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Religious signs in State employees and society in general
#1

Religious signs in State employees and society in general
Recently, the Province of Quebec has passed a law known as La Loi sur la Laicité  or Law 21 for the more numerically minded. This highly controversial law forbids provincial and municipal police officers, provincial prison guards, judges, procecutors and school teachers from wearing ostentatious religious signs while in function. The law, while very popular in the Quebec itself, has been hotly contested and has a well funded, organised and motivated opposition. The law in question is the product of over a decade of debate over the place of religion in society and the State and is heavily inspired by French laws on this question.

Of course, like in France, the most affected minority by this law is the Muslim minority (though a few members of Opus Dei have also complained about it) which is fairly numerous in Quebec due to the pecularity of the Province's power in immigration. It also specifically targets Muslim women. Most of the opposition derives from the presence of school teachers in the list.

So, considering that this is a touchy subject that has been raised in numerous European countries and has occupied a decent amount of attention in the current Canadian election, what do you think about such a law. Should there be any restriction on religious signs for State employees with coercive powers or even for broader restrictions?
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#2

Religious signs in State employees and society in general
(10-08-2019, 07:30 PM)epronovost Wrote: Recently, the Province of Quebec has passed a law known as La Loi sur la Laicité  or Law 21 for the more numerically minded. This highly controversial law forbids provincial and municipal police officers, provincial prison guards, judges, procecutors and school teachers from wearing ostentatious religious signs while in function. The law, while very popular in the Quebec itself, has been hotly contested and has a well funded, organised and motivated opposition. The law in question is the product of over a decade of debate over the place of religion in society and the State and is heavily inspired by French laws on this question.

Of course, like in France, the most affected minority by this law is the Muslim minority (though a few members of Opus Dei have also complained about it) which is fairly numerous in Quebec due to the pecularity of the Province's power in immigration. It also specifically targets Muslim women. Most of the opposition derives from the presence of school teachers in the list.

So, considering that this is a touchy subject that has been raised in numerous European countries and has occupied a decent amount of attention in the current Canadian election, what do you think about such a law. Should there be any restriction on religious signs for State employees with coercive powers or even for broader restrictions?

Do they have specific definition(s) for ostentatious religious signs, for each religion?

The subjective nature of the wording makes it seem like it will be a very hard law to enforce.
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#3

Religious signs in State employees and society in general
While I see the separation of Church and State side of the argument for this, where is the line drawn between that and "blasphemy laws" which do basically the same thing? I don't think the line is that clear.
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#4

Religious signs in State employees and society in general
While in function seems to be a keyword here. I have no problem at all with this law, religion should be left of the office, even in the form of jewelry or part of the attire.
The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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#5

Religious signs in State employees and society in general
(10-08-2019, 07:42 PM)brewerb Wrote: Do they have specific definition(s) for ostentatious religious signs, for each religion?

The subjective nature of the wording makes it seem like it will be a very hard law to enforce.

There is no clear definition for what an ostentatious sign is supposed to be, but if we are to follow the guidelines provided to us, an ostentatious sign is any sign that isn't hidden or can be hidden at a moment notice (ex: a small pendant, a rosary, the bracelet of Sikh, etc). In other words, if people can see it just by looking at you, it's ostentatious.
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#6

Religious signs in State employees and society in general
I can find religious iconography in nearly every nurses' station at the local VA hospital. Obtrusive but not over the top for the most part. I feel like getting a "666" tattooed on my forehead.
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#7

Religious signs in State employees and society in general
(10-08-2019, 08:01 PM)Szuchow Wrote: While in function seems to be a keyword here. I have no problem at all with this law, religion should be left of the office, even in the form of jewelry or part of the attire.

The thing is, Muslim women mostly all wear an hijab. Most of them who work in the US are allowed to wear a head scarf.
They're everywhere here on the West Coast. Who cares. Hell, many women wear head scarves and it has nothing to do with religion.
Christian nuns have, for centuries been allowed to wear their religious habits which, until recently, included a veil.  
I can see that wearing a niqab which covers the face would not be allowed.

Why is it that men think they need to tell women how they must dress ?
All I care is, does the person doing a job do the job. I don't care what they're wearing.
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#8

Religious signs in State employees and society in general
(10-08-2019, 08:03 PM)epronovost Wrote:
(10-08-2019, 07:42 PM)brewerb Wrote: Do they have specific definition(s) for ostentatious religious signs, for each religion?

The subjective nature of the wording makes it seem like it will be a very hard law to enforce.

