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Why Ban the “Burkini”?

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A woman wearing a burkini walks in the water August 27, 2016 on a beach in Marseille, France, the day after the country's highest administrative court suspended a ban on full-body burkini swimsuits that has outraged Muslims and opened divisions within the government, pending a definitive ruling.  REUTERS/Stringer

The raging debate about the “Burkini Ban” that’s been applied to Islamic beach-wear in France should make us grateful for America’s distinctive values.

First, we don’t make a fetish of secularism as the French do, nor do we treat religious traditions as a threat to some higher order. Second, we remain far less eager to apply state regulation to every aspect of daily life.

Because families with young children deserve to feel safe and welcome at the sea-shore, it makes sense to enforce minimum standards of modesty for beach-goers. But why force anyone to be more immodest (more revealing) than she chooses to be? Who is threatened if women choose to swim with their bodies fully covered? Should government also require chic grooming for its citizens? That could be next for secular fundamentalists in France, whose intolerance mirrors that of the Islamic fundamentalists in Saudi Arabia.

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  1. Rich Watring  •  Sep 2, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    Since many Republicans are dissatisfied with Trump and many Democrats are dissatisfied with Clinton, why don’t all disaffected voters support and vote for the Libertarian candidate. As a conservative, I could certainly live with a Libertarian in the White House. If he did not get enough Electoral College votes, he could prevent Trump and Clinton of achieving it and the House would then decide who is president.

  2. Henry  •  Sep 2, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    Just in case anyone doesn’t recognize a troll when they see it, let me mention that it is almost certain that Rich is just trying to urge some non-leftists not to vote for the only candidate—Mr. Trump, the Republican one for the who’s who challenged—that has a prayer of defeating Hillary Clinton. Please do not be fooled.

    Michael, … sorry for the interruption. Yes, what’s wrong with too much modesty? Does seem silly indeed. Agreed.

  3. bobby1122  •  Sep 2, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    Full dress burkas on crowded beach… What a good place to hide suicide vests( Muslim bomb tool of mass murder) How many innocents killed by Muslims in France??

  4. Kathy Zienty  •  Sep 3, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    By the same token wearers of Burkinis should not be surprised and offended when on a beach populated by Westerners people are curious enough to want to photograph them. Not to compare Burkini wearers with elephants or monkeys but if someone brought those to a beach people would probably want to photograph them, too! It, would be something of a spectacle! It may not be polite but one should expect it to happen and not complain!

  5. Mary  •  Sep 4, 2016 at 11:29 pm

    I would like to be more covered up at the beach, can we order these online?? PS – I am a Christian.

  6. Ed  •  Sep 5, 2016 at 12:13 am

    "Second, we remain far less eager to apply state regulation to every aspect of daily life." I live in California. This statement appears quaint and so twenty years ago.

  7. tom tulinsky  •  Sep 6, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    I can't believe the French still claim to believe in Liberté. More like Conformite (if thats a French word).

  8. John Boland  •  Sep 6, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Michael Medved…"what's wrong with modesty" is that 10% of the French population are Muslim….which is a lot more than in the USA with .ooo9 % Muslim over here. Thus the muslim population is gaining in democratic France….and the French People are rightfully SCARED that their country is being taken over. Look at history…..muslims took over ALL of North Africa…ALL of Spain at one time…and HALF OF FRANCE in the AD780's. The Muslims religion is more than a religion…IT IS A RELIGION THAT TAKES OVER TERRITORY….AND….BELIEVES THAT GOD DEMANDED THAT CHURCH AND STATE BE COMBINED….they can't change it because god SAID it..and "it is being an infidel to contradict god"! The French People are not racists…THEY JUST WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT THEIR VALUES AND RELIGION AND SEPERATION OF CHURCH AND STATE REMAIN….and wearing the "head scarf" and "birkini" is part of TAKING AWAY THE FRENCH WAY OF DRESS AND LIFE. Understand now why The French People are to be commended for sticking up for their way of dress…and sepertion of church and state?

  9. Dorothy Au  •  Sep 6, 2016 at 11:28 pm

    I see women covered up that much to avoid skin cancer. I myself have to do similar. Why should we be concerned about what others think? Maybe I will avoid France.

  10. Lori Baldwin  •  Oct 13, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    I completely agree with Michael, and any American who values freedom should too. For the government to tell anyone how to dress (except to enforce public decency, of course), is a gross violation of the rights of any free people. It's alarming to read so many comments by citizens of free countries (such as the U.S. and the U.K.) supporting the burkini ban. I would support limiting the number of Muslims allowed into a free country because the ideology is dangerous to freedom (just as Communism and Fascism are), but NOT telling people how to dress!

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