[Buddha-l] For the free movement of gods

R B Basham bshmr at aol.com
Fri Aug 13 14:49:47 MDT 2010

I have been reading, via RSS feed, Press Europe as much for its content
as 'flavor'. This commentary, though thoroughly an Abrahamic
perspective, seemed a nice contrast with similar USAn fare. 


For the free movement of gods
13 August 2010 Die Zeit Hamburg; Jan Ross

[Photo caption: Confronted by a multiplicity of religions and their
symbols, most states choose to forbid them. But in doing so, they are
heading toward an impasse, claims Die Zeit while pleading for tolerance
and pluralism. ]

Armenia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Malta, Russia, San Marino and Cyprus are
to appear before the European court of human rights. The issue in
question concerns whether crucifixes should be forbidden in Italian
classrooms, as they allegedly constitute a violation of each state's
legally-mandated neutral impartiality. The countries that feel directly
implicated in the issue have joined the defendant, Italy, and are
represented by the eminent European jurist Joseph Weiler, himself a
practicing Jew.

Here is a case in point of how rich and paradoxical Europe's ideological
landscape has become. Religions not only compete with each other, they
sometimes join to form alliances: a Jew shows support for a symbol of
the Christian faith, and Orthodox Bulgarians come out in favour of
Italian Catholics. Globalisation and open borders have brought out a
number of conflicts where different faiths meet. The most interminable
of these conflicts throughout Europe centres on the question of Muslim
identity, continually harped upon by Dutch Islamophobe Geert Wilders,
who dramatically exposes the latest ideological fissures. But at least
one valid question is hidden behind this rhetoric: What should be the
relation between religion and the state in 21st-century Europe?


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