No Religious Symbols Allowed (Weekend Poll)

January 4, 2014

Protests by religious adherents followed the proposal.

Montreal has proposed legislation banning religious symbols and clothing that are deemed “distracting” from the public sphere:  government buildings and the workplace.

burqas, turbans, hijabs, yarmulkes, and crosses would not be permitted in any public office, including courts, police stations, hospitals, or government offices. Staff members in public schools, including large daycares, CEGEPs and universities would fall under the same rules, while those in private schools and family-run daycares would be exempt.

The rationale for this is that some outward religious symbols and clothing are oppressive, particularly to women.  Others feel that this focus on religion creates divisions that are unhealthy in a secular society.  What do you think?

Should religious clothing be restricted in secular institutions like schools and the workplace?

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Discuss.

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12 Responses to No Religious Symbols Allowed (Weekend Poll)

  1. Hedgehog on January 4, 2014 at 7:57 AM

    Looks like they are going the way of France, where this is already the law.

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  2. fbisti on January 4, 2014 at 8:15 AM

    If “oppressive” to women is their rationale, then it seems this is simply anti-Muslim since conservative Jewish women are likely not feeling oppressed by wearing their head-covering wigs. Beyond that point, the State cannot insert itself into religion on such a flimsy premise–sets a very dangerous precedent. I can imagine a future “Tea Party” dominated Congress in the US doing something similar–though they would oppose only Muslim dress.

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  3. Brian on January 4, 2014 at 9:28 AM

    As an employer, I don’t want the religion of an employee to adversely affect my business. If an employee needs to express their religion in their dress, they can look for work elsewhere. If it is a real need, I imagine it would have shown up in the employment interview.

    I have a library in my office. I don’t have any of my atheist books on the shelves.

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  4. el oso on January 4, 2014 at 9:28 AM

    I can see head-to-toe burqahs being banned in certain areas, but day cares and public schools may going too far. The hyper secularism of France may be imitated by the French speaking Canadians, I think that crazy evangelicals and other Christians are also targeted by these laws.
    There may also be certain areas of the city where schools have lots of teachers of a certain minority religion. A few other teachers may feel marginalized/excluded or the parents may also feel that. There may also be language differences, you can’t have the pure French corrupted by Arabic, Yiddish, Hindi, etc.

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  5. richard Haskins on January 4, 2014 at 12:40 PM

    if oppression is what we are talking about, than I believe the left and been much more adept at oppressing speech on college campuses that the tea party has ever been able to control fictional dress standards anywhere else. And if I remember my world governments, I believe France and Quebec are governed by governments leaning far to the left. I am not a big fan of the tea party but I don’t think they are even a potential problem here.

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  6. KT on January 4, 2014 at 3:29 PM

    I think it could be divisive, but otoh, it could provide opportunities for learning and better understanding. Religious clothing could be oppressive, but I don’t feel that should be regulated by anyone other than the wearer – it’s their own decision. A homogenous society is impossible. We will never all look, feel, or make decisions the same. We need to learn to be tolerant and accepting of differences as long as there is no physical, mental, or emotional harm done.

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  7. SilverRain on January 5, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    By all means, let us ban any expression of religion but the ones we agree upon by law. That has worked so well for past societies.

    Separation of Church and State: I don’t think it means what you think it means.

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  8. Kullervo on January 6, 2014 at 8:16 AM

    The hyper secularism of France may be imitated by the French speaking Canadians, I think that crazy evangelicals and other Christians are also targeted by these laws.

    I don’t really think that “hyper secularism” is the motive behind the French law.

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  9. Jeff Spector on January 6, 2014 at 8:49 AM

    While we may be opposed to the symbolism of some religious wear such as the burka, this seems to be a bit onerous to me. When you consider T-shirts with sports teams and other slogans, can it be logically extended to any number of clothing items, with and without implied or explicit messages?

    A bit dangerous to me.

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  10. IDIAT on January 6, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    Will Mormons’ “magic underwear” be deemed distracting one day? In other words, will the fact that members wear enough clothing to cover garments be a “sign” that distinguishes them from non-members/unendowed who wear less clothing?

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  11. New Iconoclast on January 6, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    Although my company recently round-filed its dress code, the former code forbade sweatshirts and t-shirts with offensive or oversized logos, without defining what “offensive” meant. As a Christian non-profit, it was probably pretty rare that anyone transgressed that provision. I don’t own a BYU shirt, or we might have learned something about tolerance.

    Since one of our main offices is in eastern Wisconsin and one is in Minneapolis, there is a tacit understanding that Vikings and Packers logos are to be mutually tolerated despite the deep feelings of our hearts. ;)

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  12. New Iconoclast on January 6, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    Oops. In #11, I meant to explicitly refer to Jeff’s comment can it be logically extended to any number of clothing items, with and without implied or explicit messages in #9. Sorry!

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