How French View America

November 2012

Dear Friends,

     Our newsletters often describe French culture and the state of religion in the French-speaking world. This time we will go the other way. In a recent issue of Le Point, a report was published depicting how the French view America. Somewhat tongue-in-cheek, the article described the typical impression of America held by many French people.

     Here are some of the items on the inventory. (1) No one has health insurance. (2) Every American wears a gun. (3) Anyone who works hard can rise to the top. (4) Americans only eat hamburgers. (5) Capitalism is rampant. These are, of course, either not true at all or silly half-truths. Only 16% of the population is without health insurance; a large number, to be sure, but far from 100%. Although the Second Amendment allows carrying weapons, there are many restrictions on who can purchase them, and where they may be carried. While hard work is often rewarded by promotions there is no one-to-one equation between them. Our economic system is a far cry from pure capitalism

     The two others that leapt out at me were: (6) Every American believes in God. (7) All Americans are prudish. According to various surveys, only about 70% of Americans believe in some divine force or a god. And at least 16% of Americans are not affiliated with any church or synagogue. The number of younger people who doubt God’s existence has been increasing over the last few decades. And only somewhat older Americans claim to hold traditional views on marriage. The younger generations make no such claim. Certainly, Europeans in general, and French people in particular tend to believe in God far less than Americans. In France, only 27% say they believe in God, and that is counting the large immigrant population. And many espouse a rather loose approach to love and marriage.

     Our Seminary in Aix-en-Provence is busy preparing leaders to go out and reach these populations. They are not bringing them American culture but the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thanks for all your support!

Very Truly Yours,

William Edgar, President