ON a secondary level one of the most disconcerting things about the child abuse scandals was the revelation that so many churchmen imagined themselves, and their church, beyond the reach of our Constitution, our criminal justice system, and our social mores.
They have been disabused of that notion though some conservative churchmen probably still cling to that idea. Essentially, they believed that loyalty to their religion trumped social or legal obligations.
These are very much the same ideas in play when liberal societies feel obliged to, in some settings, ban the burqa, the full-face veil worn by some Muslim women. German chancellor Anglea Merkel is the latest European leader brave enough to change her mind on this difficult, divisive issue. “German law takes precedence over sharia,” she insisted. There is a political aspect to this as she must recover some ground lost because of her welcome extended to 1.1 million migrants last year. This open-door policy lost her significant support.
In a world where individual and religious freedom are considered cornerstone beliefs it may seem hypocritical to argue for a burqa ban but in an instance where an expression of personal belief is so very at odds with hard-won progress on women’s rights and liberties a veto on this kind of subjugation is appropriate. The most difficult part of a ban like this is to convince Muslim migrants they are welcome but ideas in direct conflict with our established culture are not.
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