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Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

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French Catholic college students who opposed LGBT display face expulsion, $84K fine

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

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Analysis

June 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — On Saturday afternoon, May 18, some 20 adolescents and young adults, many of whom had just finished their college exams, were enjoying a drink on “Place Napoléon,” the main square of La Roche-sur-Yon, the administrative capital of the Vendée in the west of France. When they noticed an “LGBT rights” stand in the square, they decided to react. Their student rumpus has been blown up into a full-scale scandal by the French media, and for the students, the consequences are dire. Several have been expelled from the local Catholic university — one of a limited number of Catholic universities in France — and most will have to answer for their crime at the local criminal court on July 18.

Here is what happened. Heads uncovered, the group walked through the LGBT exhibition chanting, “Homofolie, ça suffit” (“we’ve had enough of homofolly”). They toppled over an iron fence, seized a few rainbow flags, and burst some balloons. A number of LGBT activists ran after them, filming the group with their smartphones, and a few pointed words were exchanged. It was only one week later that press reports spoke of two septuagenarians at the LBGT stand who said they had been “knocked over” by one youth, who denies the accusation.

By Sunday, the national media had picked up the film of the event posted on social media, and many mainstream reports were announcing that “a group of youths” had “ransacked” an LGBT stand. A judiciary inquiry was immediately set up, despite the fact that during a television interview, three young female LGBT activists acknowledged that the damage had been minimal and no one had been harmed.

But they added: “If they’re bursting balloons this year, imagine what might happen next year!”

There was a twist: several boys were wearing the insignia of the “Manif pour tous,” and one had a sweatshirt of the ICES Catholic University barely visible under his coat. The “Institut Catholique D’Etudes Supérieures” opened in La Roche-sur-Yon in 1990, mainly thanks to Philippe de Villiers, the Vendée’s emblematic politician who is world-famous for having created the historical theme park of the Puy-du-Fou. The ICES is known for its high-quality teaching and its clearly assumed Catholic identity. Students go there from all parts of France.

Immediately, the incident was connected with the ICES, and French media accused both the local “Manif pour tous” association and the Catholic university of promoting “homophobia” and “transphobia.”

The “Manif pour tous” officially distanced itself from the “attack,” “firmly condemning” the “degradation” of the “stand of the LGBT center of La Roche-sur-Yon, as well as all homophobic acts.”

The ICES went even farther. Although the incident took place outside the campus and at a time when the university was closed, its official Twitter account posted a message on Sunday saying that if the youths who attacked an “anti-homophobia” stand turned out to be ICES students, “disciplinary measures would be taken.”

On the 20th of May, the university’s president, Eric de Labarre, “condemned” the attack, calling it a “grave incident.” “Several persons were identified as students at the ICES. ... The ICES condemns all forms of violence used to promote any convictions whatsoever. ... Their attitude is detrimental to the reputation of the ICES, and as such they will not only be accountable before the courts, since a complaint has been lodged, but also before the ICES.”

The public letter went on to speak of the “respect due to the dignity of persons,” adding that “apart from ignorance and stupidity,” there was also “a form of ideology translated into political activism.” Labarre added that many institutions are confronted with “radical activist fringes of all sides,” proclaiming that the ICES will “never become politicized.” According to Eric de Labarre, the university’s 1,300 students were living through “something that is very hard and even violent” because of the “activists’” disruption.

Heads of student organizations were invited to sign a statement condemning the acts, and the “Bureau des étudiants” that refused was immediately deposed by the university authorities and replaced by next year’s elected formation, which should have come into office on June 15th, which then signed the document.

A social media buzz occurred, and (unverified) accusations were brandished by former students accusing certain professors of having called homosexuality “an illness” during their courses when the parliamentary debate about same-sex “marriage” was in full swing six years ago.

And so a regrettable tempest in a teapot turned into something much darker. The ICES cooperated fully with the police in order to help them identify some of the students involved, two of whom were then arrested and kept in custody for 48 hours.

An official statement from the public prosecutor of La Roche-sur-Yon has described the way the 18 youths implicated had been identified thanks to smartphone films and video surveillance cameras. All were heard by the police. It was established that they had walked “in a lively way” through the exhibition, as a group, repeating the slogan: “Homo-folly, we’ve had enough.” One member of the group had covered his face, the statement added, and a partially burnt rainbow flag was found in the home of one of the students. “Two persons claim to have been jostled violently and have presented certificates proving they obtained 8 and 10 days’ temporary disability,” the statement said.

Most of the youths now face charges including “impeding freedom to demonstrate” (with maximum sanctions of three years’ imprisonment and/or a 45,000-euro fine), “theft and deterioration” (of the LGBT flag): five years’ imprisonment and/or a 75,000-euro fine) and “public insults because of the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity” (one year’s imprisonment, 45,000-euro fine). They will face judgment on July 18. If they are condemned under several headings, only the heaviest sentence will be implemented.

The indictment of “public insults” linked to sexual orientation and gender identity was introduced into the French penal code in 2004 under pressure from the LGBT lobby. It has been widely criticized as the criminalization of opinions and has rarely if ever been successfully invoked against persons reaffirming the traditional condemnation of homosexual acts, but its inclusion in French penal law has put in place the framework of powerful thought-policing.

