As some of you would know, I started my second year as a law student this week, and I must say, it has been an excellent start!
I get Mondays off (yes!) and my first lesson of the week is ‘Religion and Law’, which I think I will thoroughly enjoy!
The Religion and Law module basically explores how the state and religion overlap, divide and clash. It discusses the notion of religion liberty and discrimination in different constitutional arrangements and in the various social aspects of education, private life, International human rights scene and in the UK.
Some interesting case law to point out:
Multani v Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys: Canadian case questioning the constitutional right of a Sikh pupil to wear kirpan (religious ceremonial knife) at school.
Begun v Denbigh High School: UK case involving the wearing of the burqa in school.
More interesting was the Swiss minaret ban in 2009, where the country as a collective community voted in support of this ban.
This is truly an interesting topic, especially in the light of recent global activity and fears.
Yet, what I found more interesting was that many of these cases come up because there seems to be some sort of religious discrimination. For example, there was a dispute on whether crucifixes should be hung in classrooms in Italy. I found it amazing that the crucifix is only a cross carved out of wood with a dying man. It is simply hung on the wall, no flashing lights; no judgment; nothing but the cross. Yet, it can incite so much discussion, hatred and passion. The thing that presses me is why there is so much commotion about religion. Christianity is one of the beliefs that I believe have a positive impact of people’s lifestyles and values – yet why so much opposition?
Did we offend you in any way? In fact, did other religions offend you? Are we a threat to you?
As much as we are a modern society, I am still amazed by the power and impact of religion, not only on individuals, but on the laws and the state.