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1 7, 2:53am
I'm going to go through your comment backwards, because I have decided I hate the idea of time, too.
The thing about crosses I think is pretty clearly just the inverse of the case I gave - if crosses are allowed as part of gothic-esque images, they should be allowed for religious reasons too.
I mean, I do see the point in not allowing Christian symbols as part of the design of government buildings, but I'd be equally uncomfortable with, say, socialist ones. They give the feeling that at any moment someone is going to try and start legislating morality.
The burqa, on the other hand... I did think about it, but to me, if it is possible to make an exception to the general rule for someone who has particular religious convictions, it should be equally possible to make a similar exception for everyone. Or at least for everyone who wants to wear a burqa the whole time, regardless of motive. I mean, that would probably mostly be Muslims, but I personally support the right of Buddhists to wear burqas if they want to, even if it's not part of their religion.
Which is kind of my position on religious freedom in general - I'm not convinced it *should* be protected, or at least that it shouldn't be merged into a more general protection for freedom of conscience. After all, most religions can be described as simply a set of moral and factual beliefs.
Either a law is so important that exceptions to it cannot be allowed even for religious belief (no human sacrifice), or we *can* make an exception for religion, in which case said law is probably too strict in the first place.
I'd even argue that recognising religions can make protection of religious freedom weaker, since that also means that the state can decide what *isn't* a religion. All a state has to do to get around religious freedom is just refuse to recognise something as a religion. Like in the comic.
And sure, we all hate Scientology - but suppose some country were to decide that Islam is a cult? Because I can kinda see that happening. A wider protection doesn't prevent the possibility, but it might make things harder.