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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Limbo, Veiled Women, and Freedom

Two very diverse topics about freedom - or the lack of it – have cropped up in recent days in the press:

  • The Roman Catholic Church has decreed that limbo is no longer the place that unbaptized newborns are banned to … they, just as all others (who have been baptized, it is assumed), will be allowed into the arena of eternal life after death
  • Iranian police have decreed that mandatory dress code for women of that country means being veiled in public at all times, from head to foot, not even a bit of hair may show, let alone a bit of leg. Modesty, as indicated by the Koran, is the reason given by most articles discussing the topic. (We might quickly ask: how is this different from rulings in France that deny Muslim girls the right to wear veils at some schools?)

Both bits of news have to do with freedom because both infringe upon it.

Baptized or not, when institutionalized religion – whichever religion it may be – tells us what will happen (frequently with dire consequences) if we do or do not adhere to certain dogma, laws, or rules, including what will happen to us after death, means that our freedom to think, believe and practice our belief in whatever way we deem right for us, is infringed upon. Simple as that.

And for a particular dress code to be dictated by state ruling is – again – an infringement of our most basic rights as human beings. The fear on an inner level, that may surge within us, due to a need to resist such rulings for the sake of a wider freedom for all, may be overwhelming, and may in some ways, restrict our inner freedom of thought about such matters.

The purpose of this blog is not to criticize any specific religion, or any specific country or political leaning, but to speak out for freedom. While our inner freedom should not depend on external factors, and as we walk our path of inner growth, indeed, we may begin to reach such a goal, the fact of the matter is that many external factors do keep us from conceiving inner freedom while we still continue to work on our own self-development. As this 21st century progresses, may such external factors lessen considerably.

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