Message to the American Religious Freedom Program

As I see it religious freedom means the right to choose what package of religious beliefs one will embrace or to choose none. It does not mean one may display his/her choice in the eyes of others without limit. In that regard one is subject to the consensus of the whole population as to what is appropriate dress or sufficient dress in particular public places. Such rules prohibit nudity in public, for example. In addition, a particular style of dress that identifies a person as a member of a particular group can tend to divide people and is exacerbated if that group is generally disliked. Ostentatious bikers have this problem for example. Therefore, I think the criticism of religious garb in public places has a valid basis. This is especially true if that garb signifies that a woman is the chattel of some man which seriously conflicts with the Western World’s concept of human rights. The strength of the criticism will probably vary from place to place in accordance with public consensus.

Filed under: Comments to NGO's | October 30th, 2013