America Should Be Happy to Have Sikhs

This affair prompts this most recent in the occasional Grim's Hall series on Sikhs. The Sikh faith is perfectly suited to America and her Second Amendment traditions.
One of the tenets of the Sikh religion is that adherents must carry on their person a knife, called a Kirpan. The Kirpan is a reminder that the carrier should have the courage to defend all those who are persecuted or oppressed.

In our enlightened, politically-correct times, however, this has caused some problems. The blade -- traditionally between six inches and three feet in length -- seems to be "intimidating" in the Age of the Common Man, and thus has been variously legally required to be "less than four inches", or blunted, or even sealed inside of its scabbard with glue.

I mention this because initial reports state that when Evil presented itself in his place of peace and began to slaughter those of his flock, 65-year-old Satwant Singh Kaleka did his level best to punch the ticket of the decades-younger murderer with what the Media has described as a "butter knife" -- a blunted blade, less than four inches in length.
Our stout-hearted Ambassador to the United Nations was a Sikh before becoming a Methodist. She is one of the shining lights of the current administration.

The US military has adapted its uniform code to allow for Sikh beards, as is right and proper given that Sikhs frequently seek out military service.

All people of the right should learn to recognize Sikhs and be glad to have them as part of our national experiment. Theirs is a faith with many excellent qualities, which produces fine people on a reliably regular basis. Make some room for them.


Krag said...

You want to serve in the military, *you* conform to the military's standards. Period. You want to keep your beard, fine, but not in my Marine Corps. There is no right to serve.

Other than that point, I agree with you.

E Hines said...

I didn't hear anyone argue for a right to serve or to have a beard while serving. I only heard an argument (with which I agree) that it was correct for the military to make accommodations for wearing a beard by those who would serve but whose own obligation includes a beard.

My only concern with beards, especially with hygiene concerns laid to rest, is how well a gas mask or a pilot's oxygen mask will seal around the beard.

Eric Hines

Grim said...

I can't speak to oxygen masks. I do think that the experience of the GWOT shows that beards are not a problem for Special Forces and the like; which probably means that infantry and cavalry can wear them without a problem; which certainly means that the guys in the rear could.

There's no right to serve; needs of the Marine Corps, and all that. But there are advantages to wearing a beard in many cultures in which the Corps operates, just as there are advantages to having Female Engagement Teams. It's not a question of them having a right to do it, so much as it is a reasonable thing to do if it doesn't cause problems and might provide advantages.

sykes.1 said...

The modern military makes all sorts of accommodations for various groups. Sikh beards are trivial.

When I was still a "working" faculty, we had two Sikhs in our department. Both were highly effective, decent colleagues, and well-respected. From that small sample, I am inclined to agree that more Sikhs would be beneficial, knives notwithstanding.

However, both were strong activists working to establish a Sikh independent state, Khalistan, in the current Indian state of Punjab.

Grim said...

Yeah, I know some Kurds who are much the same. Which is fine too -- if they really want to have a homeland on the other side of the world that isn't part of America, I wish them well in it.

I guess some of the Irish were that way in the 1800s. They ended up fighting for the United States of America, but they really wanted to fight for Ireland. Some of them invaded Canada right after the Civil War, as relatively few people seem to remember.