How Different Societies Handle Religion

In class this past week we focused on the different topics brought up by the articles our groups read. What I found most interesting is how the French government handled religious affairs within their society: the French government decided it would be best to confine religious activity to the home. “From a Community of Believers to an Islam of the Heart: “Conspicuous” Symbols, Muslim Practices, and the Privatization of Religion in France” is an article by Caitlin Killian that explains how Islamic women who have immigrated from Maghreb countries to France feel about practicing Islam in France. According to the article, “the French are less encouraging of religious difference and expect religious expression to be confined to the home and places of worship” (Killian, 307). The women interviewed for the article explained that it was difficult to fast during Ramadan because they had to work the same amount of hours at their day jobs. The women also explained how it was difficult to keep up with praying five times per day. Additionally, the younger generation is looking for ways to practice their religion to connect to their roots but their outside environment is forbidding it.

Reading this article reminded me of what I wrote my religion-in-the-news report on a few weeks ago: the EU religious symbol ban. It also brings up ideas of secularization and privatization of religion, which are both things that have been reoccurring ideas in our classroom. How can limiting religious activity to the home be good for a society?