A specialist in the study of Evangelical Protestantism, Sebastien Fath is currently a full-time researcher at the National Center for Scientific Research CNRS. He lectures at Sorbonne University Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes EPHE, and is in charge of a scientific research program on contemporary mutations of religion in Western societies. He is the author of ten books and has recently published Dieu bénisse l’Amérique. La religion de la Maison Blanche (Paris: Seuil, 2004), Militants de la Bible aux Etats-Unis. Evangéliques et fondamentalistes du Sud (Paris: Autrement, 2004. This book was awarded the Chateaubriand History Prize), and Du ghetto au réseau. Le protestantisme évangélique en France 1800-2005 , (Geneva, Labor et Fides, 2005). He is born 1968 in Strasbourg, France … (full text).
He writes: “In describing Christianity in France, History and Sociology have had lasting difficulties escaping from the “sect-church” opposition. The heavy dominance of Catholicism is a probable reason. Contrarily to the American situation, characterized by a competitive religious market in which religions are structured in various “denominations”, the French landscape seems to be defined as religiously “dry”, in a very secularized context. Today, with declining churches, the dominant trend would be the “decomposition” of religion, instead of its restructuration. This process takes two forms : “religious bricolage”, or narrow sectarian belonging. The field of Evangelical Protestantism invites us to question this interpretative scheme” … (full long text).
Barack Obama et le vote religieux, Janvier 4, 2008.
His english blog: FRENCH WINDOWS, Asterix goes Global – Civil Society, Religion & Politics, Evangelicalism.
Sébastien FATH, son Weblog scientifique et citoyen (en français).
Sebastien Fath – France
Both France and the USA do like to teach the World about values. These two great democracies share a common emphasis on universal rights, and it is no surprise if the world debate about the Iraqi war in 2003 turned around what France and what the US had to say. How to explain that? By going back to History, particularly in studying the relationship between politics and religion in France and the US … (French Windows, scroll down to Dec. 14, 2007.
GSRL Groupe Société, Réligions, Laïcités au EPHE/CNRS.
He writes also: “The White House [has been] taken hostage by a fundamentalist sect” (Mercier 2003:44). This kind of comment, found in the columns of a major, Catholic friendly, weekly magazine is quite revealing of the French perception of religion. The president of the United States is not portrayed as a church member, because the word “church” is too positive a term for what the journalist wishes to say about the American President. Thus, he is shown as being under the influence of a “sect” (or “cult”), which is synonymous with bad religion. The “churchsect” dichotomy is characteristic of the French way of seeing religion. This might partly explain why Ernst Troeltsch’s approach of religion has only been discovered in the 1980s, decades after Max Weber’s sociology (Seguy 1980). While Weber usually favored a dual approach of religious structures (church/sect) familiar to the French, Ernst Troeltsch adopted a more nuanced view: he included the mystic type and the “Free church” model. (full long text).
Religion et Sociologie: 29 articles sur le protestantisme évangélique et 14 articles sur les USA et leur mutation socio.réligieuse.
Before getting into Fath’s address, the American scholar Robert O. Paxton draws a portrait of hypothetical US fascism in his book, Anatomy of Fascism: The language and symbols of an authentic American fascism would, of course, have little to do with the original European models … No swastikas in an American fascism, but Stars and Stripes and Christian Crosses … Americans might support an enterprise of forcible national regeneration, unification and purification … Would Protestant fundamentalism play this function for Americans? [Stanley G.] Payne has argued fascism requires the space created by secularization, because a religious fascism would inevitably limit its leader not only by the cultural power of the clergy but by “the precepts and values of traditional religion.” Fath warns exactly of this: the continuing secularization of evangelical faith under the guidance of George Bush to permit his unlimited actions in the War on Terror … (full long text).
Il recommande la lecture: Débat sur le communautarisme, un livre de Julien Landfried à lire, 21 mars 2007.
He writes also: … In front of the highest Roman Catholic Clergy, he emphasized the importance of the French “christian roots” (mainly Catholic), while he also pleaded for a “positive” version of “laïcité” (laicity, sometimes translated by secularism). But many French (including myself) thought that Nicolas Sarkozy went a bit too far. OK to aknowledge the importance of Faith, OK to highlight of the great French catholic heritage… But France today is multicultural, multireligious…. and mostly secular. Why this Godtalk then ? Why did he deeply emphasized the French great Catholic root, without a word for the heavy heritage of Catholic discrimination and persecution against Protestants, Jews, and Free-thinkers before 1789 (French Revolution)? And why did Nicolas Sarkozy completely forget the Enlightenment heritage as well? … (full long text).
Conferences about ‘Politics and Religion in France and in the United States’;
Nur al-Cubicle, a blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press … ;
Le blog: Entente Évangélique, Paris Rive Gauche – son actualité;
CNRS Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique / National Center for Scientific Research;
Religion and money: Islamic finance, 18 Mar 2008;
The French Reconnection, Europe’s most secular country rediscovers its Christian roots, March 2005;
Algeria: crackdown on churches, 18 Mar 2008.