There is no clear definition for what an ostentatious sign is supposed to be, but if we are to follow the guidelines provided to us, an ostentatious sign is any sign that isn't hidden or can be hidden at a moment notice (ex: a small pendant, a rosary, the bracelet of Sikh, etc). In other words, if people can see it just by looking at you, it's ostentatious.

Does Quebec understand that the fluer de lis can be taken as a religious sign/symbol?
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#9

Religious signs in State employees and society in general
(10-08-2019, 07:30 PM)epronovost Wrote: Recently, the Province of Quebec has passed a law known as La Loi sur la Laicité  or Law 21 for the more numerically minded. This highly controversial law forbids provincial and municipal police officers, provincial prison guards, judges, procecutors and school teachers from wearing ostentatious religious signs while in function. The law, while very popular in the Quebec itself, has been hotly contested and has a well funded, organised and motivated opposition. The law in question is the product of over a decade of debate over the place of religion in society and the State and is heavily inspired by French laws on this question.

Of course, like in France, the most affected minority by this law is the Muslim minority (though a few members of Opus Dei have also complained about it) which is fairly numerous in Quebec due to the pecularity of the Province's power in immigration. It also specifically targets Muslim women. Most of the opposition derives from the presence of school teachers in the list.

So, considering that this is a touchy subject that has been raised in numerous European countries and has occupied a decent amount of attention in the current Canadian election, what do you think about such a law. Should there be any restriction on religious signs for State employees with coercive powers or even for broader restrictions?


Does that mean school teachers may not wear say an Hijab,  large cross , Yarmulke,  Star of David ,  or turban  but their students may?

I have no issue at all with the hijab, nor even with a burqa--as long  people wearing burqa do not enter  secure areas, such as petrol stations, banks or airports. .  Have never  seen a burqa in Adelaide.

I do have not a problem with any of the symbols I mentioned above ,(except burqa for a teacher, their face cannot be seen, an obstacle to communication)   But with the caveat that the persons concerned may not proselytise. I suspect  that in Catholic Quebec  that would be mostly a problem for Christians.   

On the face of it, this seems  to be an anti Muslim  law. For that  reason,  would not support it.  I do not dislike or fear Muslims, unless of course they were  to get in my face.I have several  Muslim neighbours ,one to the back and some in nearby streets. I treat them exactly the same as I treat  my anglo neighbours; I  ignore them , but will nod and wave as I drive by.

I have lived in this cul de sac  for 28 years. There  are 15 houses.  I know the people  to my right enough to pass the time of day.  Have never been in for a coffee nor they to my place. Will nod and wave to the people on my left as I haven't actually met them . They've only been there for about 3 years. Don't know any of the other neighbours.
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#10

Religious signs in State employees and society in general
Religious shits know that it pays to advertise.  If I never saw another cross, stupid hat, or beekeeper suit it would be fine with me.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#11

Religious signs in State employees and society in general
(10-08-2019, 09:43 PM)brewerb Wrote: Does Quebec understand that the fluer de lis can be taken as a religious sign/symbol?

It is not in the province and not really in the rest of the world since the fall of the royalty in France (as a Christian symbol it was that of the French royalty and its status as protector of Christianity). Considering the Fleur de Lys was adopted as the symbol of Quebec in 1948, it's not considereda religious symbol just as Hermes Staff or the Montreal Canadian logo (referred to commonly as La Sainte Flanelle though this is mostly for joke).
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#12

Religious signs in State employees and society in general
(10-08-2019, 10:13 PM)grympy Wrote: Does that mean school teachers may not wear say an Hijab,  large cross , Yarmulke,  Star of David ,  or turban  but their students may?

Basically yes. It only affects the teachers, not the support staff or the administration of the school nor the student unlike in France where religious symbol are forbidden in school no matter who displays them. In the same fashion police officers, prison guards and judges can't wear any when in function, but anybody else can so a defense lawyer could wear a hijab for example and so could any person in the assistance or in the accused bench.

PS: a grandfather clause was passed for teachers who were already in function, but to my knowledge it had no effect on judges or police officers as there was basically nobody to claim such a grandfather clause though it exists for them too.
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#13

Religious signs in State employees and society in general
(10-08-2019, 11:07 PM)epronovost Wrote:
(10-08-2019, 09:43 PM)brewerb Wrote: Does Quebec understand that the fluer de lis can be taken as a religious sign/symbol?

