Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Reasonable Accomodation

Or, We're More Tolerant Than the French (Not that that's saying much).

Riley administration changes rules on head scarves

The Associated Press
2/20/2004, 9:28 a.m. CT
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Responding to complaints from Muslim women, Gov. Bob Riley's administration is changing a policy that prohibited the wearing of head scarves in driver's license photos.

The new policy says head coverings and headgear are acceptable for religious beliefs and medical conditions, but for no other reason. State Public Safety Director Mike Coppage said his department was delivering the rule change to county probate judges on Friday, and that it would take effect Monday.

Troy King, the governor's legal adviser, said the change would maintain the state's goal of being able to identify a person from a driver's license photo while being respectful of people's religious beliefs and traditions. [...]

And it's a good idea. I have never been comfortable with the idea that an article of clothing--whether hijab or habit--worn out of some sort of conviction of faith, and that doesn't obscure the person's face, had to be such a controversy.

Then again, I'm still not quite so hepped up on the idea that you necessarily need a photo on a driver's license--after all, up until the 1970s, all we had were little paper licenses, and it seemed to work okay. (And a little paper license is still all I require to legally carry my handgun.)

But I don't really think it's one of those things to fight about--need a photo so you can be sure I look like me? Fine, whatever. But the idea of a photo ID is to insure you at least can tell what the person looks like, so for those persons who believe their faith requires them to fully shroud their faces and look out of a gauze slit, you might still have a problem. Not only in being able to see who you are, but in being able to see me when I pull over in front of you without signalling and slam on my brakes (we are in Alabama, after all).

Anyway, the point is that as long as the person's face is visible, anything on back from there should be okay, and I'm glad this is being resolved in a way that seems pretty fair, balancing the state's putative right to know what you look like with the moral sensibilities of its citizens.

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