Controversy in France over the removal of Christian symbols on the official poster for the Olympics

The artist who designed the image of this year's summer games omitted the cross from the dome of the Cathedral of Saint Louis des Invalides.

The official poster for the Paris Olympic Games was unveiled this Monday, and in less than 24 hours it already caused a fierce controversy in France. The artist, Ugo Gattoni, omitted an important detail from the dome of the Cathedral of Saint Louis of the Invalides, the cross.

This detail, which several social media users noticed, provoked reactions from conservative political actors in France, who allege that it is an erasure of the French, traditionally Catholic, identity. "While it may be a voluntary error, it is serious," said Gilles Smadja, former chief of staff of the French Sports Ministry, inan interview with Le Figaro. The conservative European parliamentarian Gilbert Collard went even further and assured that the artist is a "traitor guilty of the fundamental denial of France."

In response to the controversy, the organization responsible for the Olympic Games and the artist responded that they had no bad intentions with their representation of this monument that houses the tomb of Napoleon, among other national heroes. "In my drawings of official posters, I do not try to represent objects or buildings as they should be. I conjure them as they appear in my mind, without any ulterior motive. I do not want them to be faithful to the original, but rather that people can imagine them at a glance. what they are, projecting them in a surreal and festive world," said the artist Ugo Gattoni in statements to ParisMatch.

The poster for the major sporting event shows an imaginary city of Paris, with pink and pastel colors, which has been converted into a gigantic stadium. The most emblematic monuments in the French capital appear, with the Eiffel Tower in its center. The Port of Marseille is also featured, where sailing events will be held. The dome of the Cathedral of Saint Louis des Invalides, in the upper left corner, has a spire pointing to the sky, instead of the Christian cross.

France at odds with its Christian tradition

In France, religion is a topic that always causes controversy. The state is officially secular, and since its revolution that put an end to the Ancien regime, France has been firmly anticlerical. This movement came to be consecrated at the end of the 19th century, with the Ferry laws, which completely expelled religion from education and public institutions. This is despite the country's Christian past, which has oscillated between Catholicism and Protestantism, with a prevalence of the former.

Currently, the country is subject to a new wave of repression of Catholicism with an influx of North African immigration, bringing the country more followers of Islam, which is spreading rapidly in much of Europe.