Tag archives: France

France’s Pro-Marriage “Manif pour Tous”: A growing force

by Robert Morrison

May 28, 2013

With two more American states legalizing unmarriage, with the Boy Scouts organization adopting a wholly unworkable compromise, with media and political figures in America throwing up their hands and throwing in the towel, it would be easy to get discouraged over marriage.

But look to France. There, the amazing “Manif pour Tous” (Demonstration for All) is growing, not diminishing, in intensity. It is a movement largely composed of young people.

For the fourth time in a year, pro-marriage demonstrators hit the streets of Paris in the hundreds of thousands. They brought together Catholics and Evangelicals, Jews, Muslims, and some atheists for marriage. They even recruited gay Frenchmen who understand that “everyone needs a mother and father.”

One of the strongest arguments made by this Manif is that for the rights of children. Not only do they have a right to a mother and father, but they have a natural right not to be treated as commodities. Because of our “Anglo-Saxon” single-minded focus on rights, we in English-speaking countries have too often focused on contending rights of adults and only of adults.

The French are boldly speaking for children. They are audacious, even. They call the practice of paying poor women to bear the babies of rich men what it truly is—womb prostitution. They regard what we call “surrogacy” as a form of human trafficking. The French have outlawed it.

The year-old government of President Francois Hollande is in deep political trouble. He and his Socialists came in a wave of hope and change. They would address the limping French economy. They would fix France’s persistent unemployment problems.

Well, the French economy is still stricken. And President Hollande’s pushing through the National Assembly a radical new law to eliminate mothers and fathers, and to permit persons of the same sex to marry is seen by millions as a cruel betrayal of his campaign promises to get the country’s economy moving again.

The President of the Republic has seen his approval ratings sliding dangerously. But he has re-doubled his efforts to abolish marriage. He understands that it is by undermining the French family that the French people will become more dependent on the State. This is the goal of all Socialists.

In America, the Obama administration seeks to replace Mother and Father with Parent 1 and Parent 2. And Mr. Obama’s appointees in the Justice Department are providing a catechism for federal workers in how to think and how to speak about marriage. These workers cannot even remain silent. They must chorus their approval of same-sex couplings. Like crickets, they must chirp.

The great Russian writer, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, defied the tyranny of the old Soviet Union. He did not call on the Russian people to overthrow their Communist dictators with force, but he did say they cannot survive unless you “chirp.” They must think that the people actually approve of their despotism and thus, you must chirp like a cricket. Well, don’t CHIRP! That was the Nobel Prize-winning author’s advice to his Russian countrymen.

And when Solzhenitsyn wanted to tell the world the truth about Soviet tyranny, he wrote the Gulag Archipelago. In three massive volumes, he exposed Communism as “atheism with a knife at your child’s throat.” Solzhenitsyn recognized Paris as the intellectual center of the world. That’s why he launched the Gulag Archipelago in Paris.

Those books landed in the City of Light like missiles of truth. They had a massive impact in helping to demoralize the claims of the left.

And so, we, too, should look to Paris for inspiration in our fight. Our opponents here don’t use dogs and barbed wire. They don’t send us to prison, yet. (Although we at Family Research Council have been the targets of a terrorist bent on mass murder.) But they do use the Department of Justice to go after journalists and they do use the IRS to oppress conservatives.

We can speak up. We don’t have to CHIRP. And we can take inspiration from those young Frenchmen and women who are standing for the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God. They are demonstrating for the future of all—truly a Manif pour Tous.

The Manif pour Tous is happy to use revolutionary imagery. Our own TEA Party raises up “Dont Tread on Me” flags. The French raise up the tricolor and march wearing Liberty caps. They’re not talking violence, don’t worry. But they are speaking of removing weak-kneed politicians from office. They are planning to challenge those on the right who fail to stand for the deepest values of their own constituents. God bless them!

Throughout the French provinces—what is called La France Profonde—we see a movement arising. It is a gathering storm, not a spent force. The rulers in Paris may have to take note.

When the news first came to King Louis XVI of the storming of the Bastille, he asked: “It is a revolt?” His attendant answered: “No, Sire, it is a revolution.”

For too long in America, in Britain, in France, the elites have ignored the people. Now, we are seeing in this Manif pour Tous a peaceful revolution—a youthful and faithful revolution. It cannot come too soon. In all our countries, the movement to end marriage is an elite movement. But the people are being heard.

