Monday, June 22, 2009

Ross understands...

... secularism:

Secularism should mean refusing to grant any special place in public life to religion or religious institutions, not actively preventing religious expression.

UPDATE: I've clarified what I think about secularism and the burka here.


alison said...

Ross is wrong. Sarkozy is right. Generally right on this issue but right about French secularism when it comes down to it. Which he balances with liberty equality and fraternity as well he should. Ross doesn't get French secularism in its republican context or equality context, at all by that sentence you highlighted.

Peter Risdon said...

I'll post about this, I think, but Ross understands secularism and it's important that more people do. As for Sarkozy, he specifically pointed out that "The problem of the burka is not a religious problem, it's a problem of liberty and women's dignity. It's not a religious symbol, but a sign of subservience and debasement." That's absolutely right. The burka should be banned. It is a social and political symbol, not a religious one.

alison said...

Yes but the government backing him up all draw on this through French principles of secularism Peter.

I'm not opposed to secular principles completely. I see more wonderful and meaningful christian celebrations in France at Christmas and other numerous holidays than I ever would in the commercial West. In spite of French secularism and its appeal to the public on a number of levels, on the spiritual level 80% of French people in a huge poll conducted last year still relate to christianity and catholicism. 3% to Islam. Churches are full to overflowing at Christmas with young and old and the spirit of family born out of our scorned christianity is certainly deeper there than here where atheist and liberal styled indifference, objectification of women and crass commercialism rule the roost and could in part be blamed for more women adopting the veil.

Peter Risdon said...

I remember the ban on headscarves was justified in terms of secularism, but that concerned dress in public institutions and was, therefore, justified.

I haven't seen anyone argue this in terms of secularism - do you have a reference? As we know, Sarkozy specifically removed his argument from any terms of reference that might include secularism.

Secularism has nothing to do with the level of religious observance - the USA has a secular constitution and very high levels of observance. Secularism is the principle that religions do not have a place, as such, in public institutions.