Le retour de la religion ?

BUDAPEST – Voici une différence convenue : les Etats Unis sont religieux et l’Europe est laïque. Pourtant, on peut dire que ce cliché semblerait s’inverser depuis peu : en effet le fait  religieux a joué un rôle assez mineur lors des dernières élections américaines alors que d’importantes controverses autour de la religion ont émergé dans nombre de pays européens, démontrant ainsi que les questions relatives à la foi se retrouvent au centre de la politique européenne.

Prenons le cas du Président Nicolas Sarkozy. Il a déclaré à de nombreuses reprises que son pays avait besoin de repenser la traditionnelle et rigoureuse séparation entre l’église et l’état, appelée laïcité (en français dans le texte original, ndt) . Selon l’aveu même de ce ‘catholique par culture’ et deux fois divorcé, la France devrait développer une “laïcité positive.” Par contraste à une laïcité négative , qui selon Sarkozy “exclue et dénonce,” la laïcité positive invite au “dialogue” et reconnaît les bénéfices sociaux de la religion.

Dans un discours très critiqué prononcé à Rome fin 2007, Sarkozy a reconnu les racines chrétiennes de la France, “fille aînée de l’Eglise”; il a aussi fait l’éloge de l’Islam pendant sa visite en Arabie Saoudite. Il désire que des subventions soient accordées aux organisations religieuses – une proposition qui agace nombre de ses critiques laïques.

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