THE REVOLUTIONAND THE CHURCH: The Relocation of the Sacred
THE CHURCH: BEFORE REVOLUTIONlargest single landowner in France (10%)exempt from paying taxesdiscriminated against Non-Catholics (ie. Protestants)monopoly on educationcollected a tithe from nobles and non-nobles alike
WHAT IS A TITHE?originally a voluntary tax, until 1585primarily levied on crops and livestock, supposedly forpurposes of redistribution of wealththe source of much resentment against the church!
VOLTAIRE“Whatever you do, crush theinfamous thing, and love thosewho love you.”
THE ‘NATIONAL ASSEMBLY’ TAKES ACTION!August 4, 1789 - Church’s authority to impose thetithe is abolishedNovember 2, 1789 - the property of the Churchdeemed to be “at the disposal of the nation”February 13, 1790 - all religious orders dissolvedJuly 12, 1790 - remaining clergy became employees ofthe state
DE-CHRISTIANIZATIONDon’t want to swear the oath? Deportation orexecution...your choice!During ‘Reign of Terror’, massacring of priests anddestruction of churches and religious images wascommon throughout FranceCivic festivals introduced to replace religious onesCult of Reason established
A SOCIETY IS ‘SACRALIZED’ Salvation -- the revolution resembled a religious movement in its universalism and its goal of personal and political “regeneration of the whole human race.” Ritual -- the reenactment of the social contract was a ritual repeated at various decisive moments in the revolutionary process (ie. oaths). Tocqueville: “This strange religion has, like Islam, overrun the whole world with its apostles, militants, and martyrs.”
THE FALLOUTWho is responsible?What is socially acceptable?Are politics and ideology enough?