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11/26/2020

Covid19 in France: is "freedom of religion held hostage"?

Castex.jpgAmong French religious circles, many are currently debating about the way Jean Castex (French Prime Minister) and his government are dealing with Covid-19 restrictions. According to President Emmanuel Macron's last announcements, France will begin to ease its strict coronavirus restrictions this weekend, allowing "non-essential shops" to reopen.

French Supermarkets are already widely open, with no resctriction except respecting the mandatory safety precautions. French TGV and trains are also packed with people who share up to 4-5 hours together in a confined environment.

 

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11/19/2020

Diffamation and reply : French pastor Samuel Peterschmitt strikes back

déf.jpg50 years ago, French Evangelicals were still shy sideliners. Today, as they reach 1 million of believers, it is not the case anymore. They have somehow become "mainline", not within French global socieyty, but at least within French protestantism.

An example among many is the open way French world champion Olivier Giroud (who already scored 44 goals for the French football national team) speaks about his Evangelical faith in many mainstream media.

This new visibility of French Evangelicals explains also why they do not hesitate to engage in public debate when they feel wrongly accused. A recent example can be found with Pastor Samuel Peterschmitt, leader of one of the 6 megachurches of continental France (the "Porte Ouverte Chrétienne" in Mulhouse, East of France).

Last february, his church became the scapegoat of Covid19 propagation. Many diffamatory comments lead this church, and his pastor, to be targeted.

Pastor Samuel Peterschmitt did not hide. After having received substantial backing from various circles (including the mainstream weekly Paris Match), Samuel Peterschmitt replied on solid ground, deconstructing the diffamatory accusations through a book which has just been released. Written with a mainstream journalist (from the weekly Marianne), the title is "La déferlante" (the flood), ed. Première Partie, 2020.

11/12/2020

French documentaries on Billy Graham

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Billy Graham, "America's pastor", is a global figure. The example of France is revealing. Although France can't claim more than 3% of protestants (including 1 million of Evangelicals), Billy Graham has strongly impacted the country. 

This is why the French National TV Network "France 2" has devoted a very detailed documentary to Billy Graham. The first part has been released last sunday and can still be viewed for free here : 

Link

11/05/2020

Art of the steal: when it's time to return what belongs to Africa

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French museum are full of pieces inherited from Colonization.

Good news: President Macron (France)  and President Rajoelina (Madagascar) have agreed that a very precious royal item, belonging to the House of the last queen, Ranavalona III, would be given back to Madagascar today.

Crown surmounting the royal canopy of Queen Ranavalona III (raised as protestant), on display at the Musée de l’Armée de Paris,  is due to return to Antananarivo on November 5, 2020 for a simple loan before being definitively returned to Madagascar after the adoption of a law of exception by the French Parliament.

Having visited the Madagascar royal palace, I could not applaud more to this process of returning to Madagascar this cultural property, a symbol of Malagasy history.

Link

10/29/2020

Standing by Nice

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10/22/2020

Genders, Sexualities, and Spiritualities in African Pentecostalism

978-3-030-42396-4.jpgIn the last three decades, African Pentecostalism has emerged as one the most visible and profound aspects of religious change on the continent, and is a social force that straddles cultural, economic, and political spheres. Its conventional and selective literal interpretations of the Bible with respect to gender and sexualities are increasingly perceived as exhibiting a strong influence on many aspects of social and public institutions and their moral orientations.

This collection published in Chammah J. Kaunda, Genders, Sexualities, and Spiritualities in African Pentecostalism, Palgrave, 2020, features articles which examine sexualities and genders in African Pentecostalism using interdisciplinary methodological and theoretical approaches grounded within traditional African thought systems, with the goal of enabling a broader understanding of Pentecostalism and sexualities in Africa.

As usual in English-speaking synthesis, French-speaking Africa is rarely mentioned, except a chapter devoted to Congo.

Link.

10/15/2020

Religion and Neonationalism in Europe (2020)

10.5771_9783748905059_big.pngHow do religions contribute to contemporary nation-building processes ?

Thanks to Florian Höhne, Torsten Meireis (Ed.), this impressive 2020 book sheds new light on the complex relationships between religion and (neo)nationalism.

