One of the most profound differences between the American and French views of religious freedom is our treatment of religious symbols in the public square.
America's Founders envisioned a public square that is neither secular nor sacred. In contrast, France has enacted policies that advance radical secularism.
French law has erased religious symbols from public view under a policy of secularism known as laïcité. In 2004, the French government banned students from wearing religious symbols such as yarmulkes, crosses, and hijabs (Muslim headscarves) in classrooms.