Mourning Bastille Day

"French radicals inspired by secular, Enlightenment philosophy, wanted to expunge all religious influence and replace it with 'reason.' This ideal was exemplified at Notre Dame, where revolutionaries removed Christian symbols and replaced them with 'Goddesses of Reason'....All clergy were ordered to declare allegiance to the state rather than the church." - Breakpoint

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Steve Davis's picture

The article betrays a shallow understanding of French history and the 1789 French Revolution. The excesses of the Terror took place a few years later (Robespierre, etc.) and indeed did result in massacres (although the guillotine was viewed as a more merciful way to die than previous measures). Most Protestants welcomed the Revolution in its attempt to overthrow the union of the throne and the altar. Protestant Huguenots, who sought freedom of conscience, had been massacred for decades by the Roman Church and the monarchy which ruled by "divine right." Protestants had received toleration in 1598 with the Edict of Nantes under Protestant-turned Catholic Henry IV then persecuted again when Louis XIV revoked the Edict in 1685. In 1787 Protestants again welcomed an act of toleration. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen in 1789 borrowed heavily from the Virginia Constitution of 1776. Article 10 of the Declaration  stated: "No one shall be disquieted on account of his opinions, including his religious views, provided their manifestation does not disturb the public order established by law." Many Enlightenment thinkers were deists who opposed the Catholic Church's monopoly on education and its religious coercion. Their opposition was more toward Christendom than Christianity. As for bloodbaths, they were carried out by advocates of religion and reason. Yes, reason did seek to replace religion, but a corrupt religion which needed to be replaced. The French Revolution was not merely an event but a period of 10 years before the rise of Napoleon and his 1801 Concordat with Rome. Was the Revolution good or bad? It was both! But it made a huge contribution to freedom of conscience, for believers, for atheists, for agnostics who are not beholden to a State or State Church.

Ron Bean's picture

I appreciate  Steve Davis' input. Part of the confusion arises from assuming that Roman Catholicism and Biblical Christianity are the same. The RCC is a counterfeit of Christianity. Like a bogus twenty dollar bill it has "20" in the corners and The Treasury Building on the back. (Made you look!)

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Jeff Howell's picture

I didn't look ... I never have a $20 Wink