Before you read any further, read the following article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8113778.stm
Now that you’ve read that, I’m going to comment.
What’s my initial reaction? They’re still missing the point. Quote from the article:
“[Nicholas Sarkozy] expressed his strong distaste for the head-to-toe Islamic veil, calling it not a sign of religion but a sign of subservience.”
Sadly, this “head-to-toe Islamic veil”, goes hand-in-hand with much of Islamic doctrine and teaching. Yes, it is a sign of subservience. Yes, it is in fact a sign of subservience that the Koran and many Muslims want. I don’t see the Burka as anything other than one of the many methods Satan has invented to oppress the crowning jewel of God’s creation.
That being said, the fact of the matter is that the Burka goes hand-in-hand with much of Islam, and you cannot force someone to without the Burka without infringing on their freedom of religion. It’s like asking some of my friends to wear a Bikini while swimming or that Amish can’t wear their Colonial Era clothing, doing so would go against their beliefs and I don’t think anyone would dare to force them to do so.
This article, to me, shows how people have failed to realize that religions are not just beliefs and religious acts; they are living, breathing things that infect people at every level. When someone adheres to a brand of Islam (I say brand because there are various sects and groups, like there are in Christianity) they agree with beliefs of that sect, and should act upon those beliefs. The belief that one should pray five times a day means that if you truly believe that you WILL pray five times a day. The belief that women should wear a Burka means that you will do your best to make your female relatives and the women around you wear Burkas. Both of these things stem from Islam and to forbid either is a breach of Freedom of Religion.
Despite all this: that much of Islam and many other religions have creeds and laws that go directly against what God teaches in the Bible, as far as I can tell, Freedom of Religion remains a powerful and important right. The United States’ Constitution has Freedom of Religion in it and I belief that this right remains one of mankind’s most important rights. However, I struggle with the fact that I see much injustice in the religions around me. What some people have done in the name of their religion (and atheism counts as a religion, by the way) disturbs me in ways beyond belief. So the question I pose, constantly is this: Where do we draw the line? When do we say, “live and let live?” and “No! You can’t do that!”? How to we respect one’s religion when we know that doing so means accepting, to quote Monty Python, the violence (or injustice) inherent in the system?