Don’t mix religion and politics


France’s lower house of parliament has passed a ban on wearing full face veils in public. In June, Indonesian women wearing jeans had their pants confiscated and were ordered to don long skirts.

Why are governments telling people what to wear or not wear?

In both cases, the question of what to wear or not to wear is intertwined with religion. The Indonesian women who were told to wear skirts were in a predominantly Muslim area. The veils addressed in the French law are also commonly worn by Muslim women. (It is not just Islam that has rules about what to wear. Many religions have dress codes. It just happens these two examples include Muslim women.)

The better question is: Why is government telling religion what to do and why is religion telling government what to do?

Remember the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup ads? “You’ve got your chocolate in my peanut butter.” “You’ve got your peanut butter in my chocolate.” In the end, they decide they like the combination. What works for candy does not work for government and religion.

Please note: I am not saying that government should operate without morals or values. I am saying government and religion need to be separate.

I don’t want churches fixing the roads, running the courts or overseeing the safety of our food.

Likewise, I don’t want governments telling us what to eat, what to pray and what to wear.