One of the most troubling things about religious liberty that I have seen lately is this story coming out of France.
David Lisnard [the mayor of Cannes, France] recently issued a decree about what people ought to wear on the beach. His target: the burkini, a head-to-foot swimming costume popular among a small, devout population of Muslim women. This costume, Mr Lisnard declared, “ostentatiously displays religious affiliation”, could “disrupt public order”, and might even, in the words of one official, demonstrate “an allegiance to terrorist movements”. (Juliet Samuel)
Apparently the full body bathing suits are banned on the beach. That is a problem for many reasons. Probably the main reason is that it is regulating practice of religion for something that isn’t hurting anyone and that isn’t disturbing society. So because the government thinks that the practice is wrong it becomes illegal, no matter what the women wearing the “burkinis” believe.
Now in America we have a different assumption of religious freedom than France has, and that country can choose to do what it likes about its laws and freedoms. What scared me the most about this story was the people who I found sharing it on Facebook were Christians who were agreeing with the ban. These Christians were so excited that someone was taking down Islam in some way that they didn’t stop to think about the implications of such a ban.
If we allow one persons liberties to be infringed it won’t be long before our liberties are infringed. If this sort of law became the norm in the United States then what would stop there being a law against Holiness families from making their daughters wear skirts or from Christian families to ask their daughters to wear a one piece bathing suit for that matter.
Because I believe in my own religious liberty, and because I want the right to practice my religion as I see fit I will fight for the right for everyone else to do the same. I believe we must stand up for the rights of people who believe the exact opposite of us, not because we affirm their beliefs, but because we affirm their right to believe them, and because we want to have the same rights and considerations given to us.
I feel that it will be a law like this one, some law that Christians get excited about such as a law outlawing sharia law that will be then turned around and used against Christians to be worshiping God illegal. We must fight these fights now, so that we will be protected later.