Proposed German law against the veil

I just read the CFI essay opposing Merkel’s support for the proposed German law which would ban face veils. Although I am a loyal member of CFI, I think Michael DeDora and other CFI administrators took the wrong position on this issue.
I believe that it serves the common good for people to keep their faces uncovered in public. An unobstructed face facilitates identification, communication, and social integration in almost all cases and safety in some cases. A general ban on face coverings has a higher benefit-to-cost ratio than allowing people to cover their faces whenever they want. I don’t see why exceptions should be granted for religious reasons.
Covering the face impedes communication by obscuring facial expressions so important in emotions and feelings. It also makes speech harder to understand, especially for people with hearing handicaps. Facial features are important for identification. Covering the face often leads to feelings of suspicion, fear, frustration, or hostility in others.
Of course, the ban should be written in such a way that it is not discriminatory against Muslims in particular. For example, something like this might work: “The covering of the face in public is prohibited, except when the ambient temperature is below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Any person found guilty of this law shall be fined at the rate of $75 for every day that they cover the face in public.”
It is often said that people should be free to wear what they want. In general, I agree, but I think there must be exceptions to this. People should not be free to wear what they want if doing so significantly interferes with the common good, which is the case when covering the face in public.
Do Muslim women want to cover their faces in public? If they want to, why do they want to? Is it because their husbands and fathers approve or require the practice? Is it because of religious indoctrination early in life?
If there are good secular reasons to adopt a law, I don’t think people should be permitted to violate the law for religious reasons. “God (or Allah) wants me to behave this way” is not rationally sound. Who can prove that God or Allah exists beyond a reasonable doubt? But even if the deity did exist, who can prove that God or Allah has mandated the covering of the face in public?
Although I usually agree with Michael DeDora, I think all of the reasons he gave in the essay for opposing the veil ban were very weak.
I think Michael and CFI in general should reverse their position and come out in support of Merkel.
I would like to hear some good discussion of this topic.

I just read the CFI essay opposing Merkel's support for the proposed German law which would ban face veils. Although I am a loyal member of CFI, I think Michael DeDora and other CFI administrators took the wrong position on this issue. I believe that it serves the common good for people to keep their faces uncovered in public. An unobstructed face facilitates identification, communication, and social integration in almost all cases and safety in some cases. A general ban on face coverings has a higher benefit-to-cost ratio than allowing people to cover their faces whenever they want. I don't see why exceptions should be granted for religious reasons. Covering the face impedes communication by obscuring facial expressions so important in emotions and feelings. It also makes speech harder to understand, especially for people with hearing handicaps. Facial features are important for identification. Covering the face often leads to feelings of suspicion, fear, frustration, or hostility in others. Of course, the ban should be written in such a way that it is not discriminatory against Muslims in particular. For example, something like this might work: "The covering of the face in public is prohibited, except when the ambient temperature is below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Any person found guilty of this law shall be fined at the rate of $75 for every day that they cover the face in public." It is often said that people should be free to wear what they want. In general, I agree, but I think there must be exceptions to this. People should not be free to wear what they want if doing so significantly interferes with the common good, which is the case when covering the face in public. Do Muslim women want to cover their faces in public? If they want to, why do they want to? Is it because their husbands and fathers approve or require the practice? Is it because of religious indoctrination early in life? If there are good secular reasons to adopt a law, I don't think people should be permitted to violate the law for religious reasons. "God (or Allah) wants me to behave this way" is not rationally sound. Who can prove that God or Allah exists beyond a reasonable doubt? But even if the deity did exist, who can prove that God or Allah has mandated the covering of the face in public? Although I usually agree with Michael DeDora, I think all of the reasons he gave in the essay for opposing the veil ban were very weak. I think Michael and CFI in general should reverse their position and come out in support of Merkel. I would like to hear some good discussion of this topic.
It's a good idea but probably won't become law. But how about this: if Muslim women are required by their religion to wear a veil, how about Muslim men being required to wear one by governments? Just kidding. All they'd need is another excuse to commit terrorism.

