Friday, April 19, 2013

France: In Violent Anti-Gay Protests, Fascist Thugs Echo Slogan of Cardinal Vingt-Trois about Marriage Equality as Violence

Three days ago, the cardinal-archbishop of Paris, who is the outgoing head of the French bishops' conference, told his brother bishops that the French government is imposing marriage equality on the people of France by violence, and this state violence will be met with reactionary violence on the part of the French people (see also here).

And so guess who's now parroting Cardinal Vingt-Trois's words? As Geoffrey Livolsi reports for Libération yesterday, as homophobic acts and violent demonstrations against marriage equality break out in various places in France now, a member of a young fascist group in Paris that has just tangled with the police in one of these demonstrations shouted, "Notre violence répond à la violence d'Etat."

Our violence is a response to the violence of the state: a talking-point placed in the mouths of violent protestors of the fascist far-right in France by the head of the French bishops' conference! Catholic anti-gay ideology justifying fascist anti-gay ideology in precisely the same way that Catholic ideology has justified fascist violence at other critical points in European history, including the 1930s as fascist movements attained perilous power in a number of European nations while many Catholic leaders either remained shamefully silent or actually egged the fascist violence along. . . . 

We Catholics seem to learn little from our history, from those shameful periods in our history in which our hands become bloody with the blood of victims whose tormentors we've energized with our words, through our insistence on having things our way and refusing to listen to the voices of the victims of history.

As Geoffroy Clavel reports in a French Huffington Post article for which I have been unable to find an English translation, patrons of gay bars in both Lille and Bordeaux have just been attacked by thugs, and there have been skirmishes with the police in Paris at which protestors have thrown bottles and stones at the police. Violent demonstrations have also occurred in Lyon. Lucas Grindley provides a photo-essay of these stories for The Advocate.

As The Advocate article notes, members of the French parliament supporting marriage equality have been reporting that they're receiving hate-mail containing threats of violence. And the media are reporting this morning that the debate about the marriage bill in the lower house of the French parliament almost came to blows this morning, as members of the right-wing opposition party rushed the government benches and a scuffle ensued. As Clavel notes, French president François Hollande is calling the violence what it is--homophobic violence--and made a statement yesterday calling for an end to the turmoil.

As Clavel also points out, comedian-activist Frigide Barjot has said that the Catholic causes she claims to represent deplore violence and love gay folks, but it was Barjot who said, after the parliament cast its initial votes in favor of marriage equality, that if Hollande wants blood, he'll get blood. Which is why the gay man savagely attacked by fascist thugs in Paris recently, Wilfred de Bruijn, said that though Barjot herself and the bishop of Avignon weren't actually smashing the bones in his face in that incident, they were responsible for what happened to him.

Words have consequences. Barjot's menacing prediction of blood removes the mask from her "loving" Catholic movement that seeks to deny rights to a minority group while deploring violence against that minority group. The fact that real blood has now been shed and real human beings are having their faces smashed in by those energized by the "loving" words of Barjot and the Cardinal-Archbishop of Paris demonstrates that their words have real-life consequences: and that their claim to deplore violence even as they engage in the violent act of trying to block the human rights of a minority group is a resoundingly empty claim.

The AFP photo of Frigide Barjot is from's website.

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