Main | Tuesday, May 21, 2013

FRANCE: Anti-Gay Marriage Activist Commits Suicide Inside Notre Dame

An elderly anti-gay activist shot himself in the head today after placing a letter on the altar of Paris' famed Notre Dame Cathedral.

It's the first suicide in decades at the landmark site, Monsignor Patrick Jacquin told The Associated Press. "It's unfortunate, it's dramatic, it's shocking," Jacquin said. The motives for the suicide, and the contents of the man's letter, were unclear.  A police official says officers closed the cathedral to the public and were investigating. It's highly unusual for the cathedral, visited by some 13 million people from around the world every year, to be evacuated. Police, the Paris prosecutor and church employees gathered inside the cathedral, while puzzled tourists crowded outside on the island in the Seine River that has been home to the cathedral since the 12th century.
The contents of the letter have not yet been disclosed, but one source reports that the dead man had blogged earlier today against France's just-approved same-sex marriage bill.

UPDATE: Via Google Translate, here is (approximately) what the man wrote today on his blog.
Protesters are due May 26, will have to scream their impatience and anger. An infamous law, once passed, can always be repealed.  I just listened to an Algerian blogger: "In any case, he said, in fifteen years the Islamists are in power in France and it will remove this law." Not to make us happy, we suspect, but because it is contrary to Sharia (Islamic law). This is the only common point superficially between the European tradition (that respects the woman) and Islam (which does not respect). But the bald assertion of the Algerian is chilling. Consequences shook otherwise giant and catastrophic that detestable Taubira law.
UPDATE II: More on the scene at Notre Dame.
A right-wing historian shot himself dead in front of hundreds of tourists at the altar of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris today, apparently in protest at France's legalisation of gay marriage. Dominique Venner, who had recently been campaigning against gay marriage in France, is said to have calmly walked past the crowds milling around the 850-year-old Cathedral, one of the most popular tourist sites in the world, before taking out a Herstal automatic pistol.

The 78-year-old put the gun in his mouth and fired before collapsing on to the altar, according to French media reports. A report by Europe 1 radio station reads: 'According to our information, he is Dominique Venner, essayist and former member of the OAS who was close to the anti-gay marriage movement.' The Cathedral was full of visitors when the horrific incident took place, at around 4pm.
UPDATE III: JMG reader John found more of Venner's blogging before the suicide.
[Preventing marriage equality] certainly will require new, spectacular, and symbolic actions to wake up the sleep walkers, shake the anaesthetized consciousness, and awaken the memory of our origins. We are entering a time when words must be authenticated by acts.  It is here and now that our destiny is played until the final second. And this final second has as much importance as the rest of a life. That is why we need to be ourselves until the very last instant.

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