Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wednesday home truths (or debatable propositions)

Discuss, if you have a mind to. :)


KC said...

"What good reason can be given for refusing them?"

Principle. Its generally accepted in our society that people should be treated equally without regard for their gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. etc. A corrollary of that is that we generally don't give in to demands from individuals that they not be served by a personfrom a particular group. Try going into a government office and demanding that you not be served by a black person or a gay person or (even in most contexts) a woman or man and you will see what I mean. We normally would not accede to that demand.

Complicating matters is that we have established a narrow set of "exceptions" to this principle particularly with regards to gender. We dont force a woman to undergo a strip search by a man (and vice versa, although Dawg may disagree) and we consider it reasonable to have segregated gender bathroom and typically most employees at an abused womans shelter are women.

The problem I have with the demand from a niqabi woman to only have her face viewed by a man is does it fit into the general rule or the exception? Im not sure yet. I think that if the demand related to race or sexual orientation many people wouldn't be as comfortable with "religion" as a justification as they are with respect to gender? I think those who are quick to support this woman's cause should think very carefully about that. Would they be comfortable with government acceding to a request to not be served by a homosexual on the basis of a sincere religious belief? I'm not sure that they would. I think some are too quick to empathize with this particular woman because 1) shes a womanand a 2) visual religious and ethnic minority and lose sight ofwhat would normally be seen as arepugnant gender segregationist attitude.

Thats what I'm wrestling with. But thebroaderpoint I wanted to make is that undue hardship is too narrow a test. There are accomodations that could be made that wouldn't amount to undue hardship but that would be completely antithetical to our values. Its not hard to think of them.

As an aside I'm not at all persuaded by the 0.01% argument.Are you saying that your opinion might change is 1% of the population was making this argument? 10%,?50%? 100%?

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