Jim Linville has some thoughts to share about SBL and its “unhealthy (and too ‘damn’ ‘holy) dalliances” with Bible thumpin’ organizations. See ‘em here. Plenty to chew on, especially the questions at the end regarding what biblical studies brings to the table as a discipline. Most people working in humanities have had to defend their craft multiple times in their lives, but biblical studies has the added benefit of piggybacking into cultural relevance on the back of religious conviction. Does it still have anything to offer if we take that away? Watch Fox News tonight or you’ll never know, and it could kill your family!
Tag Archives: Secularism
Dr. Jim is understandably upset about some recent events regarding a new SBL program unit and shares some concerns he has with SBL sections that privilege religious presuppositions. I think he makes some good points.
A CNN article here discusses a man who was denied citizenship in France because his French wife wears a burqa. The article makes it sound like he’s forcing her to do it, but that’s never stated clearly. The Immigration Minister’s justification for this action and the impending law is interesting:
Foreigners may become French citizens if they marry French nationals and meet certain criteria, including integrating well in French society and having “good morality,” Besson said. It is on the criteria of morality that the man’s citizenship request was denied, Besson said.
“This individual imposes the full veil upon his wife, does not allow her the freedom to go and come as she pleases, and bans her from going out with her face unveiled, and rejects the principles of secularism and equality between man and woman,” Besson said he told President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Apparently a Moroccan woman trying to naturalize in 2008 was denied citizenship for wearing a burqa as well. In that case the government seems to blame the woman for not respecting France’s principles of equality. Her French husband, who requested she wear the burqa, hasn’t faced any kind of sanction, but when the new law comes into effect perhaps that will change.
These “principles of secularism” seem to me to be the primary motivator in this campaign, since a similar 2004 law bans simple head scarves in public schools as well as crucifixes, Sikh turbans, and kippas. None of these are related to the inequality of the sexes.
57% of French citizens support these laws, though, and it’s their prerogative. I guess I just find it disheartening to see religious expression legislated against like this.
I appreciated John Hobbins’ recent post on secularism and Jürgen Habermas. You’ll have to read it for yourself, but a particularly well-written comment starts it off:
The great risk of Western culture – its enormous faults notwithstanding – is that it will no longer transmit its peculiar gifts to the world as a whole. The risk is to itself in the first place, that it has become a cut-flower civilization, the beautiful bloom of a plant rooted in the soil of millennia past, a past, however, from which it has cut itself off. Once that happens, it is destined to perish against the orange and pink of a beautiful sunset, no matter how stately it appears, a single green stem without roots, in the splendid isolation a crystal vase affords. The darkness of twilight cannot but settle upon it.
I think a large portion of secularists assume that the world and her cultures arrived at their present state in spite of faith and religion rather than as a result of it. I disagree with that assumption. Great post, John.