Not long ago while traveling on the roads of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, our car passed several Amish horse-and-buggy riders. Having been born in Pennsylvania as well as being a “Lancaster regular”, I was not surprised by this scene. Cars regularly traveling in Lancaster are accustomed to keeping a lookout . Plus, the grooves on the sides of the roads from the buggies and the horses are just part of travel now. Even part of the tourism.
In the early 18th century, the Amish and Mennonites emigrated to Pennsylvania. Their dialect combination of Pennsylvania German became known as Pennsylvania Dutch. Locals accepted their religious beliefs that included life without electricity, automobiles and telephones. Their clothing and dark colors just added to it. The Amish do not participate in the social security system nor buy commercial insurance. That is their religious beliefs and they are accepted.
Religious beliefs now impact travel. The New York Times recently described an event on an airplane that involved the beliefs of the ultra-orthodox Jewish faith. A lady had settled into her airplane seat to get ready for the long flight from New York to London. A man dressed in the all black garment of the orthodox religion appeared next to her seat and refused to sit down. His religion did not allow him to sit next to a woman that was not his wife. Finally, the lady agreed to change seats and the flight attendant found a man to sit there.
The article went on to report that many flights between the United States and Israel have been delayed or disrupted over this religious issue. It raises the question of what airlines must do in the name of religious tolerance and accommodation. As one Rabbi stated, “Multiculturalism creates a moral language where a group can say, ‘You have to respect my values.'”
Some religions do not allow a woman’s face to be publicly exposed except for the eyes. The burka is the most concealing of all Islamic veils which covers the entire face and body, leaving only a mesh for the eyes to see through. Airlines make accommodations for security purposes.
I’m not trying to recite all religious distinctions and beliefs. It does raise the question of just how high of a bar do we all have to reach in the name of tolerance. I remember a minister who used to say, “your freedom ends where my nose begins”. I guess that would suggest that no passenger should be made to change seats in the name of religious tolerance.
And for pic o’ day, I need to lighten it up a bit: