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Published On: Wed, Dec 7th, 2016

France town moves to remove Virgin Mary from park, it ‘ violates the country’s core values of secularization’

From the small town of Publier in France’s eastern Haute-Savoie region is the order that a statue of the Virgin Mary must be removed from a public park overlooking Lake Geneva. The Grenoble Tribunal Administration ordered the statue’s removal after a judgment found that it violates the country’s core values of secularization.

The tribunal’s ruling says the sculpture must be removed within three months.
Publier Mayor Gaston Lacroix said he decided to order the Virgin Mary statue while on a hike in September 2011 to mark a summit, saying he “had the will to build a landmark.”
This Virgin Mary statue has to go, says the French authorities  photo/screenshot of video coverage

This Virgin Mary statue has to go, says the French authorities photo/screenshot of video coverage

Lacroix ordered the statue soon after his hike, paying for it with 30,000 euros of public funds, confessing that “for 48 hours, it was illegal,” but said that he reimbursed the municipality with donations from around the world.

The statue, inscribed with the words “Our lady of Lake Geneva is watching over your children,” sits on 50 square meters of a public park near the Swiss border.
The Grenoble Tribunal Administration first filed a request to the Publier authority in January 2015 after a local group called “The Free Thought Federation of Haute-Savoie” requested a review.
A recent ruling on November 24 serves as an official judgment order — and says the statue must be removed because it’s in violation of French law.
“It is forbidden to erect or put any religious sign or emblem on the public buildings or in any public place of any sort, excepting buildings dedicated to worship and cemeteries and funeral monuments or museums and exhibits,” says Article 28 of the 1905 French secular law.
“It was made to be a landmark. I wanted to unify,” Lacroix told CNN. “But unfortunately there is a minority that creates division.”
“I think I have a very open mind, but I cannot stand this new tyranny,” tweeted Jacques Clostermann, a member of France’s far-right National Front party.
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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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