Man and God in France

By Lehmann, Timothy | Policy Review, April-May 2005 | Go to article overview

Man and God in France


Lehmann, Timothy, Policy Review


NICOLAS SARKOZY. La Republique, les religions, l'esperance. EDITIONS DU CERF. 172 PAGES. [euro]17.

IN THIS LAST American election cycle, political observers noted a significant gap between the ways in which George W. Bush and John Kerry approached the delicate matter of politics and religion. Bush was comfortable proclaiming his faith as an integral, if not the most essential, aspect of his life. Kerry, on the other hand, was considerably more reticent. Much of his rhetoric seemed to suggest that American politics is simply a secular affair, in which all political claims derived from religious teaching are prima facie illegitimate, because values cannot or should not be imposed on others who do not share them. These two Americans are poles apart regarding the manner in which they discuss religion and politics, and their disparity highlights the increasing differences with which American conservatives and American liberals and most Europeans view the role of religion in public life.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Nicolas Sarkozy, formerly France's interior minister and minister of finance, who was recently overwhelmingly elected as leader of France's major center-right political party, is causing a stir with his singular understanding of this question. His new book, La Republique, les religions, l'esperance (The Republic, religions, and hope), is being touted as a quasi-revolutionary document that seeks to redefine relations between religion and politics in France. In it he unveils his "personal sentiments," the result of his experience in political life, condensed and revealed in a series of interviews. Most Americans, plagued either by a Francophilia that wants to enlist France's muscular military forces and diplomatic finesse in the war against terrorism, or a Francophobia that condemns France, its history, and all it has ever produced as a spineless and subversive menace beyond any hope of rapprochement, don't seem to be noticing. Few Americans even attempt to steer a via media toward a more measured (one hesitates to say "nuanced") understanding of the proper relationship between America and France, or to appreciate potential friends among the allegedly homogeneously oppositional French.

A protege of Jacques Chirac in the 1970s, Nicolas Sarkozy is an unabashedly ambitious politician who is currently Chirac's most feared rival, and is positioning himself to capture the French presidency in 2007. A deal was struck in early September 2004 between Chirac and Sarkozy that would allow Sarkozy to run for head of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), Chirac's moderate conservative party, if he promised to resign as minister of finance in November. Now Sarkozy is head of the UMP, a potential springboard to the presidency.

IT MIGHT SEEM strange that a former finance minister who managed the important though relatively prosaic job of trying to spur France's perennially flagging economy would now be in the national spotlight for raising the question of religion and politics in France. But as minister of the interior, Sarkozy has increased police presence in Muslim neighborhoods and worked energetically and optimistically with the recently formed French Council on the Muslim Religion (CFCM) and its Union of Islamic Organizations of France (UOIF) in the hope of dissuading Muslim leaders from embracing extremist politics and integrating them into democratic processes. By appealing to, and indeed clearly appreciating, religious believers in national life, "Sarko" seems to be breathing new life into demons long thought dead and fanning the flames of spirits that haven't yet been killed. France's elites are not taking kindly to his ideas: In an interview in L'Express, he was told that his book was "disturbing," and he was derided for his "offensive manner."

France's religious demons were supposed to have been exorcized with the enactment in 1905 of a law forbidding state funding of religion. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Man and God in France
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.