, CC0.

Christians in France have reacted to Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the Presidential election.



The incumbent head of the republic will have a second term in office after 59% voted for him in the second round of the election, in which far-right candidate Marine Le Pen was defeated after receiving 41% of the votes.



“In the face of a divided society, what we ask of President Emmanuel Macron's government is to show wisdom, a spirit of unity, acting in favour of peace and preserving everyone's freedom of worship, conscience and expression”, said the National Council of Evangelical Christians in France (CNEF), which represents 70% of Protestant churches in France and over 30 evangelical denominations.



The evangelical body which includes Baptists, Pentecostals, Brethren and other evangelical denominations, emphasised “that the Bible proposes a set of values conducive to the building of an authentically human society, in particular: the unalterable and absolute value of all human life, from its conception to its end, implying a demand for solidarity towards the most fragile”.



Evangelical Christians, the CNEF added, are committed to “pray for our country in this mandate and beyond, aware that we must now live and build together a society of peace and trust, and more than ever bear witness to the Good News that encourages us”.



 



“The Republic is secular, French society is not”



Thierry Le Gall a member of the CNEF working among politicians, told Evangelical Focus before the election that “freedom of religious expressions needs to be watched like ‘milk on the fire’” as recent laws targeting radical Islam have moved France “from a republican pact of tolerance to a policy of surveillance of religions by the State authorities”.



Similarly, the President of the Protestant Federation of France (which includes mainline historic Protestant churches) warned against the “temptation of a kind of public space neutralised at the confessional level”. In a column published after the second round of the election, François Clavairoly defended that “the Republic is secular, French society is not”, as he demanded “guarantees of a fraternity essential today for believing and non-believing citizens”.



Surveys suggest that Protestants (including evangelical Christians) supported Emmanuel Macron more than the rest of voters. Historian Sebastien Fath told Evangelical Focus he believed members of French evangelical churches were bearers of “hope” in a scenario of general discontentment and uncertainty.



 



Next elections around the corner



The victory of Emmanuel Macron does not necessarily mean he will lead France without opposition. In only weeks, the Parliamentary election will be held, which both the far-right and the far-left (Jean Luc Mélenchon's France Insoumise) are describing as a "third round".



The new French parliament after the 12 June election will define most of the policies applied in the country in the next five years.



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