After Two Elections, France Is Divided. Can Evangelicals Make a Difference?

Though they make up only 1 percent of the population, these believers want their presence to be meaningful.

Like the rest of the country, French evangelicals went to the polls on Sunday for the second round of parliamentary elections in what became a showdown between the far right and the rest of the country. The Nouveau Front Populaire (New Popular Front), a fragile new coalition of leftist parties, formed a “Republican front” with the centrist parties allied with President Emmanuel Macron. While this strategy successfully kept Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National (National Rally) in third, neither the leftist nor centrist parties won an outright majority in the National Assembly, a situation which may result in numerous political stalemates in the months to come.

French evangelicals represented only a tiny number of Sunday’s voter turnout; about 60 percent of all voters in the country of nearly 68 million showed up, the largest turnout since 1981. At 745,000, the number of evangelicals has grown by nearly 100,000 in recent years but remains squarely on the margins.

Despite their community’s size, French evangelical leaders have regularly engaged the challenges affecting their country, such as weighing in on concerns over Islam and free speech, speaking out about a bill trying to end Muslim separatism that could make churches collateral damage, and articulating their pro-life values after the country enshrined abortion into the constitution.

Prior to the June 30 first-round election that preceded yesterday’s runoff, the Conseil National des Evangéliques de France (CNEF, National Council of Evangelicals in France) called on believers to pray, to be discerning, and to vote.

“Politics cannot do everything,” the press release stated, noting that in such troubled times evangelicals …

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