I suppose we can assume that the law can be a law under their constitution.
Other European nations are passing these laws. So what does that mean?
The desire for such laws are growing. They are organically growing.
Some politicians are taking the oblique cop-out that the law is justified because it’s demeaning to women…exploitative.
And while the veil is that, the law seeks something much more baser, much more “natural”.
It’s foreign and it’s scary. And it doesn’t fit in. Not anymore. 20 years ago it was a whimsical thing. An exotic addition to your local Marienplatz
or Central Square. Now it’s a tiresome example of rampant immigration by people who don’t wish to assimilate.
Now it’s synonymous with terror and a religion which is becoming more and more apparent as an extremist platform.
That’s what it is, bottom line. That how it’s perceived and it’s ok that it is perceived as such.
It’s reasonable. Nobody perceives green earrings that way. Nobody perceives Stovepipe hats that way.
I’m for that veil ban.
What does it say when people like De Dora are against such laws?
How do these reservations organically come about? We can easily cite the altruistic reasoning and citations of past “enlightened”
thinkers which gave rise to DeDora’s views. We know the glossy reasons someone can fall back on.
Could I honestly believe that someone who is against this veil ban is as fervently against the ban as the people who wish to enact the laws?
Hell no.
One is a contrivance, a canned, boilerplate response. An overarching code that people can bandy about simply on the merits of some perceived good. And it is one size fits all. It works for everything. This thinking had to be learned. It had to be practiced. Nuanced.
The other is an organic, developing thing that has foundations in people’s concerns and patience. It is a result of people’s comforts and liberties being stressed. It is situational. It is something alive that has to be addressed. Nobody had to learn to hate the veil.
Nobody had to be taught the meaning behind laws banning such veils.
Apparently making a law banning the veil is legal too.

Vyazma said:"Nobody had to be taught the meaning behind laws banning such veils."
It is taught in the Koran and explained that this was to protect women from unwanted male aggression.. The irony is that the Koran admits the baser instincts in men, but tries to solve the problem by hiding the woman from view, thereby punishing women for men's sins?
I suppose we can assume that the law can be a law under their constitution. Other European nations are passing these laws. So what does that mean? The desire for such laws are growing. They are organically growing. Some politicians are taking the oblique cop-out that the law is justified because it's demeaning to women...exploitative. And while the veil is that, the law seeks something much more baser, much more "natural". It's foreign and it's scary. And it doesn't fit in. Not anymore. 20 years ago it was a whimsical thing. An exotic addition to your local Marienplatz or Central Square. Now it's a tiresome example of rampant immigration by people who don't wish to assimilate. Now it's synonymous with terror and a religion which is becoming more and more apparent as an extremist platform. That's what it is, bottom line. That how it's perceived and it's ok that it is perceived as such. It's reasonable. Nobody perceives green earrings that way. Nobody perceives Stovepipe hats that way. I'm for that veil ban. What does it say when people like De Dora are against such laws? How do these reservations organically come about? We can easily cite the altruistic reasoning and citations of past "enlightened" thinkers which gave rise to DeDora's views. We know the glossy reasons someone can fall back on. Could I honestly believe that someone who is against this veil ban is as fervently against the ban as the people who wish to enact the laws? Hell no. One is a contrivance, a canned, boilerplate response. An overarching code that people can bandy about simply on the merits of some perceived good. And it is one size fits all. It works for everything. This thinking had to be learned. It had to be practiced. Nuanced. The other is an organic, developing thing that has foundations in people's concerns and patience. It is a result of people's comforts and liberties being stressed. It is situational. It is something alive that has to be addressed. Nobody had to learn to hate the veil. Nobody had to be taught the meaning behind laws banning such veils. Apparently making a law banning the veil is legal too.
It's been tradition in the US not ro impose laws against religious practices. In fact it's guaranteed in the Constitution. Wearing any item of clothing is not hurting anyone. Yes, it is demeaning to women in our eyes, but it is a part of a religion and doesn't really affect those who are not part of it. Orthodox Jews have certain clothing and other rules. Would you ban that, too? Long sleeves and longish dresses on women, hair covered, yarmulkas, payot or side curls on boys? I personally don't like any displays of religion in clothing or hairstyles or headwear, but I don't think the government should have any say in how people dress. I would like to ban headscarves in schools but then we'd have to ban Orthodox Jewish clothing, too. How would that go down? Would we ban wearing crosses? Stars of David? Buddhist robes? Nun's habits? Clerical collars? Long beards? Sikh turbans? Where would we draw the line?
Vyazma said:"Nobody had to be taught the meaning behind laws banning such veils."
It is taught in the Koran and explained that this was to protect women from unwanted male aggression.. The irony is that the Koran admits the baser instincts in men, but tries to solve the problem by hiding the woman from view, thereby punishing women for men's sins?
It's certainly not unusual or new. Women have been blamed for men's excesses since the dawn of man. Laws aren't going to stop the practice. Muslim men are apparently likely to go into a sexual frenzy at the sight of a woman's hair. That's what their culture seems to be saying, anyway--that men have no control over their sexual urges, so women must be hidden. Some go so far as to keep women from receiving an education. And they often don't allow a woman or a man to choose a spouse--women especially. I would be reluctant to pass laws regarding personal, things like clothing and headgear. I'd put the onus on the person who goes out of control, though, and not the victim, as happens in many Muslim societies and families. Would you be in favor of a law that requires women to join the clergy of religions that ban it, such as the Catholic Church? Lois

