By Jeffrey Tayler
The first woman in a hijab to anchor a television news broadcast! To dance as a ballerina! To fence in the Olympics! To — cue for gasps at the sheer progressive splendor of the moment — pose in Playboy!
Headlines proclaiming such “firsts” — performed by Muslim women living, nota bene, in the United States and Canada — have appeared often in the press over the past couple of years. Surely by now you’ve seen them. The associated coverage is frequently gushing, but when it is not, it is not probing, and certainly not critical. It is, in fact, part and parcel of the regressive left’s insidious attempt at brainwashing well-meaning liberals into lauding what should be, in our increasingly diverse societies, at best a neutral fact: freedom of speech means freedom of religion. Women should be free to dress as they please. Some Muslim women wear hijabs and are the first to do so in various endeavors.
By no means does freedom of religion, however, confer on religion or religious customs exemptions from criticism, satire, or even derision. The American revolutionary Thomas Paine, among others, established that. Too much is at stake. Unsupported by evidence, at odds with science, and frequently deleterious to the common good, religion and its attendant customs deserve intense, sustained rationalist scrutiny. Our fellows, of course, are free to base their lives on ancient claptrap ideologies entailing uncritical acceptance of absurdities (talking snakes, virgin births, flying horses, and so on), but they should not expect the rest of us to ignore or let pass without comment the intrusion of said claptrap into the public arena. In the United States, for example, the faith-addled — though, thankfully, dwindling in number — use their votes to the detriment of, inter alia, reproductive rights, the right to die with dignity, and public education. With religion losing its grip on the young, progressives of all ages need to seize the initiative and speak out. The established trend is toward nonbelief.
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