There was a time

There was a time when the idea of a woman wearing anything other than a dress to Church or School would have been considered outrageous. The conservative among them would have cited scripture, tradition, “morality”, etc in defense of the requirement. A woman who did not do these things would have been termed “loose” or “immoral”, seen as a deviant. Likely she would have fired from her job if she didn’t change her disgusting ways.  Or worse.

A dress…such a little thing to go to Hell.

I would like to say that time was long past, but it isn’t.  It is now.  Certainly the pockets of ultra-conservatism are smaller, more hidden, but they still exist today.  I can take you to two or three churches within miles of me that still forbid dancing, push you to conform to their dress code and will quite proudly tell you that there is only one place for a woman – in the home.  The men that share these beliefs, and practice them, are part of our regular society.  They hold down jobs, teach our children, etc.  And through all of this, they carry that firm belief with them, backed by the Bible, tradition and the Almighty Himself.

Now, let me ask you something.  What’s the practical difference between this particular viewpoint and the one held be various Muslim sects?  You can go down a check list. 

1) Women have a very defined role, do not deviate
2) Women must conform to male enforced religious standards or be ostracized
3) This concept generally goes against most modern Western thought regarding individual liberty
4) Men are generally not held to the same standards, in either appearance or action, meaning they typically have far more flexibility and latitude within the same society.
5) All of this is done to preserve the spiritual and physical purity of the woman, especially as it relates to the males in her society.  It is for her own good.

I bring this up for several reasons, least of which is that if you take away the moral component of which God is the correct one, what you have left is a situation that shares a lot of parallels.  The means, methods and results are similar.  I know many of my Christian friends would bring a long litany of buts.  But child marriage.  But honor killings. But…  Trust me, don’t worry, I can provide plenty of examples where Muslims do that, too.  Oh?  You meant the other way around?  Yeah, that shouldn’t be a problem, either.

Daily I see warnings regarding Sharia Law in the United States.  The threat it would bring, the effect it would have on our society, or citizens and our morals.  To say nothing of the Godless heathens that practice it.  Hmm.  Forest for the trees.

Let me leave you with this.

Years ago a friend of mine, now a retired pastor, told me how he agonized over the decision on whether to put a snowsuit on over his daughter’s dress.  This was in a mid-western state during the winter time.  For those that have never experienced such things, let me tell you it is brutal.  Even for somebody bundled up in pants, gloves, etc, the chill can cut right through you.   It is a painful experience.  Imagine having to wear a dress that offers very little in the way of lower body protection.  

Yet he agonized.  Over wearing a pair of snow pants over a dress.  For tradition, backed by centuries of male interpretation of Scripture, he agonized over whether or not to subject his daughter to physical pain.  A pain the males did not have to endure.  Where is that moral high ground that we speak so fondly of here in the States, that humanity that we deny in others?

For those that are curious – My friend ultimately made the right decision.  When he stands before his Maker, I have no doubt that his decision will be judged the correct one.

By Dan Granot

I chose the Shorter Whitman because of his work, "Song of Myself" and because of my self-deprecating sense of humor. I am under no illusion that I can write successful essays or poetry, but I have been known to write them anyway.

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