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France: “We have nothing to do with the right-wing US nationalist evangelicals”

The French Protestant Federation is worried about media portrayals linking evangelicals in the country to supporters of Trump or Bolsonaro.

AUTOR 5/Evangelical_Focus PARIS 03 DE ABRIL DE 2023 15:34 h
The documentary series on evangelicals and power is available on th website of the French broadcaster ARTE. / Screenshot: [link]Arte France[/link].

The French Protestant Federation (FPF in French) has responded to the content of a series of documentaries produced by the broadcaster ARTE, titled “Evangelicals conquering the world”.

On the channel’s website, the description of the French-US co-production, reads: “From the Cold War to the present day, the spread of evangelicalism has fostered the emergence of Christian fundamentalism in many countries”.

The series, which interviews both external analysts and evangelical leaders, looks at “the financial, political and media workings of a religious ideology intent on expanding its empire over people’s minds”.


Clarification needed

The French Protestant Federation praised the “high quality” of the documentary project, which is “very well documented” and useful to “understand the complexity and diversity of the evangelical world”.

But FPF’s chair Christian Krieger said it was important to understand that “French evangelicals have nothing to do with the right-wing nationalist evangelicals of the United States”.

What is “problematic” about the ARTE series, says the FPF in a statement, is the brief summary of French evangelicalism at the end of one of the episodes. The FPF sees “a bias that creates a shocking amalgam between nationalist American evangelicalism and French evangelicals”.

The FPF laments that “all evangelicals, and in particular French evangelicals, should be associated with excesses” such as the assault on the Capitol on the Capitol in Washington D.C. in January 2022.


An episode to explore French evangelicalism?

A change to the title of the series would be a good idea, the FPF suggested.

Furthermore, the Federation is ready to offer whatever help needed to make an additional episode about the “reality of the French evangelical world and thus complete this documentary series which will be a milestone”.

These churches, “at the heart of a Protestantism in full mutation, deserve to be better known” so that they are not unjustly connected to “certain expressions of this current in the United States and in Brazil”.

Krieger confirmed that “no response” had been received from ARTE concerning these proposals.


  [title] French evangelicals and stereotypes[/title]


It is not the first time that a representative organisation such as the FPF or the National Council of Evangelicals in France (CNEF) asks to avoid stereotyping French evangelical churches.

In 2021, French Interior Gérald Darmanin apologised after describing evangelical churches as a “very important problem”.

Around the same time, Citizen’s Minister Marlène Schiappa said on television that “there are more and more families who are influenced by evangelical trends from the United States, which ask, as in the United States, for virginity certificates”.

In the early weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic, French evangelicals also lamented the “scapegoating” they suffered in media and politics after an event in a large evangelical church led to the infection of many attendants.

There are at 745,000 evangelical Christians in France, one of the fastest growing faith groups in Western Europe.







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