Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Touch a turban, break your mother’s back? A short rant on religious entitlement.
It’s not like me to jump ugly on Sikhs. I’ve never seen one try and force their religion on me, influence government policy, or attempt to dumb down our schools. I’m the same way with any other religion or cult that minds it’s own delusion and leaves the rest of us alone.
However, I was treated to a whining blog post by a Sikh gentleman who was bemoaning having had his turban “touched and prodded” by TSA personnel at an airport security check. Seems they normally allow him to touch and prod his own turban, and then check his hands for “residue” to ensure no explosives are hidden in that headdress. Not this time. I guess someone at the TSA finally figured out that a pistol, a knife, or razor blade, Mace, or a Taser doesn’t leave a residue. Eureka!!
Seems the gentleman considered their touching his turban a “humiliation” and “degrading” and just one more insult and abomination heaped upon the Sikhs on the heals of that hideous Sikh temple massacre a few months back by some redneck nutter.
I’m sympathetic to their plight. Americans are not exactly a breed of rocket scientists, and to too many Americans, mostly Christians, turban = Muslim = enemy = legitimate target of opportunity.
But let’s not confuse airport security measures with mass murder and wholesale persecution. Wearing the mantle of victim because you had your hat inspected doesn’t fly with me. I figure they must have gotten over the ceremonial dagger in the belt prohibition by now, since it didn't come up as another unjust discriminatory rule.
I don’t give a fiddlers damn if your 15th century Indian culture/religion/cult/tradition requires you to wear a head wrapping that you imbue with some special mystical or marvelous and sacred meaning. It means jack squat to me if I’m on an airplane with you. No, a Sikh may have never caused a terrorist attack. But if a terrorist finds out that by dressing as a Sikh they can bypass the system, then we have handed them a tool of subterfuge and potential destruction… and we won’t have done the Sikh community any favors with the fallout that would follow.
So here’s the bottom line: a Nun’s habit, a pope’s hat, an orthodox Jew’s prayer shawl, a Muslim’s burqua, or a Sikh’s turban isn’t an automatic entitlement that makes you special. Your religious affectations and bizarre garb doesn’t give you a pass. It’s not a shield from the law. It won’t grant you consideration or treatment that normal people don’t enjoy. This is the 21st century, not 15th century India, 7th century Iraq, or 12th century Italy.
Until my Flying Spaghetti Monster Hat (Marinara Be Upon Him) is afforded the same respect and special treatment at an airport security check point that you expect for your outdated cultural or religious garb, you have a choice: quit whining, stop playing the victim card, submit to what the rest of us submit to and fly -
or book a camel caravan.