After the Revolution France developed a militant secularism, la laïcité, which insisted that the state was lay, that is clerics and religion had no role in any state activity or public life. In part this was a reaction to integrisme, the strain of Catholic thought that insisted that the state must be Catholic and that clerics should direct the affairs of state, directly or indirectly. The Catholic, anti-Semitic right disgraced itself both in the Dreyfus affair and, to some extent, under the Vichy regime. La laïcité was seen as a wayof guarding human rights. President Sarkozy of France, however, according to Le Monde, is revising the concept of  la laïcité.  In Rome he said 

France has need of Catholics,” he affirmed, after having insisted on “the essentially Christian roots of France” and criticized a laicity that had tried “to cut off France from its Christian roots.”  

When he was in Saudi Arabia, Sarkozy also spoke of  

the equal importance that he accorded to the believers of different religions, to freemasons, and to atheists. 

Freemasons and others are not happy with Sarkozy. The grand master of the Freemasons in France said: 

M. Sarkozy puts at the heart of society a religious dimension which we do not share. These remarks risk radicalizing positions and reviving a form of anticlericalism.

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