Religious Freedom in France

France is considering making it illegal for for Jews and Muslims to practice inherent religious practices, but in exchange for making these practices illegal, they’ll choose one holiday from each religion and make it official. That should make everyone happy, right?

To quote Reuters:
France is considering breaking centuries of European tradition by making an Islamic feast and a Jewish holy day official school holidays.

“Surprisingly, the idea came from a government commission aiming to bolster the official separation of church and state. Its report suggested banning Muslim veils, Jewish skullcaps and large Christian crosses in public schools.”

Yes – Traditional Islam requires female adherents to wear veils. Traditional Judaism requires male adherents to wear skullcaps. (Yes, there are liberal, modern groupings in both religions that ignore these commandments)

But essentially this commission is suggesting forcing all observant members of these two religions out of the public schools, but also adding their religious holidays to the official holidays, so the less observant students can celebrate them along with those members of other faiths.

Absolutely Ingenius.

0 thoughts on “Religious Freedom in France

  1. the shaigetz

    funny. Actually the idea of banning the veil is a particularly stupid move by a government who has suddenly realised what their liberal tolerance has cost them and are hastily bolting the door. Making the religious holidays official i think is a good idea because at leat the younger generation of muslims in the state schools will hear about a judaism that their parents never told them about.

  2. Hagrinas

    Having an official religious holiday will teach people little if anything about Judaism or Islam. In the US, we have an offical Christ Mass holiday. What has that taught our children? My six-year-old son asked me yesterday why he’s not Christian any more. I told him that he never was. He still seemed disappointed because he remembers Santa coming to his class in preschool. Last month he came home from school and explained to me how Santa comes out on Christmas and gives toys to every child in the world except him. I don’t want him to expect toys from Santa, but I can’t say that their “separate but equal” treatment of religion is working either.

    Having a religious holiday will teach nothing, especially if the school is closed. What’s important is recognizing people’s rights to their own religion and teaching about religious freedom and tolerance on days that are not holidays.

    Children in France should learn the history of Jews and Muslims in France instead. It will do a lot more to put things in perspective.

    When I was growing up in the US, the history books were about white Christian males. The history of Jews was not there. When we studied European history, one got the impression that either there were no Jews or Jews were doing the same things as everybody else. Neither was true. If you ask most Americans about the Inquisition, they will have a vague idea about something that happened in the Middle Ages. When you tell them that it didn’t end until the 20th century, most people are quite surprised. They don’t know about the pogroms and the torture and the ghettos and the laws that prohibited Jews from conducting most kinds of business or even speaking to Christians in most cases. They don’t know that Jews were arrested for leaving their own neighborhoods or that Children were taken away from their parents and put in Christan homes or that husbands and wives were separated and the only chance of getting their children back was to convert. They don’t know about Jews who were tortured under the most extreme conditions in order to get a “confession” whenever they needed to find a scapegoat for a crime. I’m not talking about bright lights and rubber hoses here. I’m talking about being dragged until one’s feet are just bloody stumps and then tied to a rope and stretched in agonizing positions for days on end. This just scratches the surface of what was not taught when I was in school and no blog post could do justice to it.

    What’s needed is education, not games. France did not historically have a great deal of tolerance as they believe. They are essentially trying to single out Muslims here. Since no religion has a ban on head coverings, it’s simply a matter of adopting a dress code that works for everybody. They don’t need a religious holiday if they have no state religion. They need to respect all religious holidays and allow the schools to recognize the rights of individuals to observe them.