The contributions to this volume analyse the complex relations between religious traditions, groups and ideas on the one hand, and (neo-)nationalism on the other. They do so on a conceptual level as well as with regard to concrete contexts and countries. They shed light on these relations from historical, sociological, theological and ethical perspectives, and contribute to the discourse on neo-nationalism, populism and public theology. While the first part of the book situates religion and (neo-)nationalism in a globalised world, the second puts the concepts of neo-nationalism, populism, religion in context. The third part presents different case studies (particularly from European countries), and the final part concludes with ethical and political perspectives.

Please notice that this book includes a significant contribution from Philippe Portier (EPHE, former GSRL director),

Philippe Portier, "Neo-Nationalism and Religion in France" (p.255 - 272).

Link

10/08/2020

Sunday schools movement in France: read Anne Ruolt

Stephen Orchard, John H. Y. Briggs,Thomas E Bergler, Anne Ruolt, GSRL, sunday school, Protestantism, Evangelicalism, France, bookSunday schools were first set up in the 18th century in Protestant England to provide education to working children. Since then, the movement spread worldwide. Some very insightful researches have been conducted.

For England, let's mention Stephen Orchard, John H. Y. Briggs, The Sunday School Movement : Studies in the Growth and Decline of Sunday Schools, Londres, Paternoster, 2007.

For the United-States, see (among others) Bergler, Thomas E. The Juvenilization of American Christianity. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2012.  

The French Protestant landscape has been also impacted early on by the Sunday school movement. Thanks to  (picture), who conducted several researches on Education and Protestantism, a very complete synthesis is available: Anne Ruolt, L’École du Dimanche en France au XIXe siècle, pour croître en sagesse et en grâce, collection religion – sciences humaines, Paris, l’Harmattan, 2012.

This book would largely deserve a translation. Dr Anne Ruolt, who recently defended successfully her habilitation thesis to supervise research,  is currently part of the GSRL research team (Paris, France).

09/30/2020

Current debates within the "Black Church", USA: a needed book

719tyG6voyL.jpgIn USA, what we use to define as "Black theology" has emphasized the role of Christian faith in addressing racism and other forms of oppression, arguing that Jesus urged his disciples to seek the freedom of all peoples.

Meanwhile, the  so-called "Black church", even when focused on social concerns, has often emphasized personal piety rather than social protest. With the rising influence of white Evangelicalism, biblical fundamentalism, and the prosperity gospel, the divide has become even more pronounced.

In The Divided Mind of the Black Church (2020), Raphael G. Warnock, Senior Pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, the spiritual home of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., helps us to understand the current debates within Black Protestants (mostly Evangelicals) in USA.

Link.

09/24/2020

White Catholics for Trump (2020)

According to the 2020 French media, it seems that donald trump,joe biden,2020 us presidential electionsTrump's religious support only comes from White Evangelicals. That's wrong.

While it is not deniable that US white Evangelicals remain Trump's strongest religious ally (with an approval rate around 75%), let's not forget that a strong majority of US White Catholics do support Donald Trump too.

According to the last research released by the Pew Forum on the 15 of sept, 2020, 59% of US White Catholics plan to vote for Trump at the 2020 US presidential elections.

This strong White Catholic support for Trump would probably be even stronger if Joe Biden, Trump's Democrat opponent, was not himself a Catholic.

This reminds us that the battle Biden / Trump is certainly not a Catholic / Protestant battle.

The drawing line has to be placed elsewhere (the "value voter" parameter, and the Christian nationalism parameter).

Link.

09/17/2020

A prominent US Evangelical becomes Catholic

usa, mark galli, evangelicalism, catholicism, christianity today, ulf ekman, Douglas M. Beaumont , Francis BecwithHot news !

Mark Galli, highly respected figure of US evangelicalism, converts to Catholicism (link).

Until January 2020, Mark Galli edited the world's largest evangelical monthly, Christianity Today (with a circulation of 120,000 copies). Presbyterian, then Anglican, he eventually joined the Catholic Church in Rome.

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04/12/2020

Is Europe christian ?

ef.jpgAs Europe wrangles over questions of national identity, nativism and immigration, Olivier Roy interrogates the place of Christianity, foundation of Western identity. Do secularism and Islam really pose threats to the continent's 'Christian values'? What will be the fate of Christianity in Europe?

Whatever we may think of Olivier Roy's sometimes hasardeous prognosis on the so-called decline of radical islam, his books are always stimulating and this good one, translated by  Cynthia Schoch, is no exception.

Link.

10/30/2019

A major book on French religious minorities

9782227494855.jpgThis unprecedented work (1152p) has just been published in French (Bayard, 2019).

It brings together nearly 80 sociologists, ethnologists, anthropologists and historians.

