“We will not accept any religious demands in school menus,” Le Pen told RTL radio. “There is no reason for religion to enter the public sphere, that’s the law.”
People in France have been discussing the influence of the influx of practicing Muslims for a number of years now, and that discussion has moved to a form of action: banning religious-based lunches.
While even this Huffington Post article portrays this move on the part of the French government as being “anti-immigrant,” the media is missing the point that forcing secular schools to comply with religious demands of a one faction or another is a form of practicing a that religion.
Far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen said on Friday it would prevent schools from offering special lunches to Muslim pupils in the 11 towns it won in local elections, saying such arrangements were contrary to France’s secular values.
France’s republic has a strict secular tradition enforceable by law, but faith-related demands have risen in recent years, especially from the country’s five-million-strong Muslim minority, the largest in Europe.
Just because faith-based demands arise, doesn’t mean that France’s government is then required to adhere to them. Isn’t this a true test of separating religion from government?
Officials claim that the cost of the meals that were offered just seemed wasted:
The mayor of Arveyres, Benoit Gheysens told AFP the move was being taken because of the cost of providing alternative meals, many of which went to waste.
‘Often children who did not take the substitute dinner complained as well and left the pork. It distressed the staff to see how much food was wasted,’ Gheysens said.
While no one measured how much children ate or didn’t eat, it seems to be a futile exercise to try to please all children with public lunches.