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France has youngest-ever prime minister, but it’s his policies that matter, say evangelicals

Gabriel Attal is 34 years old, openly gay and raised as an Orthodox Christian.

AUTOR 7/Joel_Forster,5/Evangelical_Focus PARIS 18 DE ENERO DE 2024 10:27 h
The new prime minister of France, Gabriel Attal. / Photo: [link]Gabriel Attal Facebook[/link].

France’s new prime minister has caught the attention of many because of his age: 34.



In a country where the president of the republic (currently Emmanuel Macron) makes and breaks the national government with some ease, the new leader is the youngest in the country’s history.



In what the national media describe as a meteoric political career, Gabriel Attal has accumulated experience in recent years as an advisor, government spokesman, and education minister. It was he who pushed through last year’s controversial ban in schools on abayas, a robe-like dress used by Muslim girls and women.







More popular than other French political heavyweights such as hard right leader Marine Le Pen, Attal has also made waves by becoming the first openly gay prime minister. With a Tunisian father and a mother with Russian roots, the new government leader was raised in the Orthodox Christian faith.



“To date, we cannot challenge its competence on the grounds of its youth”, Romain Choisnet, spokesman of the National Council of Evangelical Christians (CNEF) told Evangelical Focus. While one political rival spoke of Attal’s appointment with the expression: ‘Woe to the people whose princes are children’, the body representing evangelical Christians is more cautious, saying that “we have no data yet” on what Attal’s policies and leadership will look like.



 



The controversial figure of Darmanin



Despite the reshuffle, France’s new government retains one of its heavyweights, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin. Known for his hard line against radical Islam, he was also the one who publicly attacked the evangelical minority in 2021, saying that “evangelicals are a very important problem” and likening them to Islam for being people who “are not capable of putting on paper that the law of the Republic is superior to the law of God”.



Back then, several leaders of evangelical entities protested, saying evangelical churches should not be used as a weapon in the political debate around Islamism. A week later, the Interior Minister’s cabinet apologised.



“Darmanin once awkwardly said that evangelicals were dangerous, yes”, says Romain Choisnet of the CNEF. “He was referring to churches with dubious practices, which he shouldn’t have generalised”.



“But overall, the Interior Minister is not against religions”, he continued, and gives the example of a video message minister Darmanin sent to the CNEF on the occasion of the evangelical body's 10th anniversary.



Some in France even suspect that mentioning Evangelicals and other religious groups critically from time to time may even be a government strategy to avoid appearing in public as in constant battle against Islam alone.



[analysis]

[title]One more year[/title]

[photo][/photo]

[text]At Evangelical Focus, we have a sustainability challenge ahead. We invite you to join those across Europe and beyond who are committed with our mission. Together, we will ensure the continuity of Evangelical Focus and Protestante Digital (Spanish) in 2024.





Learn all about our #OneMoreYearEF campaign here (English).



[/text][/analysis]


 

 


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