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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Targeting Personal Religious Appearances

Category: Religion
Posted: 01/30/17 15:16

by Dave Mindeman

The far right politics in Europe is causing more and more discriminatory policies to be considered. Take for example, Austria:

Austria is planning to ban the Muslim face veil in public places, the centrist coalition government said today as it announced a package of policies aimed at countering the growing appeal of the far-right opposition Freedom Party (FPO).

If a Muslim woman chooses to express her faith in this way, why should there be an allowance for governmental sanction?

OK, so because a lot of people seem to take some personal offense at this visible symbol of the Islamic faith, Austria feels compelled to make a national law to ban it?

That's crazy.

That would be like a Muslim dominated country demanding that a Christian never wear a cross of any kind on their person. I would assume that a regulation like this would be offensive to evangelicals, correct? In fact, I would say that they would consider this a persecution of their faith, right?

So why should this type of persecution be tolerated against other religions. The Muslim face veil is not some kind of assault. It is not going to affect anyone else in any way.

I would hope that saner, rational people in authority would not carry this through. But then, Trump like politics are becoming the norm and so I imagine that Austria will get suckered into this. These right wing parties are using fearmongering and frankly, nonsensical ideas, to gain electoral advantage. A false advantage based on false policies.

The world is not in a good place right now and if this continues we will be headed for an even darker place in the future.

The outward trappings of any religion should be off limits to political dialogue and especially to government regulation.

We still have kind of a fence between church and state, right? Could we get Trump to build his wall there?
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First Amendment Rights: Health Care? Muslim Food?

Category: Religion
Posted: 05/22/15 12:30

by Dave Mindeman

Let me postulate something. First take a look at this:

An Islamic women's 'advocacy group' is DEMANDING a county in Minnesota change its food stamp policies to require a low-price, halal food shelf. The Isuroon Project says there is a 'desperate need' for a culturally specific halal food shelf in the metro area which would cost taxpayers more than $150,000! So far government leaders haven't budged on this issue.

This story was on a conservative site and of course the rhetoric got intense:

In the private market, the food of your choice is always available as grocery stores and markets will always meet consumer demand. But this project is about fending off hunger - a supposedly temporary program to keep people from starving to death. To create a bill for the county to fullfill the needs of their religious beliefs isn't about religious freedom... It is about violating the rights of taxpayers.

Food (pun intended) for thought.

How is a religious request for Muslim food different from a Christian request to make healthcare conform to their beliefs?

First Amendment rights? I'm just asking.
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Religion Is Not An Excuse For Discrimination

Category: Religion
Posted: 03/30/15 11:05

by Dave Mindeman

I have a difficult time with how religious "freedom" is defined in this country. There seems to be a prevailing belief that what I consider a religious tenet allows me to impose my belief on people I interact with.

This Indiana law that allows business owners to deny services to LGBT clients is a means to hide discriminatory actions behind a religious barricade. It is simply wrong and should not stand under our Constitution.

I have the same problem with the Hobby Lobby ruling on health insurance. Can a business owner who operates a public business impose his or her religious beliefs on employees or customers? I can't believe there is any answer other than NO.

A rather extreme case of this has circulated regarding a business owner who called in to a local Indiana radio talk show:

The business owner, who would not give his name or the name of his business, said he had told some LGBT "people" that equipment was broken in his restaurant and he couldn't serve them even though it wasn't and other people were already eating at the tables. "So, yes, I have discriminated," he told RadioNOW 100.9 hosts. The hosts were surprised the owner said he was okay with discriminating.

That must be some pretty strong "religious" convictions that would allow you to lie so that you can discriminate.

Using religion as some kind of excuse to deny servicing people that you find objectionable is hardly a matter of conviction. Businesses provide services period. Providing those services is not some a defacto acceptance of any particular religion or bias or even a person's sexual orientation. It is a business transaction. Businesses transactions dealing with the public aren't a judgment call - it's just business.

When a business owner singles out a particular class of people to withhold those services from, then it cannot be described as anything other than a discriminatory policy. Please leave religion out of it.

The world has used religion as an excuse for some pretty destructive behavior.

It is time we just said....no more.
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