I am not in favor of any law based on scripture, regardless of religion , except those moral commandments which are compatible with secular law…
This is a handy reference : http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/quran/says_about/index.htm

I just read the CFI essay opposing Merkel's support for the proposed German law which would ban face veils. Although I am a loyal member of CFI, I think Michael DeDora and other CFI administrators took the wrong position on this issue. I believe that it serves the common good for people to keep their faces uncovered in public. An unobstructed face facilitates identification, communication, and social integration in almost all cases and safety in some cases. A general ban on face coverings has a higher benefit-to-cost ratio than allowing people to cover their faces whenever they want. I don't see why exceptions should be granted for religious reasons. Covering the face impedes communication by obscuring facial expressions so important in emotions and feelings. It also makes speech harder to understand, especially for people with hearing handicaps. Facial features are important for identification. Covering the face often leads to feelings of suspicion, fear, frustration, or hostility in others. Of course, the ban should be written in such a way that it is not discriminatory against Muslims in particular. For example, something like this might work: "The covering of the face in public is prohibited, except when the ambient temperature is below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Any person found guilty of this law shall be fined at the rate of $75 for every day that they cover the face in public." It is often said that people should be free to wear what they want. In general, I agree, but I think there must be exceptions to this. People should not be free to wear what they want if doing so significantly interferes with the common good, which is the case when covering the face in public. Do Muslim women want to cover their faces in public? If they want to, why do they want to? Is it because their husbands and fathers approve or require the practice? Is it because of religious indoctrination early in life? If there are good secular reasons to adopt a law, I don't think people should be permitted to violate the law for religious reasons. "God (or Allah) wants me to behave this way" is not rationally sound. Who can prove that God or Allah exists beyond a reasonable doubt? But even if the deity did exist, who can prove that God or Allah has mandated the covering of the face in public? Although I usually agree with Michael DeDora, I think all of the reasons he gave in the essay for opposing the veil ban were very weak. I think Michael and CFI in general should reverse their position and come out in support of Merkel. I would like to hear some good discussion of this topic.
Following is the reason for Muslim women to wear excessive body covering: The Koran: "The Light: [24.31] And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof, and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms, and not display their ornaments except to their husbands or their fathers, or the fathers of their husbands, or their sons, or the sons of their husbands, or their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or those whom their right hands possess, or the male servants not having need (of women), or the children who have not attained knowledge of what is hidden of women; and let them not strike their feet so that what they hide of their ornaments may be known; and turn to Allah all of you, O believers! so that you may be successful." I think all secular and humanist people/groups should discourage anyway they can, including banning, this practice by the sorry humans who have been brainwashed to call themselves Muslims. This should be done for human dignity and rights, above all other factors. People who think otherwise should ask themselves some questions like the following: Isn't the excessive body covering like punishing the could be victims (women) for the crime of undue sexual advances by the could be criminals (men)? Isn't it injustice against women? Is it OK because it is claimed to be a dress/fashion by the excessively brainwashed victims? Doesn't it assume most men to be incapable of controlling their sexuality when they see any regularly dressed woman that is not their mother, daughter or sister? Isn't it insulting to men? BTW, most Muslim women in the USA do not wear hijab; because Muslims are humans first and foremost, even when some of them seem to be too much into Islam than humanity. I am disappointed to learn that CFI opposes the ban on hijab.

