Local Council in Broue Orders Removal of Cross at Cemetery

Country: France

Date of incident: August 30, 2012

The City of Broue ordered the removal of a cross at the entrance to the city cemetery at the instigation of a counsellor, saying that "the cemetery is a public building; there should be no religious symbols." This was done "in the name of tolerance."

According to the reporting of Echo Republican Philippe Masson, Mayor of the City (Radical Party valoisien) was informed by Marie-Arth Scheffer, Councillor of the opposition, of the presence of a metal cross placed on the portal of the new cemetery. She stated, "As the cemetery is public property, there may not be any religious symbols." Taking into account this remark, Philippe Masson wrote to the legal department of the Association of Mayors. The department replied that, according to Article 28 of the 1905 law on the separation of church and state, "it is forbidden for to raise or affix a religious symbol on public buildings or any public places, except for buildings used for worship or burial places within cemeteries. We deduce from this judgment that the mayor must ensure that no public building or location shows religious signs, unless they have been affixed before 1905. In this case, it seems that the cemetery was built after the law of 1905. Therefore the municipality is required to remove the religious symbol." Municipal workers have therefore removed the cross during the summer. But the case has not been closed so far. In August, the mayor received a letter from Father Henry Didier protesting against the removal of the cross. Since then a petition “demanding respect for Christian signs of faith and tolerance” passes through town. Sources: "christianophobie.fr" http://www.christianophobie.fr/breves/la-laicite-a-la-francaise-en-marche-la-croix-dun-cimetiere-sciee-en-eure-et-loir