Cookie Notice

However, this blog is a US service and this site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services and analyze traffic. Your IP address and user-agent are shared with Google along with performance and security metrics to ensure quality of service, generate usage statistics, and to detect and address abuse.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Double standards are just fine

Austria's unashamed adoption of double standards, despite its appearance, really does have a kind of underlying logic. Thus crucifixes and Christian teaching in schools is fine but Islamic symbols and teaching are prohibited. This has its roots in Hitler's confiscation of all church land; they didn't have a Henry VIII here, so in the 20th century the church was still the country's biggest landowner. In return for the land (which now belongs to the Austrian state) Hitler gave the church the right to levy a 1% income tax. It was the one Hitler law that was never repealed; we Catholics still have to pay it or go to jail. Not only does this give the church certain privileges, it also makes it very rich.   

So when earlier this year a law against covering the face in public was introduced, intended to ban the Niqab and Burqa, the first €150 fine handed out by the police was to a bloke in a shark costume advertising a computer chain. Those of you who read my piece on the Krampus parades last week must now be thinking "Hang on, isn't covering their faces like that now illegal?"

Well, yes. Unless of course it's being done as part of a traditional Austrian folk display. In which case it's fine. So when a group of Krampus mounted a peaceful march to show they were actually men and not devils, and to prevent any potential anti-Krampus legislation, they had to carry their masks. The police explained that if they were walking peacefully, rather than leaping about amongst fiery flames screaming obscenities and hitting people with sticks, they were not protected by the exemption to the law. 


DeeDee99 said...

We have double standards in the UK as well.

Trouble is, the work in favour of the ethnic minority community - especially if they're Muslims.

jack ketch said...

Can't Austrians opt out of the Kirchensteuer (as Germans call it, no idea what it's called down there)? I always make a point of telling friends going off to Germany to work/reside that they need think before answering the question about religion on the Anmeldung form. Mind you, the Kirchensteuer was always a pittance , barely a packet of smokes a month .

My favourite weird German laws were it not being an offence to escape from prison, illegal to hang your knickers on the line outside and public dancing forbidden on high and holy days.

Raedwald said...

Yep - if one declares oneself other than RC or Evangelisch on your Meldezettel, no tax. But folk are also keen to get buried in the local church graveyards even if they don't go to church, so paying the tax is worth it for a great many. Different in the city, as always.

My English chums can't get used to the 'rest periods' - no noise disturbance outside 7am - 12.00, 15.00 - 22.00 and no noise all day Sunday and Feiertags. Except the bells, the bells and the oompah band, which are generally audible at up to 2km, the valley being quiet ...

Cuffleyburgers said...

Well Radders unfortunately I find it difficult to share your enthusiasm gor all things Austrian.

Anyway I'm glad you're happy where you are.

All the best.

Thud said...

Loved Austria from the first time I visited and you are doing a good job as a one man tourist board.

Anonymous said...

Another one for you to read.......
Best wishes