The New Religious Intolerance by Martha C. Nussbaum

book jacket Muslim girlThe New Religious Intolerance: Overcoming the politics of fear in an anxious age (2012) by Martha C. Nussbaum

This is an interesting, almost philosophical, discussion of various aspects of religious activities, from burqas to yarmulkes, discriminatory laws directed at a particular practice (forbidding Latin in church but allowing it in schools back in the day in England with hostility to Catholic services), and similar almost random ways that religious dogma infiltrates all aspects of human lives (including treatment of animals, such as kosher killing of animals).

The nub is drawing the line. What is an acceptable level of tolerance and at what point should religious practices be deemed unjustified or in contradiction to legal protections and the interests of the State.

One real crux of the issue of religious variations and other cultural differences is a central problem to religious and other forms of intolerance, and this is stated on page 2: ‘NON-ASSIMILATION TO THE CULTURE OF THE MAJORITY.” From an American perspective living in the “melting pot” historically, immigrants have wanted to assimilate. Yet we have a core belief in the rights of an individual, for example, to religious expression of ANY sort (well, almost, cults are frowned upon, and atheists are assumed to be satanists which is not an acceptable expression of religious activity, however the Courts have permitted leniency for the satirical Satanist groups organized to mock religious displays in order to illustrate the absurdity of and illegitimacy of the domination of Christian beliefs as integral to our “Christian” nation when the United States is VERY SPECIFICALLY NOT Christian but SECULAR. No matter how many times the evangelicals repeat the lie and make false statements as to the Founding Fathers being “Christian” when the facts prove otherwise.

This has become a singular and damaging quality of daily life for America. When you have a fringe religious extremist [Ted Cruz] whose father thinks he’s chosen by [their] god to become president, and that candidate says that his god’s “laws” are superior to man made laws including the U.S. Constitution, the very basic foundation of the country is under threat. Probably one of the most remarkable characteristics of the Republican men originally running for President is the fact that many of them made the same claim: God’s will is that I should run. And yet, a totally secular, sinful, and, if not criminal, certainly skating the limits of legal much less ethical practices, man has become the apparent Republican nominee for President. Pandering and having no moral center, or worse, a deliberate provocateur, is now in a position to end American democracy and freedoms, especially for women, but even worse for minorities who have experienced a massive increase in hate crimes. Like the woman wearing a headscarf and who was driving down a road, minding her own business, when a good old boy pulled up beside her and shot her dead. And she wasn’t even Muslim as I recall. Given the misogyny as well as hatred of minorities, the killer may well have shot the woman just because she was a woman who dared to drive a car alone. The sad thing is I cannot find a citation of this news story because there are so many results when I entered multiple search terms about shootings (19,300,000).

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