More violence in Paris as French anti-gay right co-opted by extremists, supremacists

Yet another anti-gay march in Paris, organized by the Catholic Church, the religious right, and France’s opposition conservative party UMP, has gone terribly violent, as the French anti-gay movement becomes increasingly taken over by white supremacists, and other violent far-right extremists.

The AP documents yesterday’s violence in these vivid photos.

France recently legalized gay marriages, as part of a campaign promise made by French President François Hollande. The first marriage of a gay couple will take place this coming Wednesday.

The increasing violence at the ongoing anti-gay protests are more than just an embarrassment for France’s nascent religious right, which in France is run by the Catholic Church.  It’s also a shameful black eye for America’s religious right, which up until now took pride in its close ties to France’s anti-gay movement.


Catholic love in action in Paris.

France’s UMP opposition party sought to take advantage of anti-gay hate

But the violence is also an embarrassment for France’s UMP opposition party (for lack of a better comparison, France’s version of the US Republican party), that latched on to the organized anti-gay prejudice of the Catholic church and the religious right in an attempt to foment a larger opposition to France’s socialist government. The head of the UMP, Jean-François Copé, attended Sunday’s violent anti-gay protest.

The UMP’s desperate grab for any issue to galvanize opposition recalls how Republicans in America latched on to the stimulus, then health care reform, and then Benghazi in an ongoing effort to find anything that might permit them to take down President Obama.

An even more direct comparison is to America’s Republican party, not in 2013, but in the late 1970s, and especially at the time of Reagan’s first election in 1980, when the GOP tied its horse to the religious right’s jihad against gay Americans. Over 30 years later, America’s Republicans are still trying to untie the religious-right Gordian Knot – some would say noose – from around their political necks, as they see themselves increasingly viewed as the party of hate and intolerance.

A taste of the Frankenstein monster the Catholic Church, the religious right, and France’s UMP have created, via the Guardian:

The most radical protesters have grouped together under the banner “Printemps Français” (French spring), a loose grouping of traditionalists and far-right associations, which the French interior ministry last week threatened to outlaw.

Tensions were exacerbated by the suicide last Tuesday of a far-right essayist, Dominique Venner, who shot himself at the altar of Notre Dame cathedral on Tuesday after leaving a blogpost railing against immigration and the “vile” law legalizing same-sex marriage.

Anti-gays ignore govt. call to leave children at home, due to expected violence

Things have gotten so bad in France that the government urged anti-gay protesters not to bring children to yesterday’s anti-gay march, as the threat of violence had increased past the point of safety for people so young. Sadly, many Catholic, religious right protesters refused to heed the call, and brought their children, yet again, into the midst of violence.

French anti-gay protesters attacking a reporter during yesterday's march.

French anti-gay protesters attacking a reporter during yesterday’s march.

From France 24:

Interior Minister Manuel Valls warned protesters on Saturday not to bring children along because of violence he feared after far-right militants clashed with police at recent rallies. He mobilised 4,500 police to secure the event.

Many parents ignored his warnings and some picnicked with children on the lawn at the rally. “Look, it’s perfectly safe here,” said Elisabeth Huet from Orleans, who marched along with her adult daughter and three small grandchildren.

Yeah, not so much:

You’ll recall that at previous anti-gay protests organized by the Catholic Church and the religious right, French anti-gay protesters urged their countrymen to use their small children as human shields against the riot police. So it is perhaps no surprise that they are again putting children in harm’s way, under the guise of “protecting children” against gay people.

Catholics, religious right refuse to issue clear-throated condemnation of violence

Also sad has been the Catholic and religious right reluctance to condemn the violence perpetrated by their fellow marchers and sympathizers.  The Catholic church and the religious right have brought anti-gay animus in France to an all-time high, resulting in numerous recent hate crimes against gays and gay organizations.

Sadly, the leader of the anti-gay protests had recently made comments that some took as a call to violence – “[President] Hollande wants blood, and he’s going to get it.  Everyone is furious. We live in a dictatorship.”- and following her inappropriate comments, the violence came.

Even worse, France’s top Catholic archbishop recently appeared to make excuses for the violence as well.

The French anti-gay movement has now begun to embrace terrorism as well.

We know what motivates the Catholic church and France’s rather small religious right (keep in mind that France is not nearly as religious as the US).  But it’s sad that France’s UMP party has decided to ally itself with bigots and homophobes – and now violent white supremacists.  And even when France’s religious right leader is forced to abandon the protest – she didn’t show up yesterday, because things were getting so out of hand in her own movement – the head of France’s UMP proudly lent his party’s credence to the intolerant extremism that is growing in their country.

