Tucker Carlson Guest Says French Among Most 'Godless' People in the Western World During Notre Dame Fire Segment

Conservative commentator Mark Steyn said the French were “among the most godless people” in the modern Western world during a Notre Dame fire segment on Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight.

The spire and most of the roof of France's historic Notre Dame Cathedral collapsed during an enormous fire on Monday that broke out around 6 p.m. local time, just minutes after the landmark was closed to the public. Despite warnings by a French Interior Ministry official that firefighters may not be able to save the building earlier in the day, officials late on Monday evening confirmed that the two towers have been saved.

During a segment on Carlson's show Monday, the show's host and Steyn discussed the alleged decline of Christianity in France in light of the fire. Carlson began by conditioning that “were not speculating about the cause of this fire.”

“Though it happened, as [Fox News correspondent] Trace Gallagher noted, at the beginning of Holy Week,” the Fox News host continued. “And it is not the only church that has caught fire in France in the last year, we've seen quite a few desecrations of churches. Again not saying that this is one of them."

"Give us a sense of the scale of what's been happening,” Carlson asked his guest.

“Christendom is in retreat in Europe, and in France particularly - France has actually quite an aggressive belief in secularism and according to some polls, the French are even by the standards of the modern Western world among the most godless people in that sense,” Steyn said.

Although it is unclear which polls Steyn was referring to, figures in a report called "Europe's Young Adults and Religion" by professor Stephen Bullivant from St. Mary's University in London, found that France's youth, aged between 16 and 29, are the eighth-least religious in Europe, with roughly 60 percent surveying identifying with no religion, reported The Guardian. Czech Republic, Estonia, Sweden, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Hungary and Belgium were countries that displayed higher numbers of youth who identified with no religion.

Another analysis by Pew Research Center in December 2018 found that France's religious commitment among adults was higher compared to other European nations In the analysis, 34 countries were ranked by four individual measures of religiosity: Importance of religion, worship attendance, frequency of prayer and belief in God. Based on the analysis, France was deemed the ninth-least religious country in Europe, with Germany, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Belgium, Sweden, Czech Republic, Denmark and Estonia all found to be less religious.

Later in the segment, the conservative commentator detailed a trip he took to France in 2016, where he visited the Rouen Cathedral for the funeral of French Catholic priest Jacques Hamel and the Basilica of Saint-Denis. It's basically “a Christian museum in the heart of what is now a Muslim suburb in effect,” Steyn said. “There is no sense of Christianity outside of the walls of that cathedral.”

Steyn also said he visited Notre Dame only to find that the “living, breathing faith is just becoming actually a museum. An art gallery. A storage facility.”

“The French who were on the streets in tears this evening, on the streets of Paris - I don't think they're mourning just history or architecture or art or culture,” he added. “They are mourning something else. But what that something else post-Christian France can't quite identify it.”

A Pew Research Center survey of religious beliefs and practices in Western Europe, released May 2018, found that although a large portion of adults in the region do not describe themselves as Christian or go to church, most are still baptized and do consider themselves to be Christian. The study also found that in most Western European countries non-practicing Christians still make up the largest share of the population.

According to the survey conducted between April-August 2017, 46 percent of France identified as non-practicing Christians, 28 percent as religiously unaffiliated, 18 percent as church-attending Christians and 8 percent as other or didn't know.

Through interviews with over 24,000 adults, nearly half of whom were non-practicing Christians, the Pew Research Center study found that the “religious, political and cultural views” of the non-practicing group differed from those who attend church or claim no-religion.

“Most church-attending Christians say they believe in the biblical depiction of God,” the study said. “Non-practicing Christians tend to express more positive than negative views toward churches and religious organizations, saying they serve society by helping the poor and bringing communities together.”