All men who volunteer are treated the same way and have the same opportunities. These are based on assessed abilities, aptitude and performance. No special preferences are catered for. All recruits do everything together, they eat the same food, wear the same clothes, sing the same songs, follow the same rules, face the same restrictions, endure the same punishments and are subject to the same tests. The cohesive whole of the unit takes precedence over individuality. Belief is encouraged, the belief in the Legion and in the Legionnaire as a being whole-heartedly committed to the ethos, values and success of the Legion.
There is no such thing as an official Church Parade. France is a secular republic, which acknowledges that many of its citizens profess a faith. The Legion has Padres of various ilk and quite a few of the officers traditionally come from “ultra-Catholic” families; but Legion routine, duties and tasks have priority over the wish to express one’s faith. Nothing stops you from doing that in a quiet, private moment.
The point is that quiet, private moments tend not to exist in the first year of a Legionnaire’s contract and then they are few and far between until he is promoted to “Caporal-Chef” or “Sergent” and moves out of communal barrack-block accommodation.
One of the best platoon commanders and company sergeant majors that I have ever known was a Tunisian Muslim. I knew many other Muslim Legionnaires, some Jews, a smattering of various Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, Shintoists, Animists, etc. And of course a lot of the varied Christian denominations as well as a goodly few ungodly unbelievers. They all conformed to the Legion standard. That takes precedence. Oh, and everyone celebrates Christmas, but nobody is obliged to attend Midnight Mass, though turning up at your makeshift platoon bar (open for the twelve days of Chrimbo) after the obligatory Christmas Eve meal in each regiment, is a social obligation that you owe to your muckers.
The Legion takes unit cohesion extremely seriously. Excessive affirmation of individual preferences is regarded as detrimental to the object of having a well-honed fighting machine. A Legionnare is but a cog in that machine, dependent on the smooth functioning of all the other cogs around him. The first year of a Legionnaire’s contract conditions him to accept that. After that he is aware that he belongs to a family, that in return for his service will protect and support him throughout his career and beyond if necessary.
Terms and conditions of service are very good. Legionnaires are fed, watered, clothed and housed. They are not fleeced to pay for this. Medical and dental care is excellent. The French have not abolished military hospitals. Pay and leave are great (after the first year). Pension plans are well funded and there are many benefits for veterans. The social contract is upheld.
So, the reaction from serving Legionnaires to this recruiting campaign would likely encompass disbelief, sadness, amazement and ridicule. If something like this were to be forced on the Legion it would destroy it.