Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Off with the habit, sister!

Some Republicans have been speaking up and saying they wish Barak Obama would be more like French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Considering the Republican obsession with French cowardice and perfidy, it's remarkable in itself, but Sarko made a rather more blustery statement about Iran and tyranny than did Obama and bluster is what Republican foreign policy has come to be.

I have no doubt that some Republicans, including those who fill my mail box with serial hoaxes about foreign leaders railing and howling about throwing out the Muslims, would be quite happy with such a president and his support of a ban on religious attire in France - at least as it pertains to Islamic attire.

France has launched a parliamentary inquiry into whether women should be allowed to wear the burqa in public. Sarkozy is on record as saying it's "not welcome" in France. Consistency requires, at least in a land of Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité, banning other forms of sartorial identification, such as Sikh turbans, large Christian crucifixes and Jewish yarmulkes as well and so it is proposed. I'm unable to discern their attitude toward the Roman Catholic burqa as worn by nuns, but I'm sure some accommodation could be reached.

Because we are a secular government, not a Christian one, our US constitution protects the freedom to practice our various religions as we choose and it's hard to see any such legislation being proposed here, but it must be of comfort to our resident bigots to know their favorite "surrender monkeys" are considering the surrender of another increment of freedom in service of bigotry and xenophobia.


  1. Well put, 8PUS! I can't wait to read what the anti-French Republicans in Congress have to say about this.

    I've never understood the fuss certain religions make about covering one's head with respect to respecting a god.

    In the old days, Catholic women HAD to cover their heads in church and men HAD to uncover theirs, but in the Jewish religion, men HAD to cover their heads--orthodox--always, not so orthodox, only in temple. Now Catholic women DON'T have to cover their heads!

    Islam requires women to keep their heads either completely or partially covered.

    Human beings spend an awful lot of time worrying over whether or not their gods want to look at their heads. And they seem to be quite confused about it all.

  2. What most Americans do NOT know about France: There is an extreme hard rightwing faction as virulently anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, white supremacist, and xenophobic as any hate group in the U.S. Their dominant spokesperson has been Jean-Marie Le Pen, leader of the National Front party which polls about 22% in national elections. Le Pen is the French equivalent of David Duke.

    Sarkozy’s position on the wearing of Burqas and other religious apparel is harder to explain. Sarkozy’s heritage is Hungarian-Jewish, and one would think Sarko holds more tolerant views, at least with regards to the wearing of Yarmulkes, but in fact Sarko is mirroring the views of his mentor and predecessor, former President Jacques Chirac, who disdained the wearing of all religious garb.

    Although France is overwhelmingly Catholic (about 83%), the secular ideal is tied to the meaning of läicité as expressed in Article 1 of the 1958 Constitution which states:

    France shall be an indivisible, secular, democratic and social Republic. It shall ensure the equality of all citizens before the law, without distinction of origin, race or religion. It shall respect all beliefs.”

    In practice, what this really means is: “We hold no prejudices against anyone as long as you become French.”

  3. BTW, this is Captain Fogg's article.

  4. I could care less about religious garb but if we get clothing police, I want a ban against wearing your pants around your knees! And letting your underwear hang out the back! And no public crotch pulling! And girls must wear underwear!

  5. Rocky, at my age, it is best we don't all walk around nekked ... especially cephalopods!

  6. LOL Rocky, don't ya just hate that. Don't worry my boys won't ever be wearing their pants like that or they will just be asking for a permanent weggie.

    I find this oddly ironic that France, with the "que sera sera" attitude they always seem to have suddenly becoming clothing police. I'm not sure why the burqa is any different than a nun's habit. (great point by the way)

    I can see clothing restrictions in certain circumstances, like they are not allowed to wear trench coat because of the school shooting or a certain uniform in jail, etc.

    Octo.....I'm with you on that. You can come to Jersey without worrying about me streaking across the street! :-)

  7. This article just appeared at Alternet. Please note the same use of term, läicité mentioned in my comment above, within the same context.

  8. Very good. Once again does the wearing of a nun's habit indicate she's being oppressed as long as she's free to make the decision on her own?

    What about the plain Amish clothes? No, when they ban the Burka, I will wear a taliban turban until they pry it from my old gray head.

    It's not that I don't dislike coercive religions, it's that I value freedom more.

  9. This story kind of slipped by me. I thought it was remarkably weird at the time I read the headline. Not at all clear what they hope to accomplish.


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