I don’t expect the Catholic church to learn a thing – nor France’s religious right, as it’s influenced by America’s hateful religious right.  But the UMP has often been considered more liberal than America’s GOP.  For the UMP to ally itself with a movement based on hate, and a movement now co-opted by the far-right of French society (and keep in mind that in Europe, the far-right is way farther to the right than our far-right in America – think David Duke more than Pat Buchanan), is just plain sad.

It’s one thing to want to win at the polls.  It’s another to be willing to tear apart your country, and unleash some of Europe’s worst demons, in order to accomplish it.

You can tell they are Catholics by their love.

You can tell they are Catholics by their love.

More on France’s upcoming gay marriage:

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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33 Responses to “More violence in Paris as French anti-gay right co-opted by extremists, supremacists”

  1. bence raven says:

    Want to get some riot points? All you needs for riot points can be met once you watch this video!

    Riot points!

  2. jorge says:

    not fair that in modern society these abuses are taking place against a community that has our same rights


  3. Green Zizzle says:

    This is sad, I cant believe people can do such a thing to another human, I just don’t like violence.

  4. Annski1 says:

    It is really not possible to compare the political parties in France to the U.S. That being said to continue to say the UMP is like the Republican Party is not accurate. The UMP is more like the Dems, Sarkozy is a member. It is a centrist party. There are two other parties to the right of UMP. If you are moving from right to left then the party left of the UMP is the Socialist Party and then myriads of left parties all of which have no relation to the U.S. Democratic Party if you look at the policies. Particularly vis a vis austerity. To isolate one issue like Marriage Equality and say the UMP is like the U.S. Republican Party is not accurate and it is more ominous to say the centrist party has thrown in with the fascists. Which is the concern here..

  5. overwhelming evidence-did you read teh article??

  6. tobias, please try thinking-gay acceptance is slowly growing-it starts in the advanced western world and spreads out-look at the US-the religious red states will not accept it until a few years from now…eventually the world will advance-religion is poison to the mindless sheep masses

  7. so sad-the police need to start using their guns against these monsters

  8. Ninong says:

    Vincent Autin and Bruno Boileau have just been married by the mayor of Montpellier, becoming the first gay couple married in France!

  9. karmanot says:

    Yep. Tobias, you only have to do the stations once a year during Lent.

  10. karmanot says:

    Brush off your scapula honey and go to Mass.

  11. karmanot says:

    Worse, they are still pissed they lost the Revolution.

  12. kyleyoder says:

    No evidence that the Catholic Church is behind the violence. But there is evidence the French are. This must hurt the left wing American.

  13. BeccaM says:

    Do you see the word ‘Catholic’ anywhere in my comment? I think you are projecting your own personal sense of victimhood.

  14. tobias says:

    i see that anti-catholicism is alive and well in the u.s.a., going back to the no-nothing party of the 1850s to the kkk and the “stop kennedy coaltion” to prevent a catholic, the last not-corporate-owned president from becoming president. kennedy in fact has been the only non-protestant president this country has had and look where it got him. it’s mostly catholic countries (and northern european) today that have permited gay marriage. but don’t say anything against spanish-language evangelicals, mormons, muslims, etc incuding your own protestant leaders.. i understand the fixation on the catholic church.. it’s very visual, other-wordly, ancient.. but people if the catholic church in france was “punished” as some of here have suggested, islam will fill its void… do you really expect thing to then get better?. of the seven countries that permit the death penatly for gays, all are muslim countries. there is not one muslim country that has even considered gay marriage but that does not seem to bother you. in fact you suggest gays and muslims share a bond by being being threatened by catholics? hahahahahaha.

  15. Butch1 says:

    Perhaps, it’s time to send OUR paratrooper-police force over to clear their streets for them. It wouldn’t take them long to do it since they are always itching to crack some skulls and do damage to their “enemies.” Those bigots, including the catholic church need to be put back into their place. It’s time for the childish tantrum to be over. The church needs to be put into their corner for a punishment and “time-out.” The anarchists need to be tried and put into jail for their hate crimes against the gays if they have the witnesses and victims who can identify them. The government needs to get serious and to stop playing around with these delinquents.

  16. Badgerite says:

    I think if the Catholic Church or any religious group for that matter had the power, it would be just as bad as during mid-eval times. Could an ‘inquisition’ be far behind? This is why we have the principle of separation of church and state. This is why we hold to the principle that when anyone’s rights are infringed, everyone’s rights are infringed. When the Church feels free to tell the nuns of this country that they do not have the right to speak their minds, or to say what they think is true, we are back in the middle ages. All of a sudden there is no Age of Enlightenment. No free inquiry and no freedom of thought or speech. The Church or the State or both will tell you what you are allowed to think or believe. I understand that the nuns are a part of their organization and take a vow of obedience, but when the Church and other religious hierarchies try to affect governmental policy as they have tried to do here in America and apparently in Europe, they are trying to enforce that kind of obedience on everyone through law. And THAT is immoral.

