French school's fir tree stirs religious row

16th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

MEAUX, France, Dec 16 (AFP) - Is a Christmas tree a Christian symbol or a pagan sign of life re-born? At a secondary school in the eastern Paris outskirts the question is more than academic.

MEAUX, France, Dec 16 (AFP) - Is a Christmas tree a Christian symbol or a pagan sign of life re-born? At a secondary school in the eastern Paris outskirts the question is more than academic.

Last Saturday the headmaster of the Van Dongen lycee at Lagny-sur-Marne removed a fir tree that had been set up in the entrance-hall, after two girl pupils complained it was a breach of France's new law banning religious insignia in schools.

However in a counter-offensive on Monday teachers circulated a text reminding students that "the use of a fir-tree as a symbol of life or rebirth after the winter solstice is much more ancient than Christianity."

On Thursday the tree was re-installed in the school canteen, where it will remain till the new year.

The so-called "secularity" law which came into force in September bans "conspicuous" religious signs from the classroom and is primarily aimed at the headscarf worn by Muslim girls.

 

© AFP

Subject: French News

0 Comments To This Article