The theme for Le Web 08 is LOVE. Strangely I was walking around the area where the conference is being held earlier today and realised that the square nearby the ancient looking church of St Christopher was where the Edict of Nantes was proclaimed in 1598.
How, you might ask, is that obscure historical fact connected with Le Web 08 and its theme of love? It is connected thus …
The Edict of Nantes proclaimed general freedom of conscience to individuals thus bringing to an end many years of religious conflict between Catholics and Protestants.
Freedom of conscience, the freedom to believe and practice according to one’s belief has been a primary engine of progress for our modern world. Scientific progress is enabled by freedom. It is enabled by freedom of belief, freedom of association, freedom to think and discuss.
In my mind love is enabled by freedom. Love and freedom each create positive energies. And when I see the problems facing our world today we need every positive thing we can grab hold of. Love and freedom are a good place to start.
For those who are curious, the Edict of Nantes was eventually revoked by the Edict of Fontainebleau. This is thought by many to have had a very damaging impact on France with many of the most creative and energetic Protestants choosing to emigrate.
We face times of unprecedented freedom at present. But as with all freedoms we must be vigilant to protect our freedom. History shows us that love flourishes better in freedom than in tyranny.