Friday, February 27, 2009

The Fatal Fatwa: The article entitled "The Yoga Fatwa" in the February 27, 2009 The Boston Globe op ed written by Renee Loth says it all. She excellently explains why America, even with its frailties, is preferable to many other cultures. I am not an American exceptionalist impervious to American shortcomings or bad policies but a story such as this which talks about countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Egypt banning something as innocuous as Yoga drives home that point. How can banning something as benign as Yoga or for that matter blowing up ancient statues of the Buddha, or killing someone because they paint a cartoon be defended in any way? Loth takes aim at Europe, too, with their culture clash and the banning of Islamic head scarves. She even admits to our own, at times, American intolerance.

Who in this county would even think, though, to file a bill for the government to ban yoga, blow up Buddha statues, or make the wearing of an Islamic veil a criminal offense? Religious secularism, despite attempts at times to reverse it, still prevails. Multiculturalism is the essence of who we are.

For all of our shortcomings I agree with Ms. Loth. I'll take this country and its secular tradition -- albeit compromised at times -- any day over any other place on earth!