April 12, 2011

Dear France,

Do you realize that by comparison you are making Americans look tolerant and reasonable? Doesn't that bother you? It bothers me. If you keep this up you'll soon have your own homegrown Sarah Palins to deal with.

13 comments:

  1. After the prank call Sarah Palin got from "President Nicolas Sarkozy", Sarah Palin is already France's version of Sarah Palin.

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  2. AND IT'S MAKING IT REALLY HARD FOR ME TO GET MY HUSBAND TO WANT TO LIVE ABROAD!!

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  3. Hmm, I live in France and I am an american citizen.
    In america we don't tell people what to wear, that's true. But in France health care and secondary education are simply rights.
    I can honestly say that French society seems more sexist to me, but I do appreciate that all religions have less of a public place. In america we believe in the freedom of religious persons to have their say, even if they want to burn the Koran publicly. In France we believe you should be french first. Religion is privet matter. People can't put up don't abort your baby signs, because not only is it not a religious issue here, it's basically a nonissue at all. It's legal. Just like same sex marriages are. Just like civil unions are. In fact everyone who gets married gets married by the mayor and obtains a religious wedding only if you so choose.
    You also have the right to certain tax breaks in partnership outside of marriage--including protection of children under the law. Each spouse is also allowed to take a year off with their kid. 35 hour work weeks, drinking in public, an entire ile in the super market just for yogurt and good wine is less than three dollars, american.
    No starbucks as far as the eye can see....thanks, I think I'll stay.

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  4. Every place has its quirks. I envy France's health care though. There are idiots in every country I guess.

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  5. I've always had a certain admiration for the French but it sets an overtly racist precedent that isn't being set by one guy burning a book in Florida but by an entire government that is apparently openly hostile to a certain segment of the population based on ethnicity and it's being done to score political points. I'm not going to say America is superior to France because it's like comparing apples to oranges. But I don't think the French government should be given a pass for this because of other things they do that I agree with. It's an embarassment and should be treated as such.

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  6. Hmm controversy time...or should it be? Every country has its foibles (shit Australia didn't even recognise its native inhabitants as humans until the year I was born, and it only said 'sorry' to those children of the same people stolen from their families to 'Anglicsise' them three years ago).
    But yeah the burqa thing is a tough one and argument should be public over whether this does cross certain internationally agreed precedents regarding freedom of religion, thought etc.
    My stance on religion and belief systems is fairly well known, however the thought of 'knee-jerk reaction' does hover over this one. And I'm talking massive knee-jerk reaction, so I am in partial agreement with you over this one that the French government has made a rather large faux pas in allowing this law to pass through relatively unimpeded.
    Then again, Turkey outlawed the same dress code in all public buildings years ago.
    Hope this rant made some sort of sense.
    Good post and bravo for playing devils advocate ;

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  7. I think you're downplaying the burning thing, but I still think France's treatment of the issue is wrong. As long as you realize that no one is allowed to wear religious symbols in public: not Christians, Jews or Muslims, then ok, I respect your points.
    I guess I just prefer oranges!

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  8. I might be downplaying that a bit in this case. I think it was an extremely dumb thing to do and served no purpose at all except to inflame tensions. The difference is it wasn't the President of the country burning the koran. Again, I don't live in France so I may be wrong on this issue. It was my understanding that all religious symbols were banned in French public schools, not throughout the country. I'm fine with ensuring taking religions out of schools but I don't think priests should be fined for wearing those little white collars and I don't think Muslim women should be banned from wearing burqas if they so choose.

    What really bugs me is the rhetoric of the argument. It's the same as the anti-immigration rhetoric here. They're not French enough if they're repressed and wear veils. They're not American enough if they don't speak English.

    I know my position is a little ironic considering I am an atheist. But this sort of thing just shits me. I don't think any country has the right to force anyone to wear one, or to keep a woman from wearing one. I think the French should be reassured that so many women are wearing them in protest, because really, what is more French than that?

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  9. The french on their worse day would still be better than Sarah Palin on her best day... but I do think this ban is stupid and awful.

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  10. with exception of this news case and their decision to depend almost solely on nuclear power for energy which is as unsustainable and dangerous as one can get, i think france often gets it right much more often than the US...

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  11. Christopher, you're the kind of person who helps people like me get a VERY positive impression of the west. A lot of the times I am left to believe that people in the west are very intolerant of Islam - by news of people burning the Quran or France banning the hijab etc. And when people like you actually stand up for the rights of people who follow the same religion as me, it REALLY makes me swell with happiness.

    Thank you for this write up and for taking such an open-minded stance on the issue.

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  12. I remember a while ago some woman got into a tiff with the DMV because she didn't want to remove her burqa for her ID photo. It seems reasonable to me in that situation that the government would intervene in the religious laws because it doesn't make any sense to have an ID photo where you can only see the eyes.

    France-- what the fuck are you doing?

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  13. definite accountability for france, as for america and everyone else...my big annoyance these days is the hero-worshipping of everyone in the military - just because they're in the military doesn't mean they're a hero, or even necessarily there to be a hero (man just needed a job or access to free education), so it baffles the hell out of me that there is less accountability for crimes committed in the military and that there is even such a thing as a tribunal - it's like suddenly they're not accountable to the US justice system. grr.

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