Should religious practices be permitted in public places?
by annelaurenceb on September 2, 2014 - 11:36pm
Religious practices, and in particular prayers, have been an issue in many societies during the last few years. In his editorial published on August 30, 2014 in the Toronto Star, Ken Gallinger discusses two different point of views about this subject.
First of all, he explains the context of why he wrote his article, which is the presence of a women praying beside him during 15 minutes while he was in a public library. He then states that there are many things that disturb him in his everyday life,such as people that are speaking really loud on their phones or even people smoking, but that being beside someone that is praying is not one of them. He then says that this women in particular was not asking anybody to join her, and if you were concentrated enough, you would not even notice her. But should there be a universal answer to this situation, on whether or not it is right or wrong to let her pray in that place? I believe that the author of this article sees that we should accept this situation where one person is practicing its religion this way since it is not harming anybody and he is suggesting that there should be a universal answer to this problematic, which is to let these people do what they want as long as it doesn't affect anybody else. But an opposing point of view could be that some people may still be disturbed by certain religious practices, and maybe in their minds this moral choice should remain a personal choice, and each individual should be allowed to express his disagrement on that question. Gallinger also explains how people may be more disturbed by the ideas behind these practices and that it may be sometimes used to demonstrate political positions on specific subjects.
Another aspect that is being discussed in his article is the fact that he disagrees with using prayers during public occasions such as in the opening of a Parliament session, because in this case he thinks that it is simply wrong. He believes that such practices could become discriminatory since it is not necessarily everybody that has the same beliefs and it is not everybody that is involved. But in some countries where religion is much more present than it is in Canada for example, would that be considered correct and moral since there is a relative perspective on this subject depending on your culture and where you live? This could mean that there is not one particular answer to know if religious practices should be permitted in public places, but it also depends on the nature and the implications of these practices, which can be different from one time to another. On the other hand, should this question be thought about individually, as the author is saying, since each individual is responsible for his own subjective view on the morality of religious practices in public places?
Finally, at a normative level, this author demonstrates that wheter if the right or wrong depends on the consequences(such as the implications of others in one's religious practices) or on an act's intrisic value (the religious practice itself for the development of one's beliefs), there may be a possible right and a wrong answer depending of the circumstances and the different principles and points of views.
Link to the article: http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.champlaincollege.qc.ca/canadiannewsma...