My comment here is a response to Loist.
Loist: It’s been tradition in the US not ro [to] impose laws against religious practices. In fact it’s guaranteed in the Constitution.
GW: The essay is about Germany, not the US. Reason should be valued over tradition. The proposed law need not be against any religious practice, only against covering the face in public.
Loist: Wearing any item of clothing is not hurting anyone.
GW: I disagree. It depends on the circumstances. The covering of the face by an item of clothing is hurting people. It is obstructing identification, communication, social harmony, and sometimes safety of the public.
Loist: Yes, it is demeaning to women in our eyes, but it is a part of a religion and doesn’t really affect those who are not part of it.
GW: The covering of the face affects everyone, regardless of religion. A law requiring an uncovered face in public facilitates the common good. Why make an exception to the law based on the irrational idea “Allah wants me to cover the face"?
Loist: Orthodox Jews have certain clothing and other rules. Would you ban that, too? Long sleeves and longish dresses on women, hair covered, yarmulkas, payot or side curls on boys? I personally don’t like any displays of religion in clothing or hairstyles or headwear, but I don’t think the government should have any say in how people dress.
GW: These don’t cover the face, and so they should not be banned.
Loist: I would like to ban headscarves in schools but then we’d have to ban Orthodox Jewish clothing, too. How would that go down? Would we ban wearing crosses? Stars of David? Buddhist robes? Nun’s habits? Clerical collars? Long beards? Sikh turbans? Where would we draw the line?
GW: I think you are constructing a sort of straw-man slippery-slope argument. Formulated as I suggested, the law would ban covering the face in public and would not be discriminatory against any particular religion.

It's been tradition in the US not ro impose laws against religious practices. In fact it's guaranteed in the Constitution. Wearing any item of clothing is not hurting anyone. Yes, it is demeaning to women in our eyes, but it is a part of a religion and doesn't really affect those who are not part of it. Orthodox Jews have certain clothing and other rules. Would you ban that, too? Long sleeves and longish dresses on women, hair covered, yarmulkas, payot or side curls on boys? I personally don't like any displays of religion in clothing or hairstyles or headwear, but I don't think the government should have any say in how people dress. I would like to ban headscarves in schools but then we'd have to ban Orthodox Jewish clothing, too. How would that go down? Would we ban wearing crosses? Stars of David? Buddhist robes? Nun's habits? Clerical collars? Long beards? Sikh turbans? Where would we draw the line?
I would not ban any religious or traditional symbol, no matter now stupid it is, except when it is a symbol of injustice or when it poses real threats to public safety. The Koranic edict of excessive body covering for women should be banned; because it is a symbol and reality of injustice against women, and because it could be used as a mask by criminals. The US tradition of not imposing laws against religious practices needs to be reevaluated. Freedom of religion should not be allowed to trample freedom of humanity.

I was surprised to read that these types of clothing have restrictions in Chad and Egypt.
That’s an eye-opener. And the reason was security.

Response to Sukhamaya (Sam) Bain:
You said “I am pleased to learn that CFI supports the ban on hijab."
You have misunderstood. CFI OPPOSES the ban on the hijab. I believe CFI has taken the wrong position for the reasons I gave. I am actually a member of CFI, and so I am disagreeing with the majority of the administration who took the stand against Merkel.
It is hard for me to imagine that Tom Flynn and Ron Lindsay voted in the majority. I would like to hear their opinion either way.

