Skip to Content

'Santons' in a nativity scene. Photo supplied

French state goes to court to take down nativity scene

The conservative, anti-immigration mayor of a French town is celebrating Christmas with a nativity scene, but the subprefect has announced that a summary charge will be filed in the administrative court of Montpellier against him.

Published: December 5, 2018, 6:41 am

    Read more

    Béziers

    Robert Ménard has once again set up a Biblical nativity scene in the town hall of Béziers and thus the legal battle around the crib of Béziers will resume.

    Ménard ordered the manger display in the courtyard of the town hall of his city and, according to regional daily Midi Libre, the subprefect is taking him to court, claiming that the installation at the city council does not respect the law of 1905 on the separation of the Church and the State.

    In the regional daily, Christian Pouget demanded “the immediate removal of the crib”. According to the subprefect, “in the case of the Christmas festivities, there are thirty-six thousand places where he could, without any difficulty, put the crib. He chose to do it in town hall. It is a deliberate desire to trample on the 1905 law”. Adding that it was “for the judge to decide,” the subprefect said that Ménard did not install the manger at the town hall “inadvertently”.

    It is interesting to note that Ménard was elected, while the subprefect has no such legitimacy. He is a political appointment, imposing his will on the inhabitants.

    The controversy was started in 2014, when Ménard installed a manger at the town hall. The Administrative Court of Appeal of Marseille then annulled in April 2017 a decision of the administrative court of Montpellier which had validated the decision of Ménard to install a manger at the city hall.

    The Conseil d’Etat estimated in November 2017 that nativity scenes should be banned in public spaces, “unless there are particular circumstances that show that this installation is of a cultural, artistic or festive nature”.

    The small figurines in a Nativity scene, known as Santons [little saints] in the Provençal dialect, represent a industry in the south of France.

    Usually hand-painted, the terracotta figurines represent various characters from the life of a Provençal village, together with biblical characters.

    Mary, Joseph, the donkey and the ox, the three Wise Men intermingle with typical Provençal village characters like the town crier, the poacher, an elderly couple Grasset and Grasseto, and the washerwoman.

    Santons are produced in workshops around in Provence but the most famous and specialised sellers are found at the Santons Fair in Marseille and Aix-en-Provence. Initially set up on the first Sunday of Advent, static Nativity scenes usually remain on display in France until February.

    [mashshare]

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Europe

    Macron loudly booed at Bastille Day parade

    ParisDuring the the Bastille Day military parade in France, President Emmanuel Macron was loudly booed as he was coming down the Champs-Élysées aboard a military command car.

    Génération Identitaire members risk imprisonment

    GapThree members of the movement were summoned by the French criminal court of Gap, Thursday, July 11, after an anti-immigrantion action organised in the spring of 2018, on the Franco-Italian border.

    German intel classify Identitarians as ‘right-wing extremist’

    The German domestic intelligence service, known as the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, has classified the Identitarian Movement (IB) as "right-wing extremist".

    Number of British Christians at a record low

    LondonA survey to gauge British Social Attitudes (BSA) has revealed that the number of Christian believers in the country are at a record low.

    Hungary highlights weight of Visegrad and Baltic voters against immigration

    BudapestHungarian cabinet chief Antal Rogan told public radio on Sunday that the European Commission needs a leader who respected countries in Central Europe. Rogan was interviewed on Kossuth Radio.

    French police station attacked by youths shouting ‘Allah Akbar’

    A police station in the Eure was attacked by youths shouting "Allah Akbar".

    French aid workers refuse to hand over list of people in emergency accommodation

    Forty French aid associations called on the government to "give up" the measure requiring homeless shelters to send lists of refugees and asylum seekers to the authorities.

    Trouble in Tbilisi

    TsibilisiSince June 20, protests have swept Georgia. The unannounced start of the protests was done as a provocation. The consequences however, are utterly painful, especially for the average citizen of Georgia.

    Dutch parliament adopts motion against ‘racially-based land expropriation in South Africa’

    The Dutch parliament or Tweede Kamer at The Hague, has become the first elected body in Europe to express its opposition to the policy of "expropriation without compensation" adopted by South Africa's ANC regime against white Afrikaner farmers.

    Salvini furious at release of law-breaking Sea Watch 3 captain

    RomeItalian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini on Wednesday expressed great anger after Sea-Watch 3 skipper Carola Rackete was released from house arrest late on Tuesday.

    Go to archive