Separatism: What does the republican commitment contract that religious associations must sign recommend?

Since January 1, 2022, a Republican Commitment Contract (CER) must be signed by any association wishing to benefit from a public subsidy or approval. 

In the framework of the law confirming respect for the principles of the Republic promulgated on August 24, 2021, associations and foundations wishing to apply for a public subsidy or state approval will now have to sign a Republican Engagement Contract (CER).

Un implementing decree which specifies the contours of this CER entered into force on January 1, 2022, it indicates that the signatories of this contract must undertake to respect the laws of the Republic, freedom of conscience, the freedom of the members of the association, respect for the equality of all before the law, the duty to act in a spirit of fraternity and non-violence, respect for the person and finally respect for the symbols of the Republic.

It also recalls that associations "must not take advantage of political, philosophical or religious convictions to free themselves from the common rules" nor "incite to any action manifestly contrary to the law, violent or likely to cause serious disturbances to the community. 'public order ".

The government also indicates that it is up to “the association to ensure that these commitments are respected by its managers, employees, members and volunteers”. If a breach of this CER is observed, the association will be obliged to “return the sums it has received”.

Le National Council of Evangelicals of France (CNEF) published a press release on this subject on January 27.

If the evangelical organization considers that "in general, the terms of the republican contract of engagement contain guarantees for the freedom of association and the freedom of conscience, thought and religion" and that it emphasizes that "the commitments of fraternity and the fight against violence are welcome", it recalls however that "serious vigilance will have to be maintained with regard to the conditions of application and interpretation, by public authorities or by administrations, of these new provisions".

The CNEF stresses in particular that “certain terms could be open to interpretation” such as “abusive proselytism” or “arbitrary exclusion” and specifies that “administrative appeals are not excluded in the event of refusal of financial support by the public authorities”.

Evangelicals also point to the extent of “the responsibility of the associations bound by this contract”.

"It concerns both the shortcomings of the leaders, as well as those of the employees, or of the members and the volunteers, directly linked to the activities of the association, since the governing bodies, although informed of these actions, abstained to take the necessary measures to put an end to them, taking into account the means at their disposal. »

In this context, the CNEF, in collaboration with the Protestant Evangelical Committee for Human Dignity (CPDH), calls "for particular attention to respect for the freedoms dear to the associative environment, during the concrete application of this new control system desired by the state.

Camille Westphal Perrier

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