I think it is always a danger to do symbolic politics. Forbidding the burqa (not the hijab) just from resentment is pretty useless. Here in Switzerland we already had this stupid ban on minarets. Did this somehow help against Islamic radicalism? Of course not. At most it helps radicalising more Muslims.
Now of course there is a difference between minarets and the burqa. When security is involved, e.g. at mass meetings of people, I can imagine you forbid somebody in burqa to enter. Another point is that we in the west like to see people’s faces when we are in contact with them. Personally I think this is an important value, but making a law against wearing a burqa is in my eyes one step too far. I can imagine that one can be obliged to show the face when in official contact with authorities. So the ban on the burqa should fall under the general ban on disguise (is that the correct word in English?), in the same circumstances.
I even think it is OK in personal contact to ask to show the face. Just to compare: I sometimes ask a person to take his/hers sunglasses of, because I want to see the eyes when I am talking to somebody. If one refuses, one can stop the contact. If a Muslim woman protests that this is discrimination, one can say that this is a choice: the woman was not born with the burqa. And if she refuses because it is her religion, I think it is fully OK to say that it is a value of you to see the face of somebody who you are talking to.
Merkel of course wants to take some wind from the ‘Alternative für Deutschland’, whose program is pretty simple: close the borders for refugees, throw all those who are already there out, and in the long run maybe all Turks and Moroccans too.

GDB: Here in Switzerland we already had this stupid ban on minarets.
GW: What were the reasons for banning minarets? And why do you think the ban is stupid?
GDB: Another point is that we in the west like to see people’s faces when we are in contact with them. Personally I think this is an important value, but making a law against wearing a burqa is in my eyes one step too far. I can imagine that one can be obliged to show the face when in official contact with authorities.
GW: As I pointed out, uncovered faces in public is important for identification, communication, social harmony, and in some cases safety. The law should not target the wearing of a burqa, but the covering of the face. Otherwise, it would be religious discrimination, which is wrong.
GDB: I even think it is OK in personal contact to ask to show the face. Just to compare: I sometimes ask a person to take his/hers sunglasses of, because I want to see the eyes when I am talking to somebody. If one refuses, one can stop the contact. If a Muslim woman protests that this is discrimination, one can say that this is a choice: the woman was not born with the burqa. And if she refuses because it is her religion, I think it is fully OK to say that it is a value of you to see the face of somebody who you are talking to.
GW: You shouldn’t have to ask people to uncover their face in public. That should just be what is expected and required. It supports the common good of the community.
GDB: Merkel of course wants to take some wind from the `Alternative für Deutschland’, whose program is pretty simple: close the borders for refugees, throw all those who are already there out, and in the long run maybe all Turks and Moroccans too.
GW: I really don’t care what her motive is. She could believe that aliens or gods told her to support the ban and she wanted to please them. What matters is that she is correct.

GDB: Here in Switzerland we already had this stupid ban on minarets. GW: What were the reasons for banning minarets? And why do you think the ban is stupid?
You can start reading here].
GW: As I pointed out, uncovered faces in public is important for identification, communication, social harmony, and in some cases safety. The law should not target the wearing of a burqa, but the covering of the face. Otherwise, it would be religious discrimination, which is wrong.
A burqa is covering the face. If we forbid covering the face just in situations where it is important, then it is OK. But just women shopping in town? No. So no general ban.
GW: You shouldn’t have to ask people to uncover their face in public. That should just be what is expected and required. It supports the common good of the community.
I agree. But therefore we do not need a law.
GW: I really don’t care what her motive is.
Well, you should. Radical right is becoming stronger every day. What happens then you can see e.g. in Poland and Hungary: slowly their governments are killing free society.
Response to Sukhamaya (Sam) Bain: You said “I am pleased to learn that CFI supports the ban on hijab." You have misunderstood. CFI OPPOSES the ban on the hijab. I believe CFI has taken the wrong position for the reasons I gave. I am actually a member of CFI, and so I am disagreeing with the majority of the administration who took the stand against Merkel. It is hard for me to imagine that Tom Flynn and Ron Lindsay voted in the majority. I would like to hear their opinion either way.
Looks like I did misunderstand; sorry about that. Again, the Koranic edict of excessive body covering for women should be banned; because it is a symbol and reality of injustice against women, and because it could be used as a mask by criminals. Freedom of religion should not be allowed to trample freedom of humanity. So, I must be disappointed with CFI for opposing the ban on hijab. Thanks, Gary, for correcting my error.