It aims to provide a better understanding of the religious groups present in France and their recent development.
In a new approach, it offers a series of chapters each presenting in detail a religious group.

These religious "minorities" (including Catholicism) are grouped together by large denominational groups, which makes it possible to grasp the internal diversity of each of these.

Directed by Anne-Laure Zwilling, this remarkable synthesis should definitely be translated in English!

Link (in French)

01/01/2018

Happy new year ! Peace on Earth !

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02/25/2016

Amazing teaching tool: everything about JAPAN in 9 minutes

Lacking time ? Looking for a speedy teaching about Japanese History ?

There it is ! This excellent Youtube video will do the trick. Bill Wurtz surveys the Land of the Rising Sun's entire past during a colorful, funny 9-minute lecture. Budhism, Samuraïs, diplomatic history, rice culture, World wars I and II, Hiroshima bomb, post-war Economic miracle are all covered. Hopes some day French History may be covered with such speed and intelligence!

The 300.000 Evangelicals in Japan are not mentioned, though. For those who want to know about this sub-chapter of Japanese religious History, click here (link).

Here is the video:

02/24/2016

St Louis (USA): Jean ROUAULT's religious paintings revealed again

thumbRNS-PAINTEr-RELIGION022416b.jpgIn the middle of the XXth Century, French catholic painter Jean Rouault was received in the US as one of the major contemporary painters. Not anymore. Will an exhibition in St Louis reverse the trend?

From RNS : "ST. LOUIS (RNS) What can a nearly forgotten set of 58 masterful etchings by a man once called one of the great artists of the 20th century tell us about the state of religious art in America?

At a rare showing of “Miserere et Guerre” (“Mercy and War”), a bleak but compelling series by the idiosyncratic French modernist Georges Rouault, the pious and the curious will have a chance to judge for themselves".

To read more, click here (link)

12/20/2015

Pictures from Field work in DR Congo and Burkina Faso

africa, france, dr congo, kinshasa, ouagadougou, burkina faso, evangelicalsToo busy! This is the main reason why this blog has not been fed as expected in this year 2015. There is another reason however: my research has been directed more and more towards the French-speaking transnational territories between France and Africa. Here are some insights from my recent field studies in Congo DR and Burkina Faso (Ouagadougou):

Field in Congo DR (Kinshasa), Flickr Album here (link), september 2015

Field in Burkina Faso (Ouagadougou), Flickr Album here (link), nov-december 2015

12/14/2015

A "must-"read": the French Virtual Museum of Protestantism

logo.pngDid you know that Luther’s ideas began to spread in France from 1520 onwards. The authorities did their best to oppose them. From 1540, under Jean Calvin’s influence, a new Church took shape, but separate from the Roman Catholic Church.

To know more, just click here (link), to reach the French-based Virtual Museum of Protestantism, an excellent website dedicated to spread scholarly information about Protestantism, France and worldwide.

Many sections are carefully crafted in English, so English-speaking readers have no excuse missing them!

Link.

11/13/2015

PARIS, 13th of November, 2015

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11/01/2015

New Christianities explored in Afrique Contemporaine

E_AFCO_252_H310.jpgEdited by the Agence Française de Développement (French Development Agency), the quarterly journal Afrique Contemporaine makes available the analyses and opinions of researchers and specialists on the evolution of the African continent with a view towards sustainable development.

 

It has been an honour for me to lead a special issue, with my colleague Dr Cedric Mayrargue, about NEW CHRISTIANITIES in Africa (mostly Evangelicals).

 

This edition (n°252) has been released in July 2015, whith a rich content (related to Congo, South Sudan, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia etc.).

Link.

04/22/2015

Evangelical churches in France: facts, figures & home truths (D. Buick)

paris.jpgAccording to a CNEF report published earlier this year, there are 1,600 more Evangelical churches in France than in 1970, according to the document, for a current total of over 2,000.

The CNEF survey also details progress in national coverage: 87 per cent of the country is now said to be within half an hour's drive of an evangelical congregation. Pastor David Buick's paper emphasizes the fact that there's a growing open-mindedness, too: many evangelical churches that aren't CNEF affiliates are included in the statistics.

To know more, read the rest of David Buick's paper here, written through pastor's lenses (link).

01/12/2015

Freedom of speech

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01/01/2015

HAPPY NEW YEAR !

