One of the Problems of Pluralism

If you live in a pluralistic society, you are going to have deal with situations like this one (link). Keep in mind that Sikhs are required by their religion to carry a kirpan. Their code of conduct states: “Have, on your person, all the time, the five K’s: The Keshas (unshorn hair), the Kirpan (sheathed sword), the Kachhehra (drawers like garment), the Kanga (comb), the Karha (steel bracelet).” (Reht Maryada, Chapter 13 as translated/paraphrased here)

Suppose for the sake of the argument that there is a religious justification for the actions of the “dissident” members who are opposing the “open membership” move of the majority. Must a pluralistic society tolerate this settling of their religious dispute amongst themselves in their own temple? Or must the state step in to enforce the will of the majority? or of the minority (if the minority are right about the requirements of their religion)?

And if a pluralistic society can rightly intervene in religious disputes amongst Sikhs, why not amongst other religions?

And for my Escondido friends, what if a majority of a Christian church were attempting to open communion to everyone who wants it? Does the civil magistrate have a duty to protect the church of our Lord against such violence from a majority?


N.B. No Sikh I’ve ever met would approve of what took place in the Sikh temple in the linked article. Please don’t assume that because Sikhs carry the kirpan, they are violent people. Please don’t make any other illogical conclusions from what I’ve written. There, that should avoid about 90% of the comments.

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