Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sarkozy, the Holocaust, and the Absence of God

Out of Paris:
President Nicolas Sarkozy dropped an intellectual bombshell this week: Beginning next fall, he said, every fifth-grader will have to learn the life story of one of the 11,000 French children killed by the Nazis.

"Nothing is more moving, for a child, than the story of a child his own age, who has the same games, the same joys and the same hopes as he, but who, in the dawn of the 1940s, had the bad fortune to be defined as a Jew," Mr. Sarkozy said Wednesday.

Mr. Sarkozy wrapped his plan in the cloak of religion, placing blame for the wars and violence of the last century on an "absence of God."

The Holocaust is already taught in French schools, but some psychiatrists and educators predicted that requiring students to identify with a specific victim could traumatize them.

Secularists accused Mr. Sarkozy, who is already under fire for his frequent praise of God and religion, of subverting the country's iron-clad separation of church and state.

Read the whole thing.

HT: Darrell Bock