French Evangelical Protestants between concern and trust
According to a survey, Protestants in France are worried about fundamental freedoms in their country. They think that liberty of conscience and religion are under pressure.
The study on the life of French evangelical Protestant families was commissioned by the "National Federation of Protestant Family Associations" (Fédération nationale des associations familiales protestantes, FNAFP) in cooperation with the National Council of Evangelicals of France (Conseil national des évangéliques de France, CNEF). The data was collected from 636 Protestant families between 1 and 30 September.
Seventy-eight per cent of the respondents are somewhat or very concerned about the respect of freedom of conscience in France and the freedom to express one's faith and values in French society; 69 per cent are rather or very concerned about the respect of freedom of worship.
"These concerns certainly require a stronger mobilisation of the representatives of the families that make up the Evangelical Protestant Churches towards the public authorities. It is also a question of informing and communicating more so that they better understand what is happening", says Françoise Caron, president of the Protestant Family Associations (Associations familiales protestantes, AFP) on the website of CNEF.
"It is important to bring these concerns and worries of families to the forefront, and the AFP, with their mandate to represent the public authorities, as well as the representatives of the CNEF at both national and local levels, are useful spokespersons for the authorities," she declared.
Aware of the difficulties and faced with their doubts, Evangelical Protestant families remain nevertheless confident in the future because they are deeply rooted in the Bible and its promises and attached to the "local church" community, which allows them not to face their difficulties on their own. Indeed, 65 per cent of the respondents are rather confident or even very confident about their children's future, and 91 per cent of them attend a "local community (local church)" at least once a week, the research shows. Seven out of ten of those with children send them to public schools.
French evangelical families are overwhelmingly attached to the traditional family model, with 8 out of 10 respondents married, 10 per cent single, and 7 per cent divorced or separated. None of the 636 respondents says they were living together unmarried.
While 93 per cent said they had children, 23 per cent had two, 18 per cent had three, and 12 per cent had four or more. The survey also highlights the strong commitment of these families. Thus, 91 per cent of the respondents are in contact with their church at least once a week, and 63 per cent support a cause through voluntary work.
More than 9 out of 10 attend a service each week. In this corona pandemic, 58 per cent attend church meetings in person; 33 per cent, depending on the situation, decide whether to go to the meeting or join the church virtually over the Internet.
The professional areas in which the most evangelical Christians work, according to this survey, are the sectors of religion, health, public administration, education, social action and banking or insurance.
In terms of voting intentions, these evangelical families lean to the right (36 per cent) and the centre (22 per cent), followed by ecology (9 per cent), leaving crumbs for the left and the extreme (5 per cent and 4 per cent respectively).
Finally, the survey asked about bioethical issues. A clear majority of 95 per cent of those surveyed reject surrogacy. Another 92 per cent are against further liberalising abortion. Eighty-eight per cent is against giving free access to euthanasia.
The development of Artificial Intelligence is viewed favourably by 29 per cent of those surveyed, but 61 per cent are more pessimistic about where these new technologies will go.