Archive for women and religion

Why Britain will not follow France on the Burka Debate

Posted in Politics, Religion with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2009 by neandergal

In light of President Sarkozy’s proposed burka ban, Agnès Poirier in the UK TimesOnLine discusses the reason why Britain will not follow in France’s footsteps on debates concerning the burka and other religious symbols.

In the UK, the left embraces multiculturalism while neglecting the fact that many religions marginalize women. Britain has compromised individual freedoms in order to appease other cultures on the basis that they are of equal value. Multiculturalism and cultural relativism ensures the marginalization of women through its tolerance towards the cultures that discriminate on the basis of gender. The fact that Sharia courts operate in the UK to settle civil disputes demonstrates where values of cultural relativism ultimately lead to inequality.

Poirier makes these points, but misses the crucial element of religion when she argues that, “The burka is not a religious problem.” The burka would not exist without the religious dogma associated with it. This is precisely the argument of the politically correct left in the UK that she is opposing.

She points out how such debates concerning religious symbols cross the political spectrum in France. Discussion and criticism of these issues stems from a secular society. France established a ban on religious symbols in state workplaces and in state run schools in 2004.

Unlike France, Britain has an established religion and has members of its church in the House of Lords. Religious education with a distinctly Christian bias forms part of the national curriculum in its public education system. If Britain even began to question other religions, it would have to question its own established religion, the Church of England.

UK Backlash against Sharia Law

Posted in Politics, Religion with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2009 by neandergal

One need not look much further than the UK to see where multiculturalism and cultural relativism can lead. The UK organization, One Law for All, held a rally in London to protest Sharia courts that ultimately discriminate against women and children. The protest, held to coincide with International Women’s Day, took place in London’s Trafalgar Square on March 7th and heard the many voices of those citizens that fled their countries of religious and political oppression.

This is not just another expression of xenophobia in the shadow of economic doom and gloom, but expressions of a real concern that some parts of Sharia law can settle disputes between families and other civil matters. It is astonishing to see the day where people are protesting religious Sharia tribunals in a supposedly progressive western nation.

In the United Kingdom and other countries in Europe, it is political correctness gone awry. In an attempt to appease citizens of other cultures, governments have become more accommodating by embracing multiculturalism and cultural relativism at the expense of secular freedoms. Criticizing faith and people of faith has increasingly become taboo in a politically correct age. Johann Hari outlines this eloquently in a discussion panel at the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (the CEMB)

The resounding message in last week’s London protest is that religion is by no means a private thing. There is nothing private about people who fled their countries to escape the very religious doctrines that undermined their freedoms and find themselves in another one that extols the same virtues as their old country. Allowing different legal systems for different cultures will inevitably lead to injustice and discrimination especially where one of them marginalizes women. This is a perfect example that shows how cultural relativism does not lead to equality.

Why are women more religious than men?

Posted in Religion with tags , , , , , on March 1, 2009 by neandergal

March is Women’s History Month. It appears that religious beliefs are not history among women. A recent survey by the Pew Research Institute shows that 63% of women compared to only 49% of men say that “religion is very important in their lives” and 66% “pray at least daily” compared to only 49% of men. Women’s close affinity with religion seems odd given that religious dogma tends to be misogynistic.

So why do women flock to religion? Larry Moran, a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto addresses the question in his blog, Why Are Women Religious? He points out that, “The idea that women might feel the need to belong to a group isn’t wrong. There may even be some biological differences between men and women (hormones?) that underlie this preference for belonging.” Even if it is true that women are genetically predisposed to behaving more socially, it does not adequately explain the need for more religious affiliation.

So far, no evidence for a “religious” gene exists. Moran concludes in his article, “The fact that, today, women in Western industrialized nations tend to be more religious than men could be entirely due to culture.” Religion is as man-made as the bogey man or tooth-fairy. It is not genes that make us believe, but vivid imaginations and indoctrination.