In France, the young people have taken to the streets. They are well-educated and articulate. They remind us that Alexis de Tocqueville, the French genius who wrote Democracy in America, was only twenty-five when he wrote his classic work.

Like Tocqueville, most of these young French are Christian. Their uprising can inspire the world to resist the Culture of Death. They are the future of hope.

French Resistance Determined, Undeterred

by Robert Morrison

April 29, 2013

Despite the action of the French Senate that redefined marriage last week, the advocates of true marriage remain determined and undeterred. Calling themselves La Manif pour Tous (Demonstration for All), these champions are taking their case to the French people.  They have scheduled another mass demonstration for Paris on May 26th. The international media—as always—is on the other side. Last week, they reported scattered clashes with police following the French legislature’s cave-in as a violent reaction.

France has a long history of street protests. And the French are well aware of the agents provocateurs—those who seek to use any scuffle as a pretext to bring violence to the streets. In this case, they could use such claims of violent protests to try to de-legitimize the genuinely popular uprising for marriage.

Part of this new movement is Les Veilleurs. These are French youth who gather nightly to share their love for literature, poetry, and music. These, in turn, have inspired Les Meres Veilleuses. These are mothers holding vigil for children’s rights to a mother and father and they are taking their case to the people. Les Veilleurs are described as a kind of “anti-Mai 68” movement.

This is very important. It was in May 1968, that the left staged a nationwide uprising that sought to bring down the government of President Charles de Gaulle. They very nearly succeeded. De Gaulle rallied the people of France to save the Fifth Republic—and in reality to save French democracy itself.

Still, those street radicals—especially Communist theorists and their sympathizers in the media—have had a huge influence in French life ever since. As in the U.S., street radicals took baths, donned coats and ties, and began their long march through the institutions.

Thus, we see soixante huitards (“sixty-eighters”) applauding this latest assault on the family and the future of France. They realize that the greatest barriers to Marxism have always been the family, the church, and small private firms. Thus, they need to crush all these mediating institutions. They seek to suppress resistance, using law and intimidation and their dominance in the media to achieve their results.

As in the U.S., with certain Republicans losing heart and throwing up their hands in fear or resignation, we saw some members of the conservative UMP opposition party cave in to pressures and vote for the end of marriage. There will be no opportunity for a French version of the TEA Party to make its will known in national legislative elections until 2017.

In the meantime, though, the Manif can look to the constitutional council to disallow some portions of the faux marriage law. And they can seek support in the 2014 municipal elections. Already, many mayors are announcing their refusal to bend to this latest assault on the families and future of France. They need our support (and our prayers).

Why should we Americans take such an interest in France? It was in 1979 that Pope John Paul II returned to his captive homeland. We saw then a million Poles crying out “We want God!” Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and presidential candidate Ronald Reagan paid careful attention to what the Poles were saying. Together with the Pope, they began the long-overdue process of liberation of hundreds of millions of people shackled to Communism behind the Iron Curtain.

The left also took note. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, they realize they cannot achieve Marxism through the secret police and the obvious oppression of a one-party dictatorship. But they believe they can achieve Socialism democratically by breaking down family, church, and family-owned businesses. This is the real objective of the left in America. It is what President Hollande seeks to do in France.

In France, however, President Hollande’s economic performance is yielding sparse results. His approval ratings have sunk to record lows in just one year. As the French economy stagnates, discontent rises.

We have everything to learn from the French, from their courage and conviction on the marriage issue. We should pay careful attention to how they frame this issue, too.

The French put children at the center of the debate. Everyone deserves a mother and a father, they say. It is a human right and a child’s greatest need.

The French have recognized that “womb prostitution” (called surrogacy here) is a form of exploitation of poor and vulnerable women. They have made this illegal in France. And one of their strongest arguments against ending marriage is that it will lead to more of this womb prostitution.

If the French resistance succeeds, it will give great inspiration to Americans. At our best, Americans were not ashamed to learn from such brilliant French thinkers as Montesquieu and Tocqueville. Today, we can take lessons from the Manif pour Tous!

Marchons, Concitoyens! Fellow citizens, let’s march!

Our French Connection

by Robert Morrison

October 19, 2012

Ever since I marched in the Yorktown Victory Day Parade (October 19th) years ago, I have had a strong appreciation of the fact that the French provided the essential aid to America that enabled us to become an independent nation. Helping the French whenever I can therefore seems only right to this American.

