French evangelicals implore prayer for country facing terrorism, corruption and division ahead of presidential elections

France's divisive National Front leader Marine Le Pen has increased her support among electors. The country's two-stage election process, deciding its next president, begins this month.Reuters

A body of evangelical Christians in France has urged the Christian community to pray for France ahead of its next presidential election.

The European Evangelical Alliance (EEA) is neutral on political issues, but implored prayer for a political context that has become mired by terrorism, corruption and societal division in a statement last week.

The French people will vote for their next president in a two-round process, on April 23 and May 7.

The EEA said it was 'not at all neutral regarding the importance of good, just government and healthy societies'.

The statement noted the rise in 'Islamic terrorism atrocities' seen in France, 'inevitably leading to fear and also division.

'This is inevitably influencing how some politicians speak and voters think.'

It also highlighted restrictions on religious freedom and debates about 'how secular ("laique") the country must be'.

It added: 'How much religion should be allowed in public is hotly debated. And freedom of expression on ethical issues like same sex marriage, surrogacy, euthanasia or abortion are also under attack. Will real religious pluralism and freedom of speech be protected or will there be further legal restrictions, in this already highly secularised society?'

Thirdly, the EEA pointed out allegations of corruption against French politicians, such as Marine Le Pen and Francois Fillon, leading to 'huge disillusionment among voters'.

The group gave an extensive list of prayer points that it invited 'Europe's Evangelical community' to pray through. These included petitions for peace, reconciliation in French society, and 'a genuine Christian perspective' to be understood by the media and the voting public.

It also implored prayer for a future president who will promote a secularism that 'supports freedom of religion and expression for all', and 'will serve the common good for all inhabitants and also enable France to play a positive European and global role for peace and freedom'.

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