Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

April 4, 2005

Flag Flap in France

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:40 pm

Sometimes, you just can’t make this stuff up. I would have thought this was an April Fools joke, but it’s April 4. I would have thought it was in The Onion, but it’s in Reuters.

French Flag Tribute to Pope Sparks Left-Wing Anger
Mon Apr 4, 2005 7:47 PM BST

By Jon Boyle

PARIS (Reuters) – Politicians in secular France squabbled over whether the government had been right to order flags lowered on public buildings in a sign of respect for Pope John Paul.

Socialist senator Jean-Luc Melenchon and Yves Contassot, a senior Green party member on the Paris City Council, said the government had abused its powers on Monday by ordering the official tribute to the Pope, who died on Saturday.

The Unsa union said the government was guilty of double standards having ordered schools to take part in the tribute to a religious leader after banning Muslim headscarves in state schools in a drive to keep them firmly secular.

“Let the Christians pay tribute to the head of their church, it’s a private matter,” Contassot told France Inter radio.

“Today, we have a government and a head of state who, clearly, for political reasons, are trying to take advantage of an issue that is a private matter,” he said.

Lowering of flags on all state buildings was “totally out of place and at the limit of legality.”

Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin defended the government’s move, saying the lowering of the flag was one of the “Republican customs” when a pope died.

“They have been applied at the occasion of the deaths of Pius XII, John XXIII and John Paul I,” the interior ministry said in a statement.

Millions of French are Roman Catholics, and there has been a public outpouring of grief over the Pope’s death.

“Millions of French” are grieving, but it’s “a private matter.” How can anything involving “millions” be private?

One Response to “Flag Flap in France”

  1. Gary Says:

    The French seems to have that tendency. Wasn’t it the French who totally went to a atheistic society a while back with the resulting chaos and immorality? Or, do they think, they know better than anyone else?

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