  17. JayRandal says:

    Anti-Gay bigots are really angry and mean people. Their hatred of Gays/Lesbians really weird. NO hope for them to change. Most French citizenry are tolerant of homosexuals, but those of extreme
    far-right same as in US are intolerant buffoons.

  18. Bill_Perdue says:

    This isn’t a French problem, anymore than the murders and violence in New York are a New York problem.

    Iit’s a fascist problem and it demonstrates the unwillingness and the failure of the French left and unions to mount a militant campaign to root out, overwhelm and demoralize the fascists.

    Unions and the left are the only ones who can handle the fascists. The police will turn against anyone they’re told to and their sympathies are not with us.

  19. They’re most attacking the riot police, which is a really dumb thing to do in France. Otherwise, we won.

  20. Annski1 says:

    Yes..but the church is involved but many of those attackers will also go after working people protesting austerity. The Golden Dawn in Greece is the same threat against any group that wants to struggle against the system

  21. BeccaM says:

    Indeed. And for France, apparently gays and Muslims are this generation’s fascist version of the ‘Jewish Threat’ scapegoat.

  22. BeccaM says:

    I’m sure individuals are when they’re being assaulted, and clearly the police are reacting, but we haven’t seen a pro-gay riot of any significant size anywhere in the world since ’78, when Harvey Milk’s murderer got off with a charge of only voluntary manslaughter and a sentence of just five years.

  23. vejo says:

    I wouldn’t spend a vacation dime in anti-gay Jamaica or Georgia (both of them), and sadly now, I would think twice before taking a vacation in France…

  24. BeccaM says:

    And these wingnuts, racists, and radical rightists still have the gall to claim they’re not motivated by hate, that there is nothing bigoted, intolerant, or hateful about their beliefs.

    Effin’ liars.

  25. Indigo says:

    And there you have it, Catholic Action in action.

  26. BloggerDave says:

    Are people not fighting back?

  27. karmanot says:

    “this continued collusion between the Catholic Church in France and the neo-fascist movement needs to be fully documented”—Starting with the cabal running out of the Church of the Madelene in central Paris.

  28. ComradeRutherford says:

    Just like in America, Conservatives in France are still angry that they lost WWII.

  29. nicho says:

    This is reminiscent of nothing so much as when the Catholic Church in
    Spain enthusiastically sided with Franco’s forces during the Spanish
    Civil War of the 1930s.

    The church is enthusiastically siding with the right-wing government in Spain (which is a bunch of unreformed Francoists). And actually vice versa. The Spanish PM was the first head of state received by the new pope. Rajoy got into office because Ratzinger went to Spain two in a couple of months to stump for him in the run up to the last election. It’s rare enough for a pope to visit any country, and to visit the same one twice in a couple of months is unheard of.

  30. AngelaE8654 says:

    I can’t even fathom violence against another person, simply because of their beliefs or their lifestyle. I was raised very fundamentalist-strict, but even as a kid I just didn’t care enough about what two adults do in private to have it affect me. I suspect I am not a minority, either.


  31. FLL says:

    This is reminiscent of nothing so much as when the Catholic Church in Spain enthusiastically sided with Franco’s forces during the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s. I don’t think the Catholic Church will be so fortunate this time around. Watch for the new pope to issue some lame, half-ass “apology” for the open alliance of the Catholic Church in France with the violent anti-immigrant, white supremacist movement. Of more importance, this continued collusion between the Catholic Church in France and the neo-fascist movement needs to be fully documented and shoved in the faces of American Catholics. There is only one ethical thing for American Catholics to do under these circumstances, and that is to step away from the Catholic Church. A boycott of a few years would do everyone good. It’s certainly not a novelty. Where do you think the term “lapsed Catholic” came from? In the end, the Catholic Church always welcomes lapsed Catholics back. What choice do they have?

  32. cole3244 says:

    the catholic church gets involved wherever there is a chance to initiate more believes into the evil of religion catholic style, and hate is their vehicle.

  33. Annski1 says:

    This looks like the beginning of Fascism – When seen historically it is at times when capitalism is threatened and they resort to this kind of attack. It is not about a political party – but a class. My favorite quote about the rise of fascism in Germany “capitalist society is puking up the undigested barbarism”.

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