Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Frenchies Fry Their Liberties

First there is the case of poor Bridget Bardot, here reported by an Algerian newspaper in an interesting and notably unsympathetic way. What would PETA say?

Next there is this odd case of the annulment of a Muslim couple where the groom was, apparently, surprised and disgruntled about the non-virginity of his bride. A French court granted the annulment on the grounds that it was a breach of contract in this particular kind of (i.e., Muslim) marriage.

But in treating the case as a breach of contract, the ruling was decried by critics who said it undermined decades of progress in women’s rights. Marriage, they said, was reduced to the status of a commercial transaction in which women could be discarded by husbands claiming to have discovered hidden defects in them.

The court decision "is a real fatwa against the emancipation and liberty of women. We are returning to the past," said Urban Affairs Minister Fadela Amara, the daughter of immigrants from Muslim North Africa, using the Arabic term for a religious decree.

Interesting . . . but there’s more:
"Today, the judicial system of a modern country cannot hold to these savage traditions, completely inhuman for the young woman," said the rector of the Paris Mosque, Dalil Boubakeur.

He likened the court decision to "equating marriage with a commercial transaction."

Like some others, Boubakeur, a moderate, voiced fears that Muslim fundamentalists would seek to profit from the Lille ruling "as they have done with the veil. ... Fundamentalists use (head scarves) like their flag."

"We ask Muslims to live in their era," he said.

One hardly knows how to begin to unpack all of that . . . "Savage" traditions? I thought we were not allowed to pass judgments or use words like that. Bardot found out what happens when you do that. "Commercial transaction"? I’m confused. I thought secular liberals wanted marriage to be reduced to a commercial transaction so as to keep religion and morals out of it. But now we see that treating it as a "commercial transaction" may invite some of the more undesirable aspects of some religions right back in . . . It’s a tough spot for these guys and I feel for them. Relativism is a tricky master. Ahhh . . . but I see now. It all comes down to the "live in your era" argument. Get with the times and so forth . . . But here the trouble is that it begins to be pretty clear that history does not "progress" in quite the straight line they had been willing to hope it would. Everything old is new again and, this time, they meet the argument disarmed.

Discussions - 8 Comments

Don't be too quick to sympathize with Bardot. Sure, she has ripped on modern French gays a bit and has spewed some bile towards Muslim immigrants (always a hit here at NLT), but it also seems that a lot of that anti-Muslim sentiment stems from her distaste for their sheep-slaughtering rituals, which of course is an aspect of her animal rights activism.

Hence the reference to PETA . . . and my noticing of what happens to liberals when their dreams and their theories collide. I still feel sorry for Bardot though--to say nothing of the sheep. I don't think one has to believe that sheep have rights (unless of course, the sheep in question are modern liberal humans) in order to notice that there's probably something distasteful and less than civilized in their public and ritualistic slaughter. And, more important, I think the woman ought to be able to say whatever she wants (however stupid or offensive in the eyes of certain groups) and not expect to be charged with a crime and pay a hefty fine for her opinions.

Why not consider the possibility that she actually loves her country, and she's appalled by the impact upon fair France of radical immigration policies.

Again and again she's referred to France itself, and not lesser concerns such as those of PETA for instance. Doesn't that suggest that her primary concern is for France?

Why would that Muslim woman be forced to remain married in the circumstances? I don't really get it. I get the legal aspect of breach of contract, but not why French feminists would insist that the woman stay in the marriage, which sounds like it would be a real misery. Wasn't the ruling an act of mercy?

I like an implication in Dan's point, that France could be France, with French traditions and laws. That a miserable Muslim marriage can only be ended under breach of contract law is an indication of an unhappy cultural situation.

That free speech is being denied, both in France and in Canada, is an indication of how much influence Islam already has. At least Bardot is only losing money. In Algeria, might she lose her life?

She's losing more than money Kate.

Bridget Bardot is on a cross.

And most likely all because she loves her country. She's dying inside watching France change all around her, and change into a violent world, where rape and honour killing is commonplace, where whole areas of her country are insulated from French laws, French culture, the French language and French ways. And it's all happening right before her very eyes. It's without historic precedent. And how few raise their voice against this patricide. It's left to one who was formerly Marianne, the French icon for beauty, to stand up in defense of France itself.

Oh she's on a cross.

And rest assured she knows herself unsuited and unprepared for her task. She knows that others, far more educated than she, should be the ones waging that battle, but it's left to her, a starlet. A Hollywood starlet, and a bombshell at that.

It reads like a scene from that tragicomedy, The Camp of the Saints.

"The Elder daughter of the Church," who once defended Christendom itself, with the sword, and the pen, ----------------------------------------- now defended by an aging starlet.

The french have some sayings for such happenings: C'est la vie and Que sera sera. Interestingly enough many muslims believe that all that happens is the will of Allah. Peut-etre? Le progress c'est toujour come si come sa.

If only cultures mixed as easily and amusingly as languages.

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