Friday, March 03, 2006

Accommodation

The Supreme Court has just ruled that the Sikh religious symbol, the kirpan, a ceremonial dagger, cannot be banned from the nation's schools. Basic religious freedoms trump security concerns.

I'm surprised, pleasantly, on a couple of scores here.

First of all, that at this point in post-9/11 time, the Court can make such a ruling. I think it speaks well of our confidence as a nation. We're not going to be cowed into putting paranoia over civility. We're not going to overreact. We're going to keep our perspective, remember who we are to one another, and focus on real threats -- not hermetically seal our culture off from any conceivable threat, smothering it to death in the attempt. I think this was the right decision.

...Which is the other thing that surprises me: that I think this is the right decision. When I was in my teens and early 20s, I would have been dead set against this decision. I would have seen it strictly as "I can't do that, why should he be able to?" But as I get older, I don't know... I'm less worried about absolute equality as practical equality. Now I can see the difference. This is something central to someone else's religious identity, not mine. For them, it's crucial. For me, it isn't. For them to carry a kirpan is a matter of who they are. For me, it would be nothing but a concealed weapon; there's no other reason for me to carry it. And now I can admit that those are not the same thing, not at all. I don't know when or how my attitude changed, but I do remember disagreeing with the ruling that let Sikhs wear turbans instead of hats in the RCMP. Now that seems small and petty to me.

I think Canada is a better place for this ruling. This was the right call.

7 comments:

David Wozney said...

Can Christians wear swords in sheaths?

Jesus said unto the apostles: "...he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one". (Luke 22:36)

Jesus instructed Peter: "...Put up thy sword into the sheath...". (John 18:11)

Jesus said: "...thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it". (Matthew 16:18)

Lone Primate said...

Can Christians wear swords in sheaths?

If it were a routine part of our culture, you wouldn't have to ask that question, would you?

Jesus said: "...thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it". (Matthew 16:18)

If there's a sword reference in that one, it's a little ambiguous, I'm afraid. :)

Polt said...

Can we here in the USA trade a few Supreme Court justices with you Candians? please? Hell, I'll give ya Scalia and Thomas BOTH, for just one of yours! And maybe throw in Roberts and ALito too! 4 for 1! What a bargain, eh?

L-girl said...

Polt: Canadians are very friendly, but they're not insane! :)

LP, I just nominated you for a Koufax Award, in the Best Commenter category. I didn't know they had such a category, so my nomination was a little late. I'll have to wait and see if they accept it.

The Best Commenter posts are here, although my comment isn't appearing yet.

Lone Primate said...

Hi, Polt! Well, I know a way you can get all nine to have for your very own... but I think you'd be better off asking Laura about that than me. ;)

LP, I just nominated you for a Koufax Award, in the Best Commenter category.

Wow, Laura, thank you! That's very kind and very flattering. :)

I'd like to say "I'm speechless" but you know me better than that. :D

L-girl said...

I'd like to say "I'm speechless" but you know me better than that. :D

LOL... yes, indeed. I'm glad you're flattered, but it was meant most sincerely.

On the topic of this post, I was also proud of Canada for sending such a clear signal. Sometimes the difference between the two neighbours couldn't be clearer.

Masnick96 said...

Really interesting post. I was kind of confused about the ruling, but reading what you said made sense. Thanks.