An introduction to the French National Freethought organization (Fédération Nationale de Libre Pensée, FNLP)
Plunging its roots into Ancient Greece (Plato), through the Middle Ages (Villon), then Renaissance (Rabelais), triumphing with the Enlightenment of the 18th century and the French revolution, the Freethought has been the work of all those who refused revealed truths, imposed by authorities, and who once dared to stand up and say no to obscurantism and oppression.
A great period in this history took place in the Reformation, at the beginning of the 16th century. The Reformation was altogether a social rebellion in Wurtemberg and a rebellion against dogmas from Rome to Geneva. Many religious sects set up then and among them those of free enquiry which did not acknowledge any revealed religion. Erasmus was the purest figure.
Founded in 1847 by the meeting of conscious militants from the dawning republican and labor movement, who aimed at secularism for School and State, and the intransigent struggle against religious oppression, the Freethought included in its ranks the most famous personalities of the 19th and 20th centuries. François-Vincent Raspail, Auguste Blanqui, Victor Hugo, Littré, Paul Bert, Fredinand Buisson, Aristide Briand, Clémenceau, Emile Zola, Romain Rolland, Victor Basch, Edouard Herriot, Anatole France, Jean Jaurès,Bertrand Russel, Jean Rostand were among its members.
The Freethought rests on four basic principles that whole generations of free thinkers have implemented:
- It is anti-clerical, for it refuses any meddling of religions in secular society and in republican institutions. It campaign for a strict implement of the December 9th , 1905 Law of separation of Church and State which is the result of Free Thinkers’ campaign. Freethought stands for an established secularism.
- It is anti-religious, for it regards religions as one of the main sources of oppression and obscurantism for mankind. It considers Man must conquer his happiness when he is alive and not in an extra-terrestrial pseudo-paradise. It refuses any revealed truth, challenges any dogma and claims a complete liberty of thought.
- It is anti-militarist, for it refuses that peoples slaughter each other for interests which are not theirs. Claiming unilateral disarmament, it is internationalist, because it puts above all the peoples’ interests. Pacifist, the Freethought is a member of the Free Forces of Peace.
- It is anti-capitalist, for it refuses any economic exploitation which, like political and religious oppression, only aims at submitting individuals to the detriment of their legitimate rights. Social, it campaigns for the complete emancipation of individuals.
Free Thinkers are free individuals, that’s why, in joining the Freethought, they commit themselves not to take parts in religious ceremonies for themselves and for their under age children and they have secular funerals.
Considering that republican institutions must regain strength and vigor, freethinkers demand:
- The priest in his church, the schoolmaster at school!
- No public funds to private schools!
- Repeal all anti-secular laws!
- Repeal the exceptional clerical status of Alsace - Moselle!
- Back to a strict implementation of the 1905 Law of separation of Church and State
The Freethought calls on all citizens who acknowledge those principles to join its ranks in order to work for the political, social and cultural emancipation of Mankind.
Join the Freethought!