A Steinbach judge ruled today in favour of religious freedom, allowing Mennonites to wear full facial masks in “potentially embarrassing” public places like the liquor store or casino.
“I’m pleased with the decision,” said Mennonite elder Art F. B. Hiebert. “Wearing masks in the liquor store and lingerie shop is an essential part of our faith.”
The judge said that for security reasons, Mennonites would be asked to discreetly identify themselves to a liquor store employee before making purchases, but that they need not walk around the store on full display for all to see.
“A quick ID check and peek under the mask is all that is needed,” said the Steinbach judge. “There’s no reason that Mennonites should have to violate their religious principles the rest of the time.”
Some have been critical of the ruling, however, suggesting that the judge did not fully consider the impact this new law would have on principles of secularism in Canadian society.
“If they’re not willing to walk around the store bare-faced like everyone else, maybe they shouldn’t be drinking at all,” said Daniel Bernhardson. “Or else just stick to home-brewed dandelion wine.”
Manitoba liquor stores are happy about the new law and hope to attract Mennonite customers with their new promotion, which offers a free balaclava with the purchase of two cases of Bud Light.
(photo credit: Becky Stern/CC)