The Patient Body: Old Philosophical Certainties

“The Patient Body” is a monthly column by Ann Neumann about issues at the intersection of religion and medicine. Continue Reading →

Free To Be You and Me

Ashley Baxstrom:  The Swiss upper house on Monday buried a motion to ban the burqa, which had passed the lower house in September of 2011 by a margin of 101 to 77.

The proposal, dubbed “Down with masks,” could have eventually banned full-face veils including the Muslim burqa from public transportation or government buildings. Proposed by SVP (Swiss People’s Party) representative Oskar Freysinger – of the same party that lead a 2009 campaign to prevent the construction of new minarets – the ban followed similar movements in France, the Netherlands and Belgium, countries which have banned veils or are considering such measures.

Freysinger has said in his proposal that the ban would improve public security, but a statement on the Islamic Central Council of Switzerland’s website argued that such a ban was discrimination against a religious group. Furthermore, they argued, it would have a negative affect on the Swiss tourist industry by preventing women from the Gulf from taking the train; Lake Geneva is a popular destination for wealth. Continue Reading →

U.S. Senators Ask Switzerland to Let Mormons In

U.S. Senators are petitioning the Swiss government to change a rule that will prevent Mormon missionaries from working in that country after 2012.  The new Swiss law came out of a renegotiation of visa regulations that allows greater access to European Union workers but places new limits on access for those from other countries.

Fourteen U.S. senators have written a letter to the Swiss government urging them to change the regulations.  The article at, excerpted below, neglects to ask why fourteen U.S. senators are lobbying on behalf of the missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Continue Reading →