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Re: the tolerance debate



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Administrative Note:
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Week's Agenda: Economy
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> You say that notwithstanding my belief that kaffirs should be killed 
> (which is hypothetical!), the state can still regulate the execution of 
> my religious beliefs and prevent me from exercising the faith fully. I 
> don't see why such a restriction should not be applied to a different 
> expression of faith equally? Can the state determine that street-corner 
> proselytization is to be banned as well? The economic force / physical 
> force distinction didn't  go down well with many others, (including you, 
> if I recall correctly). You need to come up with a good reason why the 
> state should regulate faith.
> 


Ash:

The state's role is only to ensure that the fair society that we define's
for ourselves is fair to each individual within that society. IMO, what any
religion believes in and persuades its members to carry out is not a
concern for the state AS LONG AS it does not violate this definition. 

The following questions raised by Ash could be a an objective way of going
after this 'religion' problem.   I feel that the current debate is becoming
too passionate and subjective and in best interests we should step back and
try to rationalise issues objectively. Also, before we go on to debate
proselytisation as a major threat to our society can someone come up with
statistics  : 

1) Has there been major demographic shifts in India over the last 50 years
and particularly in the last decade? 
2) If so, is 'economic force'  ( maybe we should first define what economic
force is) correlated with it ?
3) Has such shifts in demographics or the use of economic force affected
India as a free and fair society? 

IMO, we should put off the debate on proselyisation until we have some
factual evidence that it is threatening us ( Dont fix what isn't broken!) 

To get back to Ash's questions ,

(a) why should anyone be tolerant?

IMO, tolerence is what sets apart a society from a 'group of individuals'.
Without tolerance the term society has no relevance.

(b) what should the state's role be with regard to religion?

Refer my note at the begining of this post.

(c) are state-funded religious schools acceptable? 

IMO,  it is not acceptable.

Is preferential admission for specific religious groups OK?

IMO, this is not good for society. However, any rule/ law applied to
prevent this may violate other laws on  fair society.  Can we advocate that
admission criteria  to schools should be made transparent irrespective of
what religious affiliations they have?  Legal experts please comment. 

(d) the basis for separate civil laws

I don't know enough to comment on this. Ideally,civil laws should be
uniform.

(e) can the state require you to declare your religion?

IMO, it should not. ( Please also note that this also implies that there
cannot be any caste based preferential system .

(f) must you have a religion that falls into one of several identified 
by the government?

Not al all.

(g) are there religious expressions that are not permitted? 
Sati/sacrifice/war on others/ whatever?
(h) can religious expression be regulated (for example, subject to law 
and order)?
IMO, As long as such expression  violates the rules of a fair society, they
are to be prevented by law.

(i) Is private bias permitted - i.e., can I put up a sign on my door that
says "No Hindus allowed"?
I can see that such an act will cause polarisation.  IMO, this issue needs
to be debated since it is a collorary of your first question. 



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