By John-Henry Westen

  PARIS, February 20, 2007 ( – The Socialist Party candidate seeking to replace Jacques Chirac as President of France in the upcoming April election has promised to legalize euthanasia.  Speaking on prime-time television last night, Ségolène Royal said, “It is time to launch a public debate on this question.  I would seek legislation which would allow people to face up with dignity to the most intense suffering.”

  Royal is running ten points behind the frontrunner for the presidency, Nicholas Sarkozy of the centre-right Union for a Popular Movement.  The race has been described as a battle for the soul of France as the two leaders are diametrically opposed on matters of life and family.

  While Royal has promised to legalize homosexual “marriage” and homosexual adoption of children, Sarkozy has maintained that the family must be protected. “Our model,” he said, “must remain that of a heterosexual family: children need a father and a mother.”

  Sarkozy, currently the French interior minister, has even called for France to repudiate its anti-religious prejudice and look again at a positive relationship between Church and state.  In a book-length interview entitled La République, les religions, l’espérance [The Republic, the Religions, and Hope], given last year, Sarkozy recalled critically “the preceding generations” that “scorned, despised, and ridiculed priests and friars.”

  Moreover he called for churches to be able to take part in state funds allocated for charitable works.  Acknowledging that the Church provides hope, help for the helpless, and is generally a positive force for society, he criticizes those who “think it is natural for the state to finance a soccer field, a library, a theatre, a childcare center; but whenever it is a matter of the needs of a place of worship, the state should not spend so much as a penny.”