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View Diary: The Swiss Vote against Religious Freedom (257 comments)

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  •  There are exactly 4 minarets (7+ / 0-)

    in Switzerland, as I wrote above. One of them is a tiny little thing in an industrial part of town.

    You are assuming, like Swiss voters, that a minaret anywhere equals a total distruction of the native culture. There are no minarets hulking in the middle of any Swiss village. That you just assume it is the case is rather scary.

    But don't let the facts get in your way.

    ¡¡Sí se pudo!!

    by Anak on Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 11:09:03 PM PST

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    •  I am not assuming anything (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      There has been a very aggressive campaign funded by wealthy Saudis to promote the establishment of traditional mosques and traditional religious authority everywhere that there are Muslims. Since there are to date probably few significant Muslim populations in Alpine villages the threat to traditional architecture and culture are fairly limited.

      On the other hand we have seen a similar development in Israel where the Haredi are increasingly demanding that all secular Jews adapt themselves to the Haredi rather than historically the other way around.

      I don't have anything against Muslims, but when as in Phoenix recently they decide to import honor killings I think I want to draw the line.

      Equally I am not anti-Semitic, but when recent immigrants (mostly) start rioting in Jerusalem because somebody operates a new parking lot on Saturday I think authorities should draw the line there.

      When I was a little boy there was little to no non-Christian programming on Sunday morning TV or AM radio in the United States and most stores were closed. Really it was only the introduction of televised football, golf and car racing that broke down that taboo. Not only don't I want fundamentalist Christians to take me back there, I don't want Ultra-Orthodox Jews, traditional Latin Rite Catholics, or Sharia advocating Muslims to insist on the same deference that white Protestant churches did back then.

      Secularism generally is under assault on many fronts in many countries. I really don't want to have to refight the Enlightenment.

      •  Oh, so your argument is against religion per se. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        capelza, lazybum

        So do you think this new policy against minarets should have included church spires?

        •  While I do not answer for the person above, (0+ / 0-)

          Personally, yes!  I would absolutely support such a measure, applying it equally to all religions.  I live in England and Christian architecture has become part of the fabric of this country over a thousand and more years, therefore it would be difficult to reverse that situation. A law, however, similar to the Swiss one, applied to ALL modern religious architecture, of any faith, absolutely.

          Religious architecture is about projecting power and authority. It shouts "I stand here as the sole arbiter of truth and wisdom, bow down to me."  This can be seen now in the modern skyscrapers, temples to the worship of the modern god, WEALTH.

          I would also advocate another reform, removing the tax exempt status of all religions.  Frequently nowadays the 'church' be it Islam, Christian or other uses it's position of authority within the community to peddle a political view, while claiming a special right of protection from criticism.  No more should this be tolerated, if religion wants to play in the political arena then it should pay it's taxes and to use an American euphemism 'take it's licks'.

          In all the problems of the world, religion has never been the solution.

          •  So where do you draw the line? (2+ / 0-)
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            capelza, Anak

            Do we stop at architectural regulation or should we go a bit further?  Should we prohibit people from wearing anything that identifies a religion?  Or maybe prohibit anyone from publishing religious materials?

            No offense, but religious hostility isn't a very democratic position.

        •  'Should have' (0+ / 0-)

          Well I would certainly go with 'could have'. And to the extent that a new church was architecturally out of scale or design with some particular city or town would not object.

          My main point is that cities and towns bar all kinds of structures and uses and often enough architectural features for all kinds of reasons.

          In Europe and American cities and towns grew up often enough centered on a cathedral or church, it is a little late to unring that bell. But these days it is just not true that you could just build a church anywhere you wanted with a steeple or not. On the other hand trying to ban minarets while allowing steeples probably wouldn't pass constitutional muster.

          On my website I put up a post called 'A Minaret at Stonehenge' asking if people would take religious freedom quite that far in their own back yard with their own cultural icons. Or would that be different somehow.

      •  I'm disgusted with the charedi rioting (0+ / 0-)

        in Jerusalem. But this is actually more parallel to the situation in Switzerland: The Ashkenazic charedim have been in Jerusalem for almost 200 years, long before any of the secular or national-religious Jews.

        All my IP addresses have been banned from

        by charliehall on Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 06:49:24 AM PST

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