A False Dichotomy

The question of whether societies should defend religious liberty or ensure nondiscrimination is a specious dichotomy, because it suggests you can only do one by refraining from doing the other. Clearly the world’s leaders should strive to do both simultaneously. An obvious example is the recent incidents in France where authorities attempted to discourage Muslim women from full body swimsuits that to all appearances resembled scuba wetsuits. Defending religious liberty in this instance means letting individuals wear whatever clothing their religion requires. Attempting legislatively to prohibit clothing corresponding to one’s religious preference is a clear case of religious discrimination. Religious liberty and religious nondiscrimination are flip sides of the same coin, and the notion that one has to choose one over the other is, very simply, a conceptual error. Attempting to prohibit religious garb in service of some sort of civic solidarity is just a blatant form of religious discrimination.



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