Monday, November 27, 2006

Religious Exhibitionism?

I found this this editorial via The Center for Arizona Policy, a group I've agreed with approximately never. So it's notable that in this case, I agree with them. (Write this down in your calendars! It might be another sign of the apocalypse...)

The Arizona Republic editorial, which CAP and I agree is ridiculous, espouses the view that faith rammed down others' throats is not a good thing.

Yet these days, people don't just want to practice their religion, they want to slap you in the face with it. They demand society's reverence for acting on personal religious convictions.

Okay, I agree with this in theory--I don't like people slapping me in the face with religion, either. But then she goes on to describe things like Muslims wearing burqas and Jews wearing yarmulkes as "religious exhibitionism." Uh, no it isn't. It's a requirement of that faith. Asking a devout Muslim woman to expose her hair would be like telling me I have to walk around topless. Do we really want to be in the business of telling people they're not allowed to dress modestly?

The writer goes on to say that people sometimes need protection from religion and cites the Warren Jeffs case. Come on. Is she really making the case that a Muslim woman covering her face infringes on my personal rights the same way someone else forcing me to marry him when I'm only 13 would? Are we really so easily offended that someone else wearing religious garb in our presence is a threat?

Yes, there are some things that religion should not force on us. It shouldn't require us to wear religious garb, for example. Tell me I'm required by law to cover my face with a burqa and I'm gonna get testy. But not allow someone to choose to do so? That's absurd. I can handle seeing a man in a yarmulke without feeling like he's shoving his Jewish faith down my throat, thankyouverymuch.

We need to be reasonable. People of faith--like everyone else--have a responsibility to be sensitive to others who don't share that faith, but we all have a responsibility to not be so oversensitive that a mere sign of a faith not our own is an affront. Let Muslims have their burqas and Jews their yarmulkes and Wiccans their pagan symbols and atheists whatever symbol of their views they want and I'll keep wearing my cross (when I get around to fixing its chain, that is). If we can't make the distinction between something I merely disagree with or don't think is necessary and an actual infringement on my personal rights, we as a society are in serious trouble.


At 3:26 AM, Blogger Paula said...

Wow. Talk about going to the opposite extreme!

Yes. There is a line for me between religion and politics. I don't believe that religious symbols of any type should be in our government buildings. In a personal space because it's someone's beliefs? Fine. But the government entity putting up a symbol is not right.

But this going to the opposite extreme and dictating that people cannot wear symbols of their belief is ridiculous. It is not slapping you in the face with religion. It's their religious belief.

Now, if that person came up to me and started screaming at me to put on a scarf of burqua when I wasn't in their place of worship? Yeah. That's shoving it in my face. That's not right.

But to ban it from everyday life is stupid and intolerant. It is in no way inflammatory. People who have issues with it need to learn to live with those who are different. If they can't, then it's up to society to correct them.

I'd like to see the Christian Fundamentalists (TM) (aka, the Christian extremists) be told they can't wear a crucifix around their necks. How interested would they be then in this whole banning of religious symbols?

At 5:11 AM, Blogger Bad Methodist said...

'd like to see the Christian Fundamentalists (TM) (aka, the Christian extremists) be told they can't wear a crucifix around their necks. How interested would they be then in this whole banning of religious symbols?

It isn't Christians of any stripe who support this. The editorial writer was supporting complete secularism, including no crosses. It's anti relgion of all kinds.

At 9:20 AM, Blogger Dr. Don said...

One of the comments Ms. Valdez makes is that religion is an extremely personal, private expression. This decidedly post-modern notion is in direct contradiction with nearly every major religious tradition. Even Buddhists will freely share their "faith" with those they come in contact with because any meaningful religious belief includes the notion that your beliefs make your life better. And if they make your life better, there is the chance that they may improve someone else's life as well.

To hold such a gift privately is not commendable, it is selfishness of the highest form.

At 9:38 PM, Anonymous Larry B said...

I just left Alan Bevere's blog and he has this comment on a similar subject:

"Perhaps being around people who have strong convictions reinforces to them their own lack of faith in anything significant"

It's so true that the things that offend people tell more about the person being offended than the person supposedly doing the offending.


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