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Old 06-03-2010, 01:06 AM   #40
Michael Hackett
Dojo: Kenshinkan Dojo (Aikido of North County) Vista, CA
Location: Oceanside, California
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,189
Re: more religious issues

I'll grant that a dojo can make accomodations for an individual - we do that all the time. We have people who can't perform suwari waza because of bad knees and so forth. The bowing to the shomen at the start and end of class is another simple example. I've seen people who didn't and that wasn't a problem. Where this becomes a big deal to me is when an individual won't train with other dojo members on the basis of gender. That's where the world becomes a damned slippery slope in my estimation - if I'm a fundamentalist Christian, would it be acceptable to refuse to train with a gay or lesbian member? An unreconstructed southerner who refuses to train with african-americans? A conservative Republican who refuses to train with a leftie anarchist? My answer is simply no, it isn't acceptable and is discrimination in any of those cases. I would choose not to be a member of a dojo that allowed or encouraged that kind of conduct. In the same manner, those who are adamant about their beliefs to the contrary can choose to train somewhere where they can maintain the integrity of their beliefs. I think we can treat each other with respect and can live very well on either side of the threshold to a dojo not of our liking.

This reminds me of an old friend, a Marine staff sergeant, who once said "I went to Vietnam to support your right to spit on the American Flag and my right to salute it." I fully support Keith Larman's new religious practice to slaughter animals, but won't allow him to do so in my living room. I don't agree with his practices and won't allow my family or guests to be offended by his conduct in my home. Keith can choose not to visit me or choose to change his religious practices. He can tell his friends what a hard-headed jerk I am and he can even boycott my neighborhood. The choices are his to make.

"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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