The European Evangelical Alliance (EEA) urges Europe’s Evangelical community to pray for the people of France as they choose a new President over 2 rounds, on 23rd April and 7th May. EEA is neutral when it comes to particular candidates and party politics but it is not at all neutral regarding the importance of good, just government and healthy societies. France has suffered several Islamic terrorism atrocities, inevitably leading to fear and also division. This is inevitably influencing how some politicians speak and voters think. There is an ongoing national debate about what it means to be French and how secular (“laique”) the country must be. Restrictions on visible religious signs have Muslims in particular focus but, of course, impact on other faiths. How much religion should be allowed in public is hotly debated. And freedom of expression on ethical issues like same sex marriage, surrogacy, euthanasia or abortion are also under attack. Will real religious pluralism and freedom of speech be protected or will there be further legal restrictions, in this already highly secularised society? In recent years, the country has also witnessed many politicians, both local and national, being called to account over corruption allegations. Two presidential candidates, Marine Le Pen and Francois Fillon, have accusations hanging over them. There is huge disillusionment among voters about politicians in general. How people choose vote in the presidential elections is likely to have an impact on the National Assembly legislative elections, to be held on June 11 and 18. The following prayer suggestions are inspired by ideas from the CNEF (National Council of Evangelicals in France). Let’s pray
- For peace – societal peace and no security crisis.
- For Christians to play a strong reconciliation role to overcome fear and divisions between communities, especially with those viewed as outsiders.
- For a genuine Christian perspective (including from the CNEF, see here ) on values and policy to be understood by the political campaign teams and media.
- For a genuine Christian perspective to be understood by voters and that Christians will speak positively to their friends and neighbours.
- Pray for a return of interest in democracy and the emergence of healthy political figures, concerned with the common good and related to the aspirations of the people.
- For truth to be both valued and revealed by the media and by the electorate.
- Laicity / secularism (separation between State and religions) is hugely important in France. Pray for the future President, government and Parliament to have an understanding of laicity which supports freedom of religion and expression for all.
- For a President who will serve the common good for all inhabitants and also enable France to play a positive European and global role for peace and freedom.