It is not in the province and not really in the rest of the world since the fall of the royalty in France (as a Christian symbol it was that of the French royalty and its status as protector of Christianity). Considering the Fleur de Lys was adopted as the symbol of Quebec in 1948, it's not considereda religious symbol just as Hermes Staff or the Montreal Canadian logo (referred to commonly as La Sainte Flanelle though this is mostly for joke).

Does the province state that? 

It's that old subjective chestnut. My absurd statement is to point out the fault in the law.

EDIT: BTW, it's in Pope Paul VI's coat of arms, don't get more christian than that. hehehe
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#14

Religious signs in State employees and society in general
(10-08-2019, 11:47 PM)brewerb Wrote: Does the province state that? 

It's that old subjective chestnut. My absurd statement is to point out the fault in the law.

Nope it doesn't state that explicitly. The law doesn't make an exhaustive lists of the hundreds of thousand of religious signs. for obvious reasons. Considering the social and political context of the Fleur de Lys and specifically the Fleur de Lys as can be seen on the flag, considering it as religious is about as absurd as considering the caduceus as a religious symbol and basically a form of concern trolling. 

Quote:EDIT: BTW, it's in Pope Paul VI's coat of arms, don't get more christian than that. hehehe

Coat of Arms are secular symbols even when they are the coat of arm of religious people. The coat of arm of a pope or a long gone royal dynasty isn't a symbol of worship it's basically the "world's fanciest personnal signature".
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#15

Religious signs in State employees and society in general
(10-09-2019, 12:07 AM)epronovost Wrote:
(10-08-2019, 11:47 PM)brewerb Wrote: Does the province state that? 

It's that old subjective chestnut. My absurd statement is to point out the fault in the law.

Nope it doesn't state that explicitly. The law doesn't make an exhaustive lists of the hundreds of thousand of religious signs. for obvious reasons. Considering the social and political context of the Fleur de Lys and specifically the Fleur de Lys as can be seen on the flag, considering it as religious is about as absurd as considering the caduceus as a religious symbol and basically a form of concern trolling. 

Quote:EDIT: BTW, it's in Pope Paul VI's coat of arms, don't get more christian than that. hehehe

Coat of Arms are secular symbols even when they are the coat of arm of religious people. The coat of arm of a pope or a long gone royal dynasty isn't a symbol of worship it's basically the "world's fanciest personnal signature".

Again subjective.

I'm a troll?
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#16

Religious signs in State employees and society in general
While I see why laws like this could be appealing to those who want a strict separation of church and state, I would prefer to allow discrete indications of religious fealty. All the better to know who you should or should not interact with when dealing with the government.

On a side note: I don't know that it would be successful, but it could be a legitimate defense, that an atheist, a Muslim or a Jew could not get a fair trial, as protected by the bill of rights, in a court presided over by the likes of Roy Moore.
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#17

Religious signs in State employees and society in general
(10-09-2019, 01:04 AM)brewerb Wrote: Again subjective.

I'm a troll?

Right now I would say yes or at least obtuse as to what is a religious sign considering that religious tradition established very clearly what are religious signs and how they should be worn independantly of secular laws.


@TheGentlemanBastard

In the case of this specific law though all those State employes are basically those you cannot choose to interact with or not. They are imposed upon you and have a measure of authority (except teachers who were put on the list for other and more dubious in my opinion reasons)
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#18

Religious signs in State employees and society in general
(10-08-2019, 11:07 PM)epronovost Wrote:
(10-08-2019, 09:43 PM)brewerb Wrote: Does Quebec understand that the fluer de lis can be taken as a religious sign/symbol?

It is not in the province and not really in the rest of the world since the fall of the royalty in France (as a Christian symbol it was that of the French royalty and its status as protector of Christianity). Considering the Fleur de Lys was adopted as the symbol of Quebec in 1948, it's not considered a religious symbol just as Hermes Staff or the Montreal Canadian logo (referred to commonly as La Sainte Flanelle though this is mostly for joke).

It is, it's just that most people don't know that anymore so it's "traditional". Of course everybody's religion is traditional, so that's a load of horseshit. The Quebec flag is white fleur de lis (symbolizing purity) on a blue background (symbolizing heaven) pulled straight from banners honouring the Virgin Mary with a big damned white cross painted slap down the middle. The entire thing is Catholic heraldry and should be banned by the new law if there was any pretense that it would be applied evenly or was actually about religious symbols. The enormous crosses on Mount Royal and several other prominent peaks that are funded by public dollars would also have to go. Those are traditional too though.

