Archive for ‘April, 2011’

France Takes Hard Line Against Burqa

datePosted on 21:34, April 12th, 2011 by Kosmic Kurt

Yesterday French police arrested two women who violated the new French law prohibiting full veils being worn in public. The law officially does not call out burqas, the traditional Muslim garb which denigrates women to second class citizens in most Muslim countries, but rather carefully refers to covering ones face. From a security point-of-view the French most certainly have a right to request that one’s identity can be clarified. Terrorism is something that we Americans have very little first-hand knowledge of. In Europe it is a much different situation. The law requires that anyone wearing a full facial veil or mask in public must remove it when asked to for identification purposes. I feel the law is reasonable. But more importantly, from a Humanist point-of-view, full facial veils, specifically the burqa, when worn for religious reasons, are an intolerable attack upon women. Islam is one of the most cruelest and inhumane religious when it comes to the treatment of women. The French pride themselves on individual freedoms. Although, at first, it may seem counterintuitive, the ban on the veils is correct. The less-than-one-percent of the French Muslim women who insist on wearing a burqa in public can be subject to arrest and a fine of 250 Euros. Other European countries are considering similar laws. Here in the United States it is doubtful that anything of the sort would ever happen. But then again, there are decency laws which prohibit inappropriate clothing – and lack of clothing, in public places. It is not okay to wear clothing with vulgar or profane pictures or language – especially in public places where children may be exposed to it. But then, what is considered vulgar and profane may differ from one area to another. Either way, the burqa is offensive against women and provides a security risk. I support the French.

Voting in Christian Brown Deer

datePosted on 18:24, April 5th, 2011 by Kosmic Kurt

Brown Deer is a small Milwaukee suburb of about twelve thousand people. Today as I went to vote at the Lutheran church that had its community room transformed into a polling center, I was keenly aware of the paper crucifix proudly thumb-tacked to the bulletin board between the cutout pictures of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. My leering gaze was interrupted by a cordial salutation from one of the volunteers who knows me by name. I smiled and said, “Good morning.” As my gaze returned to the offending icon, representing thousands of years of oppression and bloody killing, I was interrupted again by another smiling face issuing another genuinely friendly salutation. Should I stand out of the line I was in and make a scene and demand that the offending 12” piece of paper be removed. After all it is the principle of the matter. I was genuinely offended. On the other hand, this is my community and these simple people meant me no harm. Why should I ruin their day and by the angry atheist? In the end, I decided not to say anything. I went and voted and promptly left the church.

Those of you who know me, know what a difficult position I was forced into by the ignorant Christian majority of Brown Deer. I suppose I justified my inaction by rationalizing it was a matter of degrees. Had the cross been larger, had there been someone preaching in the room, I would have been forced to take action. But the little paper cross was so small. And yet, it was large enough to offend me. I decided I will send a letter to the Village President and perhaps someone at the state election board just so they are aware of the situation. Legal precedent would not be in my favor if I filed a formal complaint. Curious if anyone else has had a similar situation?