(asked by Megan, from Brisbane, Australia)
On reading your blog I can tell that you are very disillusioned with religion (perhaps with some good reason) but I was wondering if you could tell me a little about the L’Église Réformée de France (Reformed Church of France) as my own distant ancestors were Huguenot refugees who left France after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (thanks to Louis XIV and his dragoon thugs. )
There is very little information about them on the Internet in English. I understand that they only make up about 2% of the population now but from what I gather, they are no longer hardline Calvinists like the original Huguenots but have taken on the much more moderate theology of Karl Barth. Do they have much of a presence in society and are they like most French or are they seen as a little bit apart?
As you mentioned, Louis XIV kicked most Protestants out of France and very few came back since. I consider that to be a good thing, as Protestants are obviously the most psycho of all among Christians, just see what happens in the US when you leave them unchecked and allow them to have any sort of political power. Now, where Louis XIV failed miserably is in kicking all of the other religions out of France but we all know that he was a Catholic Fundamentalist himself so that was not going to be about to happen at any time during his reign. The Revolution tried to correct that with some success, but unfortunately it didn’t finish the job, neither did the 1905 law about separation of Church and State.
Back to your question and on a more serious tone (I was just in the mood of getting some hate mail with the previous paragraph), today, partly because they constitute a negligible amount of the population (between 1 and 2%, not sure as we can’t have exact numbers on this topic), partly because in France most people respect the fact that religion should stay a private matter and should not spill over in the public sphere, Protestants in France are quite irrelevant.
Do they have much of a presence in society? Are they seen like most French or are they seen as a little bit apart?
Well, if I tell you that I don’t think I personally know any French Protestant -maybe I know some, I just don’t know that they are if I do- and that the only Protestant public figure that I can think of is former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin (and we all know that he started his political career as a Troskyist, so that tells us how religious he is), does this answer your questions?
If anybody (any French Protestant here?)