November 27, 2021

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In a society open to philosophy, there must be room for both believers and unbelievers |  Ingrid Rosendorf Guise

In a society open to philosophy, there must be room for both believers and unbelievers | Ingrid Rosendorf Guise

The task of the public sector is to make it easier for the citizens of a country to express their views on life, writes Ingrid Rosendorf Joyce. The photo shows Sergeant Cecilia Valdovinus in the US Army. She filed a complaint when the manager asked her to remove her hijab.
Foto: Military Religious Freedom Foundation

The armed forces must bear in mind that religion and outlook on life are important to many, wrote Ingrid Rosendorf Joyce in this commentary to Lieutenant Stian Hosby.




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“Religion is a personal affair, and it’s time for it to be in the armed forces as well.” Lt. Stian Hosby writes in one Chronicle In NRK Ytring. This can serve as a normative statement. Hosby is of course free to believe that religion should be banished to the private sphere. However, it does not hold up as a descriptive statement.

open society

Hosby is mistaken if he thinks he has support in Norwegian legislation for his view that public institutions should be areas free of religion and philosophy. If he reads the general reports that form the basis for legislation in the field of faith and philosophy, he will soon discover that the object is not at all a neutral or philosophical field, but a society open to philosophy.

So what is the difference between a neutral philosophical and an open philosophical community? Hasbi would seem to want a society neutral to philosophy, where religion and philosophy do not appear in the public sphere, where public institutions are not associated with religion and philosophy in the design of their offerings, and where one would prefer not to embarrass fellow citizens by explicitly expressing their religious or philosophical affiliation.

An open society is something completely different. Here, the goal is for the country’s citizens to live their views on life, from cradle to grave. The task of the public sector is to make this possible.

I quote from the list of principles in Norway’s Public Reports, NOU 2013: 1.

“All religious and philosophical practices of citizens are actively facilitated.”

It also states: “Everyone must consent to exposure to the religious and philosophical practices of others in the public sphere.”

Equal treatment of religions and views on life is also an important principle in an open society:

«The state shall not subject a person to unreasonable or disproportionate discrimination because of his religious or philosophical practices.”

Public institutions should take into account

Confronting Norwegian soldiers with the choice between flushing the toilet or going to church does not seem to be a good example of equal treatment and non-discrimination, to say the least. This is not how it should be in an open-minded society.

In a society open to philosophy, the armed forces, like other public institutions, must take into account that religion and philosophy are an important part of the lives of many Norwegians.

However, it should not be the case that religious people serving in the military will have to hide their faith and give up their practice, as long as they are in uniform. In a society open to philosophy, the armed forces, like other public institutions, must take into account that religion and philosophy are an important part of the lives of many Norwegians.

Do not pressure to give up religion

The fact that Field Priests have joined forces with Field Priests and Field Humans is a good example of how defense is doing this – considering that. It is true that Norway no longer has a state church. This does not mean that we no longer have Christians, Sikhs, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Bahais, Muslims, etc.

It is important that soldiers who share Hosby’s perception of religion as something completely private are not pressured to participate in worship services. Likewise, we hope that he treats his fellow believers so that they are not pressured to renounce their religious identity while wearing the clothes of a king.

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