Like the French laws that inspired it, this is just another piece of thinly veiled "no brown people" bigotry. The bulk of it was debated in the Quebec National Assembly underneath a bloody great crucifix that was removed only after a long, bitter debate on how it was also traditional. It's legislated pure laine hypocrisy and discrimination with only the slightest attempt to disguise it.
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#19

Religious signs in State employees and society in general
(10-08-2019, 07:30 PM)epronovost Wrote: Recently, the Province of Quebec has passed a law known as La Loi sur la Laicité  or Law 21 for the more numerically minded. This highly controversial law forbids provincial and municipal police officers, provincial prison guards, judges, procecutors and school teachers from wearing ostentatious religious signs while in function. 

I don't have a problem with this. If you're a government employee with your salary funded by the tax-paying citizenry, keep your religion at home and out of the workplace.

-Teresa
There is in the universe only one true divide, one real binary, life and death. Either you are living or you are not. Everything else is molten, malleable.

-Susan Faludi, In the Darkroom
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#20

Religious signs in State employees and society in general
(10-09-2019, 01:29 AM)Paleophyte Wrote: It is, it's just that most people don't know that anymore so it's "traditional". Of course everybody's religion is traditional, so that's a load of horseshit. The Quebec flag is white fleur de lis (symbolizing purity) on a blue background (symbolizing heaven) pulled straight from banners honouring the Virgin Mary with a big damned white cross painted slap down the middle. The entire thing is Catholic heraldry and should be banned by the new law if there was any pretense that it would be applied evenly or was actually about religious symbols. The enormous crosses on Mount Royal and several other prominent peaks that are funded by public dollars would also have to go. Those are traditional too though. 

Like the French laws that inspired it, this is just another piece of thinly veiled "no brown people" bigotry. The bulk of it was debated in the Quebec National Assembly underneath a bloody great crucifix that was removed only after a long, bitter debate on how it was also traditional. It's legislated pure laine hypocrisy and discrimination with only the slightest attempt to disguise it.

As mention earlier, heraldy is secular not religious even when it's used by religious people in the same fashion latin isn't religious in and on itself even if it's the official language of the Vatican. I would also like to mention that the law only concerns a specific set of employee of the State for very specific sets of reason. It doesn't cover religious symboles in the public space or by other people who are free to do as they please. 

Of course, like any other place in the world, Canada and Quebec have laws to protect the cultural and architectural heritage of the Province which is, of course, going to count a lot of religious sites and artwork, but that's a much more complex question.

Personnaly, I oppose the Law 21 as it stands as I don't think teachers should have been included in the list. I can respect the argument for impartiality, reserve and neutrality that a judge or a police officer needs to abide with and it does make sense to me. On the other hand the idea that children need to be "protected" from religious indoctrination or that teachers are some sort of representatives of the State appears to me profoundly ridiculous. Even in terms of legality, it would have seemed more sound. I also oppose the idea that religious symboles should be limited in the public space (with perhapse for exception courtroom and legislature chambers). 

The debate over the crucifix of the National Assembly, while related, wasn't part of the debate of the Law 21.
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#21

Religious signs in State employees and society in general
(10-09-2019, 01:27 AM)epronovost Wrote:
(10-09-2019, 01:04 AM)brewerb Wrote: Again subjective.

I'm a troll?

Right now I would say yes or at least obtuse as to what is a religious sign considering that religious tradition established very clearly what are religious signs and how they should be worn independantly of secular laws.

Cool, troll it is.

But not obtuse, intentionally absurd. Like this law. 

Can you tell me the clearly established religious traditions on what is, and how to wear, a cross?
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#22

Religious signs in State employees and society in general
(10-09-2019, 01:54 AM)brewerb Wrote:
(10-09-2019, 01:27 AM)epronovost Wrote:
(10-09-2019, 01:04 AM)brewerb Wrote: Again subjective.

I'm a troll?

Right now I would say yes or at least obtuse as to what is a religious sign considering that religious tradition established very clearly what are religious signs and how they should be worn independantly of secular laws.

Cool, troll it is.

But not obtuse, intentionally absurd. Like this law. 

Can you tell me the clearly established religious traditions on what is, and how to wear, a cross?

Here you go, start with this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crucifix#Usage

Then you can make some research on christology, christian symbolism, history of religion, history of the art, etc.

