Ep#126 – Panel: From Bakers to Burqas: Religous Freedom Today

This week The #GSPodcast brings you a panel discussion from The Battle Of Ideas featuring Stephen Knight, Ed Husain, Helen Pluckrose and Simon McCrossan. ‘From Bakers to Burqas: Religious Freedom Today’. Historically, religious freedom was considered an essential right, associated with freedom of conscience, and the eighteenth century saw significant philosophical and practical expansion of the right of individuals to practise different religions as they saw fit. Today, we often see religious freedom pitted against other basic liberties like free speech and gender equality. Can these freedoms coexist? Moderated by Jon O’brien.

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  • Hi, Stephen,

    You were right: Circumcision really ran the discussion off the rails and onto a whole new set of rails.

    The most interesting comment to me–and it wasn’t contradicted–was the gentleman who said that to do away with circumcision would lead to the downfall of civilization!

    In many ways, this was typical: FGM is bad. MGM has no effect. MGM is just “welcoming a child into the tribe.” Etc.

    The idea that you could wait until the person is 18 for him/her to make the decision is ignored, because by then the influence of the tribe is starting to fade…

    And, no one was willing to do the research or ask you deeper questions about why infant/child circumcision is a bad idea, either physically or emotionally.


    Keep up the good work. I don’t know how you manage it, but your topics (not just MGM) seem to be unique, important, and not covered on other podcasts.

    Thanks, Larry

  • Too many panelists meant no one really got to speak in much depth, I thought. I love Helen so I would have loved to hear more from her. You’re throw away line about genital mutilation really hit a nerve. So bizarre that people can completely compartmentalise FGM from circumcision. It was odd, or maybe it wasn’t, that Ed really did seem to want to die on that particular hill.

    Interesting to hear that people fall closer to my position on baked goods than I would have thought given the way the media cover it. Probably moreso given the amount of U.S. commentary I hear. I can’t see how baked good are a human right? I can’t see how any state can mandate the selling of any goods other than those that are societal requirements? Health care, public order etc. Surely the idea is that word of mouth will kill off a business that wears it’s bigotry on it’s sleeve?

What do you think? Leave some comments!