Following last summer’s visits with the Tocqueville Fellows at FRC, it was good to hear how one of our guests had gone home to France to take an enthusiastic part in the effort there to save marriage. Young Pierre Jovanovic is writing and speaking against plans to eliminate marriage in his country. The new Socialist government of President Francois Hollande is wasting no time in its drive to move France far to the Left. And abolishing marriage is part of their agenda. How gauche!

This week, we welcomed a small but distinguished delegation of French marriage advocates. Mme. Christine Boutin was a candidate for President of the Republic seven years ago. Today, she heads the Christian Democratic Party of France. Joining her were Franck Margain, a knowledgeable banker, and Mme. Beatrice Bourges, president of the Association for the Protection of Childhood.

Our FRC team led off with Dr. Patrick Fagan telling our visitors about the resources of MARRI, the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, which is one of Family Research Council’s most important mission areas. Irish-born Pat understands European culture better than most Americans and has deep wells of sympathy for the home of Christendom.

Pat showed the French how social science data supports the model of a married mother and father, preferably a couple that worships regularly, that unquestionably produces the best results for the health, education, and welfare of children.

Peter Sprigg directs FRC’s Center for Human Sexuality. He shared the research of reputable scholars that shows that the case for same-sex parenting has been much harder to demonstrate. That’s because, in part, that there are so few examples of children being raised by parents of the same sex, and because so many of the “studies” cited by our opponents in the marriage debate are flawed. Oftimes, these so-called studies are merely surveys of the gay parents themselves. They are hardly unbiased respondents. Or, they may suffer from volunteer bias, from the fact that the respondents answered ads in gay publications.

I spoke to our friends about my experiences on the Values Bus. This is a joint venture of Family Research Council and Heritage Foundation. Heritage is taking its case for reduced federal expenditures and lower taxes to the heartland. FRC speaks for hard-pressed families, for the right to life of the unborn, for the defense of marriage, and for our increasingly menaced religious freedom.

Faux-monnayeurs-counterfeiters. It’s a title I remembered vaguely from long-ago French literature classes, but it is the essence of my argument against counterfeiting marriage. (Ironically, the French novel of that name was one of the first gay-themed novels by Andre Gide. It’s one of the reasons I didn’t major in French.)

The key to understanding the fight over marriage is to understand that advocates for same-sex couplings being recognized as marriages do not seek merely to expand the numbers of happily married folks. They are seeking the end of marriage.

Peter Sprigg proved this by showing our guests the statement of a host of very influential left-wing scholars and activists titled: Beyond Same-Sex Marriage. Although the signatories don’t come right and say it, their goal is clear: polygamy, polyamory, polyandry. “Marriage” would be re-defined out of existence if these signers have their way.

Most menacingly, President Obama has named Chai Feldblum, Georgetown University Law Professor and lesbian activist, to the very powerful Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. From this strategic high position, Prof. Feldblum will be able to to assail marriage. What? You run a small business and you don’t want to give spousal benefits to a man, his wife, and his same-sex lover? You may find yourself in court.

I tell our French friends the good news: In every state where voters have been free to render their judgment, true marriage has been affirmed. This has been true in liberal, moderate, and conservative states.

It is especially significant here that black, Hispanic, and Asian voters usually provide the margin of victory in these state marriage referendums. I encourage the French to reach out to ethnic minorities in their country. Even with its large Muslim population-and the known approval that Islam gives to polygamy-it is doubtless the case that many of the women in these minority homes do not want polygamy brought to France. In fact, it is to escape many of these elements of sharia law that France’s immigrants first came to this European country.

Only half in jest, I suggest to our distinguished visitors that they might consider a Values Bus tour of the French countryside. It is well known that the provinces of France are more conservative than Paris is. Might it be possible to spark a resistance movement in French countryside for marriage? Let us pray.

My own time on the Values Bus is rapidly coming to a close. This weekend, we’re headed to Pennsylvania. After that, Virginia will be our next targeted state. What an honor it is to carry the FRC message to America’s heartland. And if—just if— there should be a Values Bus tour of France (“L’autobus de Valeurs?”), I would be the first to volunteer!

As I bade farewell to our distinguished visitors, I added one more argument:

We want there to be a France in a hundred years. Without true marriage, France herself will disappear. This fight is not for today alone, but for a vast future. Long live France-and long live the French.