It should be noted that the public prosecutor made clear that the action had nothing to do with the ICES. “If all were students at the Institut Catholique d’Etudes Supérieures, it does not appear from any element in the case that this membership played any role in the commission of the acts,” it stated.

Despite this official recognition that the ICES was in no way involved, all the students who took part in the incident faced disciplinary action within the university itself and were heard singly. One of the possible sanctions, the one the media and the LGBT lobby were clamoring for, is their outright expulsion — that is, the equivalent of social death for youngsters whose future hangs on their studies.

Sanctions were officially communicated to the press on Friday. Two students have been expelled outright, one will have to wait one year before being allowed to join the ICES once more, and nine are under a “suspended expulsion,” meaning that if they commit acts judged detrimental to the ICES’s reputation during a determined period, they will immediately be required to leave. Several will have to do “community work.”

It was held against the students that the affair was widely publicized on social media, with “44 million negative comments and 1.9 million positive comments.” The ICES also claims to have sanctioned the students because it is “committed to promoting the social thought of the Church, in particular regarding absolute respect for the dignity of persons.”

At no point did the university authorities recall that while Catholics are expected to be tolerant of persons, they should also hold up Catholic doctrine and moral teachings and that while their methods may have been ill advised, LGBT activism is in itself a much more grave disorder, promoting rights for morally erroneous lifestyles.

Nor did the authorities recall that this LGBT activism is becoming ever more totalitarian worldwide, with sanctions and “social death” increasingly the price to pay for even calmly exposing moral choices in this area or refusing to submit to politically correct language.

Is in in fact the disproportion in the way the authorities are treating the two attitudes — one of which is claiming rights for intrinsically disordered acts, while the other is protesting somewhat immaturely — that has sparked anger among a number of students of the ICES who aim to be faithful to the integral Catholic faith.

As Guillaume de Thieulloy, director of the French socially conservative internet medium www.lesalonbeige.com and a onetime lecturer at the ICES put it, “this case quite nicely shows the sense of priorities in the dominant media. On the same day, two people were attacked with knives and iron bars in Villejuif, by an individual claiming that Allah was great, and this event only got a few lines in the press! In other words, when young Catholics burst balloons to demonstrate their opposition to LGBT propaganda, this is national news, but that French citizens barely escaped being murdered by an Islamist terrorist is of no interest to anyone.”

He added that the ICES has apparently chosen to “submit” to the LGBT lobby: “It seems that ICES will organize next year — as a kind of atonement for this sin it didn’t commit (and which looks very venial to me if it is one!) — a conference on sexuality, with a special focus on the notorious ‘LGBT rights.’ When I heard about it, I thought it was a tall tale or ‘fake news,’ as they say nowadays, but it appears that the information has been confirmed.”

Guillaume de Thieulloy went on to recall that the language of “homophobia” is truly the “adversary’s vocabulary,” which aims at banning every critique of homosexuality and the homosexual lobby.

“Let us understand, once and for all, that ‘LGBT rights’ have absolutely nothing to do with human rights. Every human person, whatever his or her actions, has the right to respect for his or her dignity. But not every act has the right to official recognition of society; nor, a fortiori, the right never to be challenged by anyone under penalty of criminal conviction,” he said.

“I am one of those people who still believe that homosexual acts are seriously disordered, as the Catechism says. I understand that it is painful for those who commit them to hear that. But let them be reassured, being a sinner like them, it happens to me quite regularly that I too hear rather unpleasant things about my own sinfulness. The main difference between them and me is that I don't believe that my sins give me any other right than to run to confession — which, after all, is more useful for my salvation than claiming more or less fanciful rights!” he added.

But it seems that the dictatorship of relativism is stronger than rational thought about this regrettable but minor incident.

Could it be that today’s accusers have never heard of Jordan Peterson risking expulsion from his university for refusing to bow down to any legal obligation that would force him to use a person’s “chosen pronouns” on the basis of the illegality of transphobia?

Have they never heard about cardinal Müller’s clear warning in an interview with Costanza Miriano?

“Homophobia simply does not exist,” said the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. “It is clearly an invention and an instrument of the totalitarian dominance over the thoughts of others. The homo-movement is lacking scientific arguments, that is why it created an ideology which wants to dominate by creating its own reality. It is the Marxist pattern according to which reality does not create thinking, but thinking creates its own reality. He who does not accept this created reality is to be considered as being sick. It is as if one could influence an illness with the help of the police or with the help of courts. In the Soviet Union, Christians were put into psychiatric clinics. These are the methods of totalitarian regimes, of National Socialism and of Communism. The same happens in North Korea to those who do not accept the reigning way of thinking.”

Do today’s accusers realize that the LGBT lobby is gaining ever more power against those who simply want to proclaim their faith and morals, and that the worst kind of violence is the one that aims to silence those who will not go along with the lie?

Last March, LifeSite told the story of Tonya Callaghan, a lesbian and former Catholic schoolteacher who has written wrote a book claiming that Alberta’s and Ontario’s publicly funded Catholic schools are “potential hotbeds for homophobia.” She appeared to argue that Catholic teaching was to blame, wrote LifeSite.

Canada is farther along that path than France. It would be sad indeed if French Catholics were to help the LGBT agenda on its way in France.

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