Religious Installations in French City Halls: A Christmas Crib Story

Christmas, in certain circumstances, has its place in the Republic. Judges have agreed in a plenary session reviewing two different Court of Appeal cases (courtyard of Melun’s town hall and hall of the departmental council of Vendée) that a Christmas crib in a public building doesn’t a priori represent a threat to secularism. In fact, the installation is legal, says the Conseil d’Etat, provided that particular circumstances give it « a cultural, artistic or festive character ». The decision is questionable for two main reasons: its foundation is doubtful, and its outcome unsatisfactory.

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