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I don’t know what the answer is

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(Phone post, sorry) So today i had lunch with a friend who grew up in the former Czechoslovakia and we started talking about religion. He mentioned how he was baptised in secret, had to hide to go to church and all that. It made me quite sad.

One of the few things I liked about the second Bush administration is that he expanded the “American” version of freedom of religion. While his motivations were definitely Christian, his policies applied to all religions, and even today it is easier, for example, to be a practicing Muslim in the US than it is in any European country except England.

I, like a lot of other people, have problems with some of the tea party actions in this election season regarding religion. I don’t like what Bobby Jindal has done with schools and vouchers in Louisiana. I feel like what were inclusive Bush-era policies are being turned and twisted into Christian-only policies. Yet at the same time i can understand and respect when a Christian says that certain things are deal breakers because of their religion. I have my deal breakers too and people shouldn’t have to justify it, and it makes me sad to see my Christian friends defensive over their right to freedom of religion.

Which is where my problem is. How can people truly have freedom of religion in a society while at the same time protecting non believers and including all religions? We have established that the French model is absolute bullshit, but the American model needs to be tweaked now too (thank you Personhood etc).I don’t know where the middle ground is. What scares me is living in a place like France, or living in a place like the ex-communist countries, where religion is de facto (france) or de jure (ex communist countries) illegal. That is a very real fear of mine. And while the Murdochs and Akins of this world did take things way too far this election season, I’m worried about a backlash against Christians, because what affects one religion affects us all. And i don’t know what the right answer is, but for now i still believe an inclusive freedom of religion is the answer.


Author: Nicole Cunningham

American Expat and convert to Islam living and working between Lausanne and Zurich, Switzerland.

One thought on “I don’t know what the answer is

  1. I think the key to these issues is not so much to be found in between “religion or not religion” but more “moderation vs. extremism”. I dislike extremism, be it religious or atheist (I’m an atheist). I feel that Switzerland is reasonably sane and moderate, but coming from the inside I’m probably skewed. France scares me as much as the US, to be honest. Where does CH stand in your views?

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