Monday, January 16, 2006

Accommodating Religion In Extreme

Handsome knife isn't it? Oh, it isn't for show, and there is no bragging rights that my knife is bigger than yours going on here, this monster is a kirpan and is an "ornamental" decoration(?) that Sikh males are to wear as part of their religion. The problem is WHERE they wear it. Going to a religious service or whatever they call it is one thing, but when it is worn in public places that have clearly marked signs declaring no weapons, drugs, etc. are to carried on the premises is a totally different story.

THIS is ornamental? This can be compared to a Christian cross or a Star of David? Well let's all sharpen those ornaments we wear and make them bigger, cause this is what religion in extreme is all about. Somebody please explain to me how a 10 inch dagger (curved no less for maximum lethal potential) can be ornamental? The ACLU thinks so, and found a judge whose wisdom is questionable at best to back them up. Here's the story:
US university reviews rules over Sikh student's rights

By Jyotirmoy Datta, New York: A Detroit university is reviewing its public safety norms after a judge ruled in favour of a Sikh student arrested for carrying the kirpan, a short dagger, as enjoined by his religion.

Sikh student Sukhpreet Singh Garcha, 23, was arrested on the campus of Wayne State University on Aug 14 last year for carrying a 10-inch kirpan on his hip. He was charged with violating Detroit's knife ordinance, which prohibits carrying knives with blades longer than three inches.

Detroit 36th District Court Judge Rudy Serra ruled last month that the knife ordinance was intended to apply to people carrying "a knife as a weapon or for some unlawful purpose".

As Garcha was carrying the kirpan for religious reasons, the ordinance did not apply, the judge said, The Detroit News reported.

"There is no question that forbidding him from wearing the kirpan imposes a burden," the judge said. "It would be similar to an ordinance that made it illegal to wear a cross or a Star of David."

Following the ruling, Wayne State Public Safety Director Anthony Holt was quoted as saying that campus officers will not arrest Garcha or other Sikh students who carry a kirpan.

Garcha said carrying the knife was necessary under Sikhism. The smaller knife was worn in case the other had to be removed.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the religious group United Sikhs protested Garcha's arrest, saying the kirpan isn't a weapon but an ornamental article of faith that baptized Sikhs must wear at all times.

The university's attorneys are reviewing possible changes to campus weapons policies to "ensure that everyone can practise religion freely and feel safe on the campus," Alexandra Matish, assistant general counsel for the college, was quoted as saying.
I do not believe that any religious ornament should be capable of inflicting a lethal wound, nor do I believe that a religious ornament capable of lethal damage should be allowed to be worn in all situations. (Try wearing one into a jail or prison and see what happens, or try wearing one to have an MRI done). It is ridiculous of society to cater to an extreme form of religious identity, especially if the wearer is a peaceful soul but the guy standing next to him may not be. Nothing like having yourself gutted with your own religious ornament is there? How many Jews and Christians are strangled with their own necklaces or have them taken away from them and used to threaten someone else?

Isn't it said that the Christmas tree does not make the Christian, nor does the Cross? The argument is that personal religious conviction outweighs all trappings of a religious belief. Then why should a 10 inch curved and sharpened blade be acceptable when worn in public places amongst non-believers who would be a little more than anxious to be placed in close proximity to someone wearing one? Crosses and Stars of David can be plastic or glass, why not having the ornamental kirpan required to be worn then be plastic or some other non-lethal material for safeties sake? Are these ornaments allowed on airplanes? When does good sense and reason outweigh the needs of religion in a country that has more than enough cases of violence as it is?

As in all things there is a time and a place for everything. Schools, prisons, on mass transportation systems, in hospitals, and in public buildings or privately owned public access facilities that clearly have policies against the carrying of potentially lethal weapons are just not acceptable situations for a demonstration of faith with such lethal potential.

posted by Is It Just Me? at 8:49 AM