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11/12/2014

Eurojihad Patterns of Islamist Radicalization and Terrorism in Europe

9781107437203.jpgEurojihad examines the sources of radicalization in Muslim communities in Europe and the responses of European governments and societies. In an effort to understand the scope and dynamics of Islamist extremism and terrorism in Europe, this book takes into account recent developments, in particular the emergence of Syria as a major destination of European jihadists. Angel Rabasa and Cheryl Benard describe the history, methods, and evolution of jihadist networks in Europe (including FRANCE) with particular nuance, providing a useful primer for the layperson and a sophisticated analysis for the expert.

Read more here (link to the publisher)

09/04/2014

Religiously Oriented Parties and Democratization

religion, secularization, politics, political parties, religion and politics, routledge, italy, ireland, lucas ozzanoTo the surprise of both academics and policy-makers, religion has not been relegated entirely to the private sphere; quite the contrary. Over the last few decades, religion has begun to play a significant role in public affairs and, in many cases, directly in political systems. 

Edited by Lucas Ozzano, Religiously Oriented Parties and Democratization (Routledge, 2014) analyses in detail how religion and religious precepts inform the ideology, strategies and electoral behaviour of political parties. Working with an original and innovative typology of religiously oriented political parties, the book examines cases from different regions of the world and different religious traditions to highlight the significance of religion for party politics. Through cases studies from Italy and Ireland, Europe is not forgotten. Link

08/28/2014

A major comparative book on immigrant faith (Phillip Connor)

Canada, USA, Europe, immigration, migrants, immigrant faith, new york university press, book, religionIt is more than likely that the majority of religious attenders in the Paris area today do come from an immigrant background. Immigrant faith? It's not a footnote. It is a major aspect of contemporary religion!

Thanks to Phillip Connor, Immigrant Faith (NYU Press, 2014) is providing new comparative insights on this major topic.

It examines trends and patterns relating to religion in the lives of immigrants. The volume moves beyond specific studies of particular faiths in particular immigrant destinations to present the religious lives of immigrants in the United States, Canada, and Europe on a broad scale.

Religion is not merely one aspect among many in immigrant lives. Immigrant faith affects daily interactions, shapes the future of immigrants in their destination society, and influences society beyond the immigrants themselves. In other words, to understand immigrants, one must understand their faith.

Read more here (link).

07/22/2014

France: anti-semitic violence at pro-Palestinian rally

france, religion, islam, judaism in france, antisemitism, sarcellesIn the first three months of 2014, Reuters reminds us that more Jews left France for Israel than at any other time since the Jewish state was created in 1948, citing economic hardships in France's stagnating economy but also rising anti-Semitism as a factor.

The riots in Sarcelles (northern subburbs of Paris) on the 20th of July, 2014 won't curb the trend: jewish shops and a synagogue were deliberatly targeted by Muslim protesters who were supposed to demonstrate for Palestine. The French government reacted very strongly, as Reuters reports here (link).

 

07/02/2014

European Court of Human Rights upholds French full veil ban

_75960425_niqabindexgetty.jpgThe European Court of Human Rights has just upheld a ban by France on wearing the Muslim full-face veil - the niqab. A case was brought by a 24-year-old French woman, who argued that the ban on wearing the veil in public violated her freedom of religion and expression.

The court ruled that the ban "was not expressly based on the religious connotation of the clothing in question but solely on the fact that it concealed the face". The Strasbourg judges' decision is final - there is no appeal against it. From BBC Europe (more here, link).

05/30/2014

French Catholics more and more open to far-right National Front

france,catholicism,catholic church,far-right,national front,europe,european elections,religion and politicsIn last sunday's European elections, far-right National Front (FN) party has rattled the French political establishment by making very significant gains in local elections.

France's National Front stormed to victory: 25% (24 seats); Classical right UMP 21%; President Hollande's Socialists got a poor third with less than 14%.

For observers of the French religious scene, these elections have also signed the end of a lasting feature: French Catholic's tendency to boost Europe and to reject far-right National Front.

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05/27/2014

Muslims and Jews in France: History of a Conflict (2014)

 
k10137.gifMaud Mandel is associate professor of Judaic studies and history and director of the Program in Judaic Studies at Brown University. 

Her book traces the global, national, and local origins of the conflict between Muslims and Jews in France, challenging the belief that rising anti-Semitism in France is rooted solely in the unfolding crisis in Israel and Palestine. Maud Mandel shows how the conflict in fact emerged from processes internal to French society itself even as it was shaped by affairs elsewhere, particularly in North Africa during the era of decolonization.

To read more, click here (link).