In the news today…
Sarkozy Says Burqas 'Not Welcome' in France
PARIS -- President Nicolas Sarkozy lashed out Monday at the practice of wearing the Muslim burqa, insisting the full-body religious gown is a sign of the "debasement" of women and that it won't be welcome in France.
The French leader expressed support for a recent call by dozens of legislators to create a parliamentary commission to study a small but growing trend of wearing the full-body garment in France.
In the first presidential address in 136 years to a joint session of France's two houses of Parliament, Mr. Sarkozy laid out his support for a ban even before the panel has been approved -- braving critics who fear the issue is a marginal one and could stigmatize Muslims in France.
"In our country, we cannot accept that women be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity," Mr. Sarkozy said to extended applause in a speech at the Chateau of Versailles, southwest of Paris.
"The burqa is not a religious sign, it's a sign of subservience, a sign of debasement -- I want to say it solemnly," he said. "It will not be welcome on the territory of the French Republic."
This is flat out dangerous. France is a modern nation, in existence for hundreds of years. This seems so out of place in a free democracy. It also makes me think of my wife. She covers her head in public. Will that be outlawed? Will headcoverings have to go underground? It seems a bit of a leap but that is how this sort of thing starts. Grab the easiest mark and then incrementally make changes. I am sure many people (including many in the church) look at the practice of Christian women covering their heads and see it as oppressive even though headcovering is expressly commanded in the Bible and was the practice among Christians for centuries. Even though my wife covers her head voluntarily, I can imagine the argument that would say she is conditioned to do so or secretly forced by the oppressive patriarchy of Christianity and that banning headcoverings is for her own good even if she doesn’t realize it.
I don’t care for the wearing of burqas. On the other hand, it makes me more than a bit uneasy that a Western democracy is contemplating legislation to ban the wearing of a garment, especially one singled out because of religious implications. They have already banned some attire in France…
France enacted a law in 2004 banning the Islamic headscarf and other conspicuous religious symbols from public schools, sparking fierce debate at home and abroad.
Granted France is not America (in that we don’t generally allow the Germans to invade our country periodically) but there are many Americans who look across the pond to Europe and see what they wish America would become. Are we headed for a future where there is rampant, state approved immorality but where outward expressions of religious belief are banned? That seems alarmist but look at the pace of societal collapse we are experiencing now. There are plenty of busybodies who would applaud France for banning burqas and would like to see the same thing here.