– Press Release –
National Freethought Federation
At Strasbourg, a successful public rally With National Freethought Federation and Union Rationaliste For Repeal of the Concordat of Alsace-Moselle And for Separation of Religions and State
It was a bold thing to do and we did it. At the heart of the land of the Concordat and the clerical law of exception, more than 200 secularists gathered on Place de Broglie to demand that, in the name of the unity of the Republic, secularism be implemented now in the 3 departments of Alsace-Moselle.
This landmark rally had been prepared by an intense awareness-raising campaign in Alsace and Moselle. Thousands of flyers have been handed out and communiqués have been published in the local press. The Free Thought has partially broken the wall of silence that has reigned for ages.
Under the chairmanship of Marc Blondel, President of the French National Federation of the Free Thought, Esther Bauer of the Bas-Rhin Free Thought, Albert Riba of the Atheists and Free Thinkers Union of Spain, Françoise Olivier-Utard on behalf of Union Rationaliste, Eric Perruchoud of the Swiss Association of the Free Thought, Pascal Piraux Belgian Free Thinker, Luis Véga of the Atheists and Free Thinkers of Madrid (5 times prosecuted for the “offence of blasphemy” by the Roman Catholic Church) and José Arias, President of the Moselle Free Thought took the floor, by turns.
They all condemned the concordats and the offence of blasphemy in Europe. There are 14 concordats on the continent. Far from being an exception, the concordats are spreading like leper and they are threatening secularism and freedom of conscience everywhere. Free Thinkers of Alsace-Moselle and France demand an end to this clerical anomaly and the extension of secularism in Education and the State all over the territory of the Republic.
They welcomed the landslide rejection of the referendum in Alsace that was foreshadowing the implementation of Act III of decentralization. Alsace is Republican; it should become secularist so that Equality should not be an empty phrase.
From all Europe against the concordats
Messages of support were read from the National Secular Society of Great-Britain (Keith Porteous Wood), from the Free Thought of Luxemburg (Edouard Kutten), from the Free Thought of Austria (Gerhard Engelmayer), from the Greek Free Thought (Stratos Kalaitzis), from the “Giordano Bruno” Italian Free Thought (Maria Montello), from DFW – the German Free Thought (Renate Bauer).
All messages were in the same direction: Separation of Religions and the State, in all countries and in every country, the end of the offence of blasphemy and the repeal of all concordats.
Marc Blondel, President of the French Free Thought, concluded this public rally and thanked all the participants from France and different countries. He greeted the impressive militant efforts by the Free Thinkers of Alsace-Moselle for the success of this landmark initiative.
Alsace-Moselle is meeting with its own History.
* * *
The European Coordination Bureau of Free Thought is Constituted
Following the public rally, representatives of the attending Free Thought organizations held a meeting. They decided to set up, regardless of their different international affiliations or absence of affiliation, a European Coordination Bureau of the Free Thought so as to launch joint actions for secularism, freedom of conscience and Separation of Religions and the State.
The following organizations have already agreed in principle with this creation: the Free Thought from France, the Free Thought from Greece, the Free Thought from Luxemburg, the Free Thought from Switzerland (so far Geneva), the Atheists and Free Thinkers Union of Spain, the National Secular Society from Britain and the Free Thinkers of Belgium (Brussels).
Two decisions were made:
- A declaration of intent and constitution will be written soon and sent to all the Free Thought organizations in Europe for ratification.
- A request to meet the President of the European Commission will be made in order to express our strong opposition to the joint statement of the European Union and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation claiming to prosecute the “offence of blasphemy” in Europe.
Indeed, at the initiative of the French Free Thought, 55 secularist and free thinkers’ organizations in Europe demand the cancellation of this joint statement which is a shame for freedom of conscience and secularism of the States.