I have tried to discover the motivation for my opposition to the burqa — an Islamic accoutrement par excellence. Is it based on just reasons or on my Christian bias. I am an atheist, however, I am culturally Christian. I was raised under a docile and nominal Catholicism — the sort that Constantine the Great envisioned uniting his disintegrating empire — and its biases are inherently mine. Instead, his empire was torn apart by virulent Christian factionalism.
Personally, I oppose religion being given any other rôle than that of fountainhead of simple traditions as Tacitus suggest in his Annals. For whatever reason, beyond comprehension, mankind requires redundant tasks that entertain his otherwise decadent mind. Moreover, religion must not be given access to public life, for to do so is to precipitate the downfall of liberty.
Hume succinctly states:
And history proves him right. Were not the men of religion declaring that 9/11 was divine punishment for rampant homosexuality, abortions and other heinous crimes? It is curious how Christianity, the religion that brought love into the religious equation, so easily and comfortably imitates in its discourse its nemesis: Islam. If religion were the guiding force of public life, then those denunciations would have ceased to be simple words of hate and been instantiated; the sinners would have been rightfully punished.
Having lost its power, the Church longs for its central rôle anew. And it is constantly machinating to regain it. While criticizing western European countries for maintaining a separation between church and state, the Vatican goes on to extol Turkey for its secular nature, however the purported secularity of the Turkish Republic is nominal. The Vatican’s attitudes may seem paradoxical, nevertheless, both policies are an attempt for church to dig its claws into public life. If the western Europeans relent, the Church is able to exert its domain, ultimately stifling any humanist progress as is the case in Italy (read more). As for Turkey, if the putative secular state is removed from the metaphysical and metamorphosed into reality, the Church would be able to nurture its small and insignificant flock there. Souls — human souls — ultimately mean power.
With the evil brought upon mankind by the Church fresh in my historical mind, am I applying this to Islam? In a way I am, though I know that Islam and Christianity did proceed along the same developmental path. There was a state prior to Christianity, so there was a precedent for a separation between the two, yet à propos Islam, church and state were one and the same. The caliphate was both temporal and spiritual leader. Thus the solution to the problem of Islam is not a separation of church and state but injecting the Islamic governments with more humanist values. History evinces the feasibility of this. The Ottomans were to a certain extent tolerant of other religions. When the Iberian Jewry was expelled, they went to Ottoman and Polish lands. Though they were not treated exactly as first class citizens, Jews had far more rights than they did under Christendom.
Now, returning to the crux of the matter. It seems that my opposition to the burqa is due to my general fear of religion and its destructive power — mind you, I am not advocating science as the sane and logical solution!
One of my friends made that case that it is just another piece of clothing, therefore the government has no right to ban it. To my troubled mind, his was a cogent argument, however it resembled the allegories proffered as unequivocal truths by Plato-qua-Socrates.
The burqa is a statement, but not a fashion statement. It says that the person places the tenets of another system — in this case a religious system — over those of the host society.
Western society is historical a