Friday, September 14, 2012

Religious Freedom, American Style

Here is a wonderful example of American religious freedom in action, in ways which don't center on ancillary disputes with theoretical Christians fringes and which present a direct and powerful contrast between the way Americans and Europeans treat the "eccentricities" of religious minorities:

California employers face new restrictions against shunting Sikh and Muslim workers out of public view for wearing turbans, beards and hijabs, under a bill signed Saturday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The measure could affect workplaces from Disneyland to San Quentin Prison.

"This bill, AB 1964, makes it very clear that wearing any type of religious clothing or hairstyle, particularly such as Sikhs do … is protected by law and nobody can discriminate against you because of that," Brown told some 400 Sikhs and supporters at a rally of the North American Punjabi Assn. on the steps of the Capitol. Brown also signed SB 1540, which requires the state Board of Education to consider a new history framework for schools that the governor said will include "the role and contributions of the Sikh community in California."

Unfortunately, California has also proved its ongoing and incomprehensible commitment to reduce the history classroom to an instrument for producing political capital.

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