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Old 08-04-2009, 09:32 AM   #175
Ellis Amdur
Location: Seattle
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 811
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Re: Religious Restrictions on Training

1. As for the story of my mom, as I said, I would hold in contempt a school that still had an ideology that we Jews are personally and primarily responsible for the death of Christ expelling my mom because she wouldn't act in a submissive fashion - but if a requirement of the school was such submission, then knowing that, she could be expelled. She or I might fight it - because such values are repulsive to me. But at the same time, I accept that they have the right - (unless they are taking public money). The boy scouts do not have a right to discriminate against homosexuals, because they take public money. The same, I believe, for the American armed forces.
2. I would not go into a mosque and demand that women and men sit together. But if I were a member of that mosque - and a Muslim - I would. Were I an Orthodox Jew, I would similarly fight against such a belief.
3. Now to the criticism of illiberality. So-called fundamentalists have certain views of the world and morality and they do not wish to compromise. Particularly as a religious person, that is understandable. But if those views demand that others conform to their views, now we have a conflict - perhaps an irreconcilable conflict.
Western societies, due to a distortion of "multiculturalism," are easily intimidated by fundamentalist ideology - as in, "the x people are upset, so if we accommodate them, they will stop being upset. Because a fundamentalist has an all/nothing ideology, a compromise is, in fact, the new "point of negotiation." A very fine writer in the Netherlands recently bemoaned the potential loss of freedom in his country due to the changes that were happened based on the demands of fundamentalist groups. "I have always treasured freedom. However, I have no idea how to fight for it."
As a human being, I am certainly curious about the values of other cultures - but I believe that the values I have are the best in the world - the same, honestly, as you. Otherwise, why hold such beliefs? So to state, so to speak, that the teacher is being illiberal for not accepting those whose values conflict with those of either the dojo or the teacher is to assume that the teacher - liberal Westerner or Japanese - must give up his or her values, which conflict with those of the fundamentalist. My reply is not on your life. I am a fundamentalist liberal - I will not willingly abet activities that go against my values.
Speaking as a teacher, you (whoever you are) do not have a "right" to learn from me. I have a choice whether you are suitable to teach. This applies both ways - I recall an aikido teacher in Florida who has an all male dojo. I fully support his right to do this - and fully support his students in training with him. Maybe if I were a member, I'd argue with him, and he'd either change his mind (not likely) or not. And if I were too disruptive, maybe he'd expel me. That's the way of the world.
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