A Religious Symbol, a Beer, a Trial, and a Verdict

The Swiss verdict is in. Jägermeister can continue to use its logo, in which you can make out, among the graphics, the symbol of an illuminated cross. While Switzerland is not known for “radical,” French-style interpretations of laicity and takes fairly liberal positions on religious matters, this verdict clearly demonstrates that today’s Europe is inclined to see the sensibilities of believers as a purely private matter. Islam, the latest arrival on the podium of monotheisms “invited” into France is “painfully” learning, to its cost (and often to the cost of others), that a religion is, in relation to earthly justice, just as suspect and dangerous as a Stalinist or far-right political party. While the inappropriate or offensive use of religious symbols is not recent – in a time when blue films were still an art, you may remember not very orthodox nuns up to their eyes in debauchery, lucre, and fornication – we might ask ourselves if it is really beneficial to a society to openly deprecate or mock the religious sensibilities of some of our fellow citizens when we know it is entirely unacceptable to ridicule, discriminate against, insult, or assault current minority tendencies (whether sexual-, ethnic-, cultural-, or gender-based) that were long censored or criminalized when religion itself, allied or not with power, governed social life and laid down the rules for the “best way of proceeding.”

While “divide and conquer” has long been the secret motto of most regents, at a time when political systems are undergoing significant changes, it might be a good time to consider that the only acceptable form of governance, particularly for today’s generations who are not confined to the common spaces of yore and who are more open to new forms of digital universalism, is one that will content itself not with satisfying party or partisans, but one that aligns itself as much as possible with what is fair.


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