Religious Exemptions

People who belong to religions often receive special exemptions from the law. For example, Sikhs are permitted to carry a dagger in places, such as airplanes, where everyone else must be unarmed. Muslim women cover their bodies head to toe and refuse to allow their faces to be looked at for police identification. Jehovah’s witnesses refuse blood transfusions for their children, even when it means death.

I don’t think there should be any religious exemptions from the law. It is wrong to give people of certain religions special privilege. Religious excuses amount to I don’t wanna and my friends who go to the same church don’t wanna either. At best, the justification amounts to tradition. There is no practical or rational motive. This is about the weakest reason to exempt the law.

On the other hand we should not make laws to suppress the people of a particular religion. There has to be a practical reason for the law. We must be willing to make reasonable accommodation, e.g. allow Sikhs to wear a dagger welded into a sheath, or carry one that is too blunt to harm anyone. We could allow Muslim women to go to a government agency where their identity could be checked by women. They could then get a high tech, temporary tattoo on the hand that could serve as id for the next few days at airports etc.

~ Roedy (1948-02-04 age:70)