Representatives of the Sikh faith have been barred by the Secret Service from participating in a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI next month because they wear the Kirpaan, or ceremonial knife. Given the fact that these would be leaders of the Sikh faith, the Secret Service appear like perfect morons in barring the Sikhs.
Ironically, the kirpaan for Sikh is a symbol of resisting oppression and injustice and is never used as an offensive weapon. The main problem, however, is the obvious fact that there is no real threat to the Pope who will not only be visited by Sikh leaders but surrounded by guards. It would be like worrying about a possible attack from Billy Graham in a meeting with the Pope or president. It also means that Sihks would never be able to meet the president or Pope under the “no exception no matter how absurd” approach of the Secret Service.
Ed Donovan, a Secret Service spokesman, said: “We understand the kirpaan is a sanctified religious object. But by definition, it’s still a weapon. We apply our security policy consistently and fairly.” It appears that the secret service will “consistently” apply a policy even when it is facially absurd in a given circumstance. Why is that a virtue?
What is particularly odd is that the Pope has not intervened and ask the secret service to waive the rule.
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