Diminishing Public Christian Voice

February 2007

Dear Friends,

     Something striking occurred in Marseille just this last December. The streets and subways were flooded with a unique poster. It read, l’Aïd, fête du partage (meaning “Aïd, a feast for sharing”). Eid al-Fitr is the first day on which the new moon is sighted at the end of Ramadan. Muslims celebrate the end of their yearly fast with special prayers, and with fine food and drink.

     What is so remarkable about such a poster? First, it was financed by the General Council, the departmental government for the Bouches-du-Rhône, which covers Marseille. Second, only a few Christians reacted. To their credit, they worried, not that this was outside the rights of the large Muslim population in that city, but that nothing equivalent was done by Christians to announce the true meaning of Christmas. A letter went out to the Archbishop signaling this fact, but it received a lukewarm response noting only the “distance between our society and the feast of Christmas,” and promising to think about it with other Christian leaders.

     If you know modern history, there is nothing really extraordinary about the increasingly vocal Muslim community and the diminishing Christian public voice in France today. Except that it shouldn’t be that way! Christians all over the West have accommodated to the pressure over recent years to privatize their faith, while other religions have gone deliberately public. How can we make sure the Christian voice is heard in an appropriate way? Sometimes when Christian do speak out, it is rather embarrassing. The Seminary at Aix-en-Provence studies this and prepares its students to go out and make a difference. Please help its cause by your prayers and your support. And thanks very much!

Very Truly Yours,

William Edgar, President