Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Une Fois Laïque, Toujours Laïque

Selon le Globe & Mail :

Last spring, a local YMCA in Montreal installed four frosted windows in one of its exercise rooms to accommodate a neighbouring Hasidic synagogue and religious school. Its devout members complained that their teenaged boys were being distracted by the exposed flesh of women doing their Pilates, aerobics and other activities.

But now the windows have opened up a rift over whether the institution went too far to accommodate a minority. Some Y members have circulated a petition demanding the opaque windows be removed because they not only deprive the room of light, but allow a religious group to impose its ways on the majority.

***** "It's like getting us to wear a veil. Since we represent temptation, we're being asked to hide," ***** Renée Lavaillante, who started the petition, said yesterday. "We shouldn't have to hide in order to exercise in Quebec. We're a secular state, and shouldn't hide ourselves for religious reasons."

The Jewish institutions also installed tinted windows on their buildings but members say they haven't been able to stop people from opening them or heading outside during breaks. "We don't want our kids to be tempted by today's society," community spokesman Mayer Feig said as he stood outside the synagogue. "There's too much violence and sexuality today, and our religious beliefs don't want us to see those things. We believe in protecting our culture and religion."

Too much violence and sexuality when -- and where?! Has Mr. Feig ever thought to critique his Holy Scripture? Here's what Sam Harris has to say about it:

The notion that the Bible is a perfect guide to morality is really quite amazing, given the contents of the book. Human sacrifice, genocide, slaveholding, and misogyny are consistently celebrated. Of course, God’s counsel to parents is refreshingly straightforward: whenever children get out of line, we should beat them with a rod (Proverbs 13:24, 20:30, and 23:13–14). If they are shameless enough to talk back to us, we should kill them (Exodus 21:15, Leviticus 20:9, Deuteronomy 21:18–21, Mark 7:9–13, and Matthew 15:4–7). We must also stone people to death for heresy, adultery, homosexuality, working on the Sabbath, worshiping graven images, practicing sorcery, and a wide variety of other imaginary crimes.

***** As a source of objective morality, the Bible is one of the worst books we have. It might be the very worst, in fact — if we didn’t also happen to have the Qur’an. *****

- Sam Harris


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