As a person who has a tendancy to obsess over odd things, I know what it is like to feel deeply disconcerted over seemingly innocuous things. For example, as an impressionable child I was introduced to the (normally) harmless childhood rhyme
Don't step on a line, or you'll break your mother's spine.as the premise for the game of walking along the sidewalk avoiding cracks and lines. I guess either because of my intrinsic inclination to play games and follow rules, or some internalized irrational fear for my mother's well-being, it got to the point that I thought about this game every time I walked down the street. I would make up other sets of rules on other floor patterns (not so rhythmically composed, but sometimes far more interesting depending on the tile pattern). As I got older and most people grew out of childhood rhymes (and as my feet got bigger) it got more and more awkward to avoid breaking these walking rules. It was particularly awkward when walking with a group. Eventually, fear of social awkwardness ended up winning out over internally driven discomfort and I gradually began to convince myself to step on cracks and lines. When alone, I still sometimes find myself involuntarily hesitating when I step onto a cobblestone or brick street, or subtly adjusting my stride to avoid stepping on breaks between the sidewalk blocks. I can usually snap myself out of it, but I am not being fasecious with this story. It genuinely bothered me to break my internal rules of walking. It is not something I am always comfortable talking about (after all, it sounds a little crazy. It is also why I so greatly enjoy this xkcd strip, though; it makes me realise I at least might not be singularly crazy), but I bring it up to demonstrate my point.
Don't step on a crack, or you'll break your mother's back
I am not claiming that people should be unallowed to have irrational beliefs, and even subsequently irrational behaviours. However, I am saying that those irrational beliefs and behaviours should get no special treatment when they are religiously based, and must be restrained by the rights and needs of all other members of the community. I am, after all, free to walk as oddly as I want in order to meet whatever rules I come up with or hear in a childhood rhyme. Likewise, though, other people are free to ask me why I walk that way (and are free to laugh at my response or probe my motivations). More importantly, the civil authority responsible for constructing and maintaining the sidewalks is free and bound by its responsibility to the good of the whole population to use construction methods that are the most expedient and effective, regardless of how difficult that might make my subsequent attempts to avoid cracks and lines. Why should it be any different if my discomfort stems from an ancient book rather than a childhood rhyme?