par Foret, François
Référence Religion, state & society, 42, page (196-210)
Publication Publié, 2014-09
Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : What French members of the European Parliament (MEPs) believe and what they do as a result of these beliefs can be understood in comparison with what we know about MEPs from other member-states on the one hand, and about French national members of Parliament (MPs) and citizens on the other hand. French MEPs do not diverge much from MEPs of other nationalities in the way they deal with religion at the policy level. Significant French specificities remain regarding religion as a cultural and memory reference. The heritage of ‘laïcité’ leads to an emphasis on the separation between religion and politics and may be reactivated as a symbolic material to reassert French national identity in confrontation with other political traditions. Religious issues do not make for consensus and are still used as markers of ideological and party boundaries, between right and left and within each side, as they are a relatively costless resource to build a distinctive political profile. Beyond these distinctions, a ‘French way’ of handling religion is commonly acknowledged and ‘laïcité’ works as an encompassing and resilient framework. The European Parliament (EP) may offer a structure of opportunities and constraints to reformulate slightly the national narrative about religion, but it does not alter the beliefs and practices of French MEPs, who appear largely similar to French MPs and citizens to the extent that they are largely secularised and consider religion as a secondary purpose submitted to political rules and individual choice.