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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Kirpan Kerfuffle

It's been all over the news for the last while. The Supreme Court has determined that a boy can wear his kirpan - a ceremonial dagger - to school, in the interests of religious freedom.

There are a lot of debates on both sides of the issue. The kirpan, while a religious symbol, is also a weapon. Like all weapons, despite religious restrictions, it has the potential to be used as such.

I admit to being bothered by the ruling, but not for the reasons some have put forward. It's not the fact that he's allowed to wear it in school that bothers me. I really don't care that much. What bothers me is that he's allowed to wear it at a time when little boys are being expelled for pointing chicken nuggets at another child and saying "bang bang." It bothers me that he's allowed to wear it when another child was suspended for bringing a weapon to school when his mother packed a butter knife for him to use on his lunch (one editorialist even wrote that the kirpan is as dangerous as a butter knife, yet in our 0 tolerance world, a butter knife is indeed considered dangerous. Just try and bring one onto an airplane the next time you fly). I'm bothered by it because he's allowed to carry it while other children are told not to pray over their lunches. I'm bothered by it because other children are not allowed to carry bibles or wear crosses around their necks because they might "offend" others.

No, what bothers me isn't that this child is allowed to carry a knife to school, ceremonial or otherwise. What bothers me is that he's allowed to do so in the name of religious freedom, when such freedoms are denied to others, and our era of 0 tolerance is so ludicrously applied. Until then, it makes me very uncomfortable.

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