You should also ask relevent authorities on the subject like priests and theologians. Religious doctrine is their field of expertise afterall.
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#23

Religious signs in State employees and society in general
(10-09-2019, 01:50 AM)epronovost Wrote:
(10-09-2019, 01:29 AM)Paleophyte Wrote: It is, it's just that most people don't know that anymore so it's "traditional". Of course everybody's religion is traditional, so that's a load of horseshit. The Quebec flag is white fleur de lis (symbolizing purity) on a blue background (symbolizing heaven) pulled straight from banners honouring the Virgin Mary with a big damned white cross painted slap down the middle. The entire thing is Catholic heraldry and should be banned by the new law if there was any pretense that it would be applied evenly or was actually about religious symbols. The enormous crosses on Mount Royal and several other prominent peaks that are funded by public dollars would also have to go. Those are traditional too though. 

Like the French laws that inspired it, this is just another piece of thinly veiled "no brown people" bigotry. The bulk of it was debated in the Quebec National Assembly underneath a bloody great crucifix that was removed only after a long, bitter debate on how it was also traditional. It's legislated pure laine hypocrisy and discrimination with only the slightest attempt to disguise it.


Personnaly, I oppose the Law 21 as it stands as I don't think teachers should have been included in the list. I can respect the argument for impartiality, reserve and neutrality that a judge or a police officer needs to abide with and it does make sense to me. On the other hand the idea that children need to be "protected" from religious indoctrination or that teachers are some sort of representatives of the State appears to me profoundly ridiculous. 

Why must it be the State that bends to the will and desires of religious educators? Or in my opinion, acquiescing actually to the rules of the religious males who are in charge and tell the women how to dress. Public educators are employed by the state and can keep their woo at home.

-Teresa
There is in the universe only one true divide, one real binary, life and death. Either you are living or you are not. Everything else is molten, malleable.

-Susan Faludi, In the Darkroom
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#24

Religious signs in State employees and society in general
Life is too short to be offended because someone wears a funny hat or obscure pendant or whatever -- whether for religious reasons or not.

There are practical security reasons why, e.g., a niquab would have to be forbidden in any security-controlled area. But apart from such obvious exceptions, this sort of law just amounts to controlling individual expression and belief in a way that doesn't meet what in the US we call "compelling state interest".

That concept means that you should allow the maximum possible amount of freedom and self-expression unless the state has a compelling argument to restrict it. Compelling reasons are to maintain security and safety, to prevent immediate harm, to preserve the rule of law, etc. A practical example is that many jurisdictions have decided to stop giving out religious exemptions for getting children vaccinated against childhood diseases, because that has caused failure of herd immunity, and there's a compelling state interest in preventing disease epidemics. The only exemptions given anymore are legitimate medical ones (e.g., compromised immune system can't handle the stimulation, extreme allergy to something in the vaccine, etc).

While it results in rather more ostentatious religious displays than one could wish, the purpose of a democratic republic is to preserve that most important of human rights: the right to be left alone, and the freedoms of association and of expression, and to favor those things over more abstract concepts like "separation of church and state" in every little thing. So long as the state doesn't endorse or promote a religion, it's sufficiently separated, in my view.

You can make a potent argument that the US endorses and promotes religion (and some non-religious organizations) by allowing income and real estate to be 100% tax free even for member-benefit activities (e.g., buildings used primarily for indoctrination are not taxed; they don't have to provide any no-strings community services or demonstrable benefit; it's taken as self-evident that religion in and of itself is helpful or necessary to society). But this is at least not about personal expression or use of symbols or special garb. There's no harm in those things. The harm is getting special considerations from society without some commensurate benefit being provided.

The Quebecois argument, as I understand it, is that the symbols are, or can be, intimidating. I am skeptical of this argument in the modern world. It may be that this was a problem before the Conquest or even before the Quiet Revolution, when the RCC was more intertwined with the state. I can't see that it's substantively true today, particularly for the young.
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#25

Religious signs in State employees and society in general
(10-09-2019, 02:11 AM)Tres Leches Wrote: Why must it be the State that bends to the will and desires of religious educators? Or in my opinion, acquiescing actually to the rules of the religious males who are in charge and tell the women how to dress. Public educators are employed by the state and can keep their woo at home.

-Teresa

Proselytizing is of course a fault for teachers already (though without a proper professionnal corps. it's mostly left to school administration and union to punish such behavior). The idea of simply wearing a religious symbole is equivalent to proselytizing appears to me to be fairly exagerated. The position and power of a teacher are also vastly different then those of police officers and judges.
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