Wednesday, March 30, 2011


SIX MAJOR RELIGIONS IN OPPOSITION - Christians, Jews, Muslims and Buddhists have united in opposition to the UMP’s debate on the separation of Church and State.  A declaration written by the Conférence des responsables de culte en France said that, while debate was usually a healthy sign, it questioned the wisdom of the governing UMP discussing it solely among their ranks.  Behind the declaration are France’s chief rabbi Gilles Bernheim, the heads of the Roman Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches of France, the president of the Conseil Français du Culte Musulman, Mohammed Moussaoui, and the head of the Buddhists’ union of France, Olivier Wang-Genh.  The Conférence des responsables de culte en France , established last November, asked the UMP not to add confusion during a difficult period, saying this was likely to lead to more stigmatization. 

It draws attention to different aspects of the relationship between the public, religion and the government.  It praises the principle of the separation of Church and State. “Laïcité is one of the pillars of our Republican contract, one of the supports of our democracy and a foundation for our wish to live together,” it said.  The UMP itself is split over the debate, which will also look at the role of Islam in France and is due to take place at a party conference on April 5.  Party members are divided on both their tactics to deal with the growing support for the Front National and the usefulness of the debate. 

Today, the leaders of the major religions criticized the debate on Islam and secularism in France, organized by the party of President Nicolas Sarkozy for next week, at the risk of stigmatizing the Muslim population during this period before the French presidential elections of 2012.  The secular state is a way of compromising religious and irreligious systems, but because of this citizens are generally becoming uninterested in spiritual advancement. In such a state, people cannot be happy, despite all economic development.

Nowadays there is propaganda everywhere, all over the world, for a secular state, a state interested only in mundane activities.  But if the citizens of the state are not educated in the above-mentioned good qualities (SB 7.11.8-12), how can there be happiness?  Therefore, without consideration of one’s belonging to a sectarian religion, whether Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist or any other sect, everyone should be taught to become truthful. ... There is no question of a secular state or an ecclesiastical state.  Unless one is educated in the above-mentioned thirty qualities, there cannot be any peace.   Everyone should become a devotee of the Lord, because by becoming a devotee of the Lord one automatically acquires the other qualities.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
Purport to Śrīmad Bhāgavatam - Canto 7: “The Science of God”
Chapter 11: “The Perfect Society: Four Social Classes”
Verses 8-12 - Bhaktivedanta VedaBase

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