Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Head Covering Requirements - the Flip Side

"Christian Jordanian woman sues her Muslim employer | CTV News"

Is headcovering required for Christians today? Some Christians say yes, some say no, some say sometimes.  Is head covering required for Muslims today? Some Muslims say completely, some say no, some say fashionably or partially.

Personally, I believe that wearing a head covering is a choice, and as such, no one can insist that I don't need to wear one, or even more so that I am not allowed to wear one. I choose to wear a head covering to pray, to teach the Scriptures, to worship in public and sometimes in private, even by my own choice as a reminder throughout the day as I work or relax. As a rational human being I believe that I have the choice to wear a head covering or not, to obey my conscience or not, to follow what I understand the Scriptures to teach, or not.  And I believe that others have the right to make that choice as well. If I force someone to wear a headcovering because I believe it's a requirement, but they disagree - if they wear it anyway, are they truly obeying? or just complying in rebellion? Likewise, if I believe that I should dress modestly, and that covering my hair is modest, humble, less distracting; I cannot make someone understand that belief, but I can only instruct and dress as an example. I can be sad that someone else doesn't agree with me, because in the case of modesty we affect not only our own lives but the lives and minds of others as well - but I cannot change their mind for them.

On another hand altogether, I would have no problem complying with a company policy that required a hat, scarf, or other covering as a uniform policy.  These policies have existed for years and in all sectors of society. Was the woman in Jordan required by God to wear a covering? She didn't think so. But God does ask us to live in the world even when we are not a part of it. To love others as we love ourselves. What would have been the sin or crime in donning the uniform when another company (or country) takes over your own? No one asked her to give up her faith. If she felt that they were, then that should be the reason for a suit, but not a simple uniform policy. Example: Is every woman who works as a hostess for Emirites Air a good solid Muslim? Most of us would guess not; but the women all wear those lovely hat/scarf ensembles to work at the airline. And another example, if Hillary Clinton can don a head covering to visit a mosque or the Pope out of respect for others and we all still know that she does not represent either religion AND that she's a strong powerful woman, then is there really a problem?

In another look at this story, and one of the first that I thought of (as a head covering Christian woman), is the sad fact that this woman who refuses to wear a head covering on religious grounds is a member of the church of Christ which follows the teachings of the Bible, wherein is found a good solid teaching that women are to wear a head covering. People outside the church who are aware of this fact will see Christians in general as those who don't even obey their own Scriptures. As I alluded to earlier, Christ also taught his disciples by example and word that it is more than okay to spend time with those who may be considered "sinners" - even when someone more pious-feeling than you may accuse you of being one of them. His disciple, Paul, wrote that he would "become all things to all men, so that I might win some". We are not to condemn; that is not our place or our ability. We can use our eyes to discern (to "judge" in an old fashioned kind of translation), but not our place to stand before a crowd as the Christ of God did when he condemned those of his generation for being hypocrites. This defiant, rebellious, suit-seeking behaviour is counter-Christ behaviour, and the world will see it as such, and continue to judge (or discern, see) Christians in general as self-seeking, rebellious, or even "holier than thou". The opposite of humble, which was Christ. And because head covering in the Muslim faith is a part of feminine modesty, she will be perceived by others as immodest, thus putting all Christians in general into that same category.

As I mentioned, and I may be in error in my understanding of this issue, I don't believe that anyone should change their religious beliefs because an authority tells them to. Unless they have been truly converted. I did not read that this bank was asking her to change her religious beliefs. She understood the long modest skirt and complied, but somehow that piece of cloth on her head meant that she was being asked to "go against" her religious beliefs - which apparently unknown to her, is actually a part of her religious beliefs.

It is a sad situation. A frustrating thing to fully comprehend and try to explain why it might be seen as sad. I am sad that the media had to be involved, because of the misunderstandings that will abound. I am sad that Christians and therefore Christ will be misrepresented yet again. I am sad that these head coverings cause so much division when they are such a lovely symbol of faith and modesty. Head coverings are not (and should not be) worn just because of some ignorant male-dominated mandate. They have such a higher meaning than that.

Wearing a head covering is (and should be) a
FREE-WILL,
MODEST,
FEMININE and
NATURAL*
CHOICE
made by women all over the world,
throughout the ages.

Stop making it into some kind of evil thing to be fought about.
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