The power struggle between religion and state continues in France, with Catholic clergymen and others inciting homophobic hatred and leading people in protest demonstrations calling for the oppression of same-sex couples by denying them equal rights. These religious leaders still don’t get the message: not everyone believes in their superstitious, bigoted beliefs. The leaders still feel they have the right to impose their views on everyone else, and to dictate the parameters of love and family.

They don’t, of course, and they collectively resemble little more now than  a slain dragon in its death throes. They have already lost their battle, even if they are still permitted to demonstrate.

But is a march like the one in France yesterday — with more than 100,000  people being led by Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the Catholic archbishop of Lyon, and Grand Mosque Rector Kamel Kabtane, according to Reuters — an exercise in democracy? That question came up for debate here yesterday in my post about France.

Personally, I don’t see it. I think they are exercises in hate, because they are trying to deny people equal rights. That alone should make the demonstrations illegal, in my view. But if further reason is needed, the potential for violence and gay-bashing — which happened in France last year during and as a result of clergy-led demonstrations — is enough for such demos to be deemed illegal.

I’m not saying that clergypeople should not be allowed to preach their hateful, superstitious views in church; that is their turf, after all. But the streets are public domain and should not be used as forums to call for the enforcement of their oppressive and exclusionary belief systems.

It is time for France to ban such exercises in hate. Keep it off the streets.

For discussion.