Monday, October 30, 2006

A society without crosses or veils

So the ideal of a society where no visible public signs of religion would be seen -- no crosses around necks, no sidelocks, turbans or veils -- is a politically dangerous one. It assumes that what comes first in society is the central political “licensing authority”, which has all the resource it needs to create a workable public morality.
While there is truth in this, in that it is disturbing for a government to have the authority to regulate religion, the reverse is also treacherous.

Gang symbols have been outlawed in many contexts, and religions -- particularly the Abrahamic religions -- have become little more than street gangs, only on a much larger scale. Nations that are primarily Christian or Jewish are at war with the Islamic world, and the crosses and turbans have been reduced to the equivalent of red and blue bandanas, and like these rival street gangs, the Christian Right in the U.S. and the "Islamo-fascists" of the Middle East have far more in common than either side would ever admit. The prohibition of such religious symbols in public would make sense for the same reasons.

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