Sarkozy on Secularity

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France rejected calls for secular values to be enshrined in his country’s constitution and urged religious leaders to do more to spread their message in the country. “A secular society is one which has decided to separate churches from the state, so the state doesn’t have to account for its choices to churches, and churches don’t depend on the state to live and organize—this is secularity, a secular republic,” he told religious leaders at a traditional New Year meeting on Jan. 25. “But this doesn’t mean churches, respecting the law, are forbidden from speaking. Nor does it mean your words shouldn’t go beyond the walls of your places of worship. That would be a strange idea of democracy: Everyone has a right to speak, except you.” He said it would be a “strange schizophrenia” to preserve France’s religious heritage while insisting religions had “nothing more to say, offer and impart.”

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