We have to be wary of all (especially, uninformed konvertsy) who try to ally the Church of Christ with “Evangelical” Radical Sectarians and their political fancies. The Church does NOT countenance that… no matter how much loud sorts claim that it does. Remember… HH approves of Alexis Tsipras… not godless greedster filth like Ted Cruz. Ponder that. This piece does offer some good points. We have no right to ram our religious beliefs down others’ throats… that’s my view, any road.
Last Thursday, the New York Times published an article about Orthodox Jewish men refusing to sit next to unrelated women when boarding planes. This raises a question… “At what point does one person’s religious freedom end and another’s basic rights begin?” Whilst many Orthodox Jewish rabbis condemned the practise of refusing to sit next to women on planes, some continue the practice. These even resulted in up to 11-hour delays as passengers refuse to switch seats in protest. Obviously, one needs to communicate seating preferences to the airline in advance. You just can’t expect women to bend to someone’s whims because of religion. It isn’t their responsibility to move, particularly, if that woman sought to reserve a specific seat for whatever reason. Maybe, she wanted an aisle seat, or, maybe, she wanted to sit in the emergency exit row to get more legroom. If the airline expects people to move, it must offer them a similar seat.
Modern religion doesn’t give one the right to inconvenience others or change what they do. The idea that women who sit next to Orthodox Jewish men must move is sexist. Now, if someone asks politely, that’s fine, but they have to be OK with the other person refusing to move. Certainly, they can’t keep a flight from taking off because someone didn’t accommodate their seating preference. Most people agree that the burden is on the person with the religious seating preference to figure out the seating arrangement ahead of time or ask politely. People who travel with children have to deal with the same thing… either checking-in ahead of time or relying on the politeness of the other passengers to accommodate their preferred seating. This means they try to avoid wasting time during boarding or potentially delaying a flight. Overall, this isn’t unreasonable. However, once their seating preferences start delaying flights, it becomes a problem. Luckily, this sort of seating preference seems to be decried from within the Orthodox Jewish community, but it mirrors what is going on with the Christian right in the USA, which has started emphasising the need to protect the USA’s Judeo-Christian heritage. This causes religious preferences to turn extreme. Ted Cruz called supporting marriage equality a gay “jihad”, comparing activists to terrorists, and interpreted the First Amendment as a “God-given right to seek out and worship God”.
According to a Pew Research survey, Christians now make up 78.4 percent of the American population. No one is trying to take away Christians’ rights to express their religion; odds are if they did, it would be unsuccessful, given how many Christians there are in the USA. We shouldn’t accept religion as an excuse for denying the rights of others… whether it’s through racism, sexism, or homophobia. Just as women having the right to sit where they want on a plane doesn’t take away the rights of Orthodox Jewish men, marriage equality doesn’t take away the constitutional right of the Christian Right to marry who they want to marry. Using religion to back up unfair laws doesn’t make them any less discriminatory. We as a country need to be very careful about what we will let religion excuse because it’s often indicates a larger problem.
14 April 2015
Independent Florida Alligator