An interesting situation has cropped up over in Switzerland. It looks like a people’s referendum has been passed which forbids the construction of new minarets in the country. There’s good commentary on it over at Samizdata, which points out that, since this referendum was actually opposed by the government, conventional Libertarian gnashing of teeth seems a bit out of place. I mean, it’s one thing if the government makes a religion-inhibiting decree like this, but it’s entirely another when a majority of citizens agree that they’re not going to allow minarets.
Personally, I believe that one of the few roles of government is to protect people’s rights, including property rights. If someone owns a chunk of land and wants to build a minaret there then they should damn well be able to. And neither the government nor the majority of society should be able to stop them. (Unless there are compelling negative externalities to such construction.)