NICE, France—The leaders of the Nice chapter of the Disciples of Secularis say that the burkini, swimwear designed to satisfy Islamic modesty standards, threatens the natural secular order instituted by the god Secularis when he created the universe through a combination of blind chance and evolutionary processes.
Grand Secular Jean-Jacques Russo spoke at a press conference on Friday after the mayor of Nice followed other cities on the Riviera in banning the burkini. “The burkini is an obvious assault on French secularism,” Russo said from the steps of the Temple of Secularis. “It strains the tolerance of all good French seculars to watch a Muslim woman bathe in the clothing of her choice.”
Invoking the century-old principle of laïcité, or secularism, Russo insisted that the separation of church and state could only survive if the state makes fashion decisions for Muslim women. “Modesty is one thing,” he said, “but forcing other people to look at your totally covered body is quite another. We won’t stand for such ostentatious displays of religiosity.”
When asked if he had ever seen a burkini, Russo replied, “No, but Brother Marcel showed us schematics at our last meeting.”
The burkini battle is only the latest clash in the French war over secularism. Last year a Muslim girl was sent home from school for wearing a long black skirt that school officials thought was too “conspicuously” religious. Some cities across France have banned pork-free alternative meals in their public schools, angering local Muslims and Jews alike.
The Disciples of Secularis take a hard-line stance on secularism, saying that laïcité was revealed in 1905 to their founder, Francois-Marie Foltaire, who had a vision of the zero-limbed god Secularis after getting drunk at a gathering of philosophs and humanists. The Disciples’ Nice branch gained notoriety after it erected a statue of the spherical god on the world-famous Nice beachfront. That move was challenged by a religious group on the grounds that it violated laïcité. “How could we violate secularism?” Russo asked at the time. “We worship secularism.”
Russo also announced that the Disciples would be collecting donations for the victims of recent hijab sightings, which he called “very unsettling.”