Response to GdB
GW: I still don’t know why Switzerland banned minarets or why you think the ban was wrong. I can’t make a judgement on that. I don’t see the connection to covering the face in public.
GdB: If we forbid covering the face just in situations where it is important, then it is OK. But just women shopping in town? No. So no general ban.
GW: It is important in all situations in public, so a general ban is justified.
GdB: But therefore we do not need a law.
GW: Yes, we do, and I told you why I think we do. Simply put, it is for the common good of humanity. All countries should have a ban on covering the face in public, not just Germany. I think all people should have a right to see the faces of others while in public. This is good practice for identification, communication, social harmony, and in some cases safety over the short and long run.
GdB: What happens then you can see e.g. in Poland and Hungary: slowly their governments are killing free society.
GW: You are making a slippery slope argument here. Banning the covering of the face in public is hardly “killing free society" any more than banning robbery is. We should not allow religious exceptions to good laws made for good secular reasons, as in the case of a law against covering the face in public.

These counter-arguments are exactly what I was talking about.
No real, good justification for why the ban is not acceptable.
Just bad arguments with straw-men and slippery slope arguments.
Theirs is an appeal to an authority of liberal intellectualism to the extreme.
Despite your logic and reasoning, you just don’t know enough about the dangers of straying from their plans.
Merkel for example. She knew better than her citizens knew about what was good for them.
And she’ll be kicked to the curb next year. Leaving her country in a morass.
Liberal authoritarian experimenting gone awry! Bank on it.

GW: I still don’t know why Switzerland banned minarets or why you think the ban was wrong. I can’t make a judgement on that. I don’t see the connection to covering the face in public.
Then you did not read the link I provided. The link is that in both cases it is symbolic policy.
GW: It is important in all situations in public, so a general ban is justified.
What do you think? That the streets in Europe are crowded with Muslim women in burqa? In Switzerland, where I live I have never seen one. It is pure symbolic policy.
GW: Yes, we do, and I told you why I think we do. Simply put, it is for the common good of humanity. All countries should have a ban on covering the face in public, not just Germany. I think all people should have a right to see the faces of others while in public. This is good practice for identification, communication, social harmony, and in some cases safety over the short and long run.
I agree that nobody should have his/her face covered. But I do not agree that this must be a law. To change people's values should not pushed too hard. There are also a lot of moral values that many people adhere to, but are not put in a law.
GW: You are making a slippery slope argument here. Banning the covering of the face in public is hardly “killing free society" any more than banning robbery is. We should not allow religious exceptions to good laws made for good secular reasons, as in the case of a law against covering the face in public.
You have not understood one word I wrote. Try again.
My comment here is a response to Loist. Loist: It's been tradition in the US not ro [to] impose laws against religious practices. In fact it's guaranteed in the Constitution. GW: The essay is about Germany, not the US. Reason should be valued over tradition. The proposed law need not be against any religious practice, only against covering the face in public. Loist: Wearing any item of clothing is not hurting anyone. GW: I disagree. It depends on the circumstances. The covering of the face by an item of clothing is hurting people. It is obstructing identification, communication, social harmony, and sometimes safety of the public. Loist: Yes, it is demeaning to women in our eyes, but it is a part of a religion and doesn't really affect those who are not part of it. GW: The covering of the face affects everyone, regardless of religion. A law requiring an uncovered face in public facilitates the common good. Why make an exception to the law based on the irrational idea “Allah wants me to cover the face"? Loist: Orthodox Jews have certain clothing and other rules. Would you ban that, too? Long sleeves and longish dresses on women, hair covered, yarmulkas, payot or side curls on boys? I personally don't like any displays of religion in clothing or hairstyles or headwear, but I don't think the government should have any say in how people dress. GW: These don’t cover the face, and so they should not be banned. Loist: I would like to ban headscarves in schools but then we'd have to ban Orthodox Jewish clothing, too. How would that go down? Would we ban wearing crosses? Stars of David? Buddhist robes? Nun's habits? Clerical collars? Long beards? Sikh turbans? Where would we draw the line? GW: I think you are constructing a sort of straw-man slippery-slope argument. Formulated as I suggested, the law would ban covering the face in public and would not be discriminatory against any particular religion.
I could go slong with a law that said the face must be visible in public at all times. But as I understand it, the law bans the hijab or head scarf. An Islamic head scarf does nor cover the face. Though it is not unheard of, it is relatively rare even for Islamic women to have their faces covered. I have no objection to a general ban on covering the face. It would be difficult to enforce, however.