Uncategorized · March 14, 2010

The religious cheater

It was a beautiful day, so I was outside today working in my garage woodshop. I had the door open as I worked on my new workbench.

Outside other people in my apartment complex walked past. I saw a lovely young college student I’ve seen before, an Islamic girl wearing her Hijab. She was also wearing a black halter top that left her arms and back bare. She walked past my garage on her way to the mail boxes.

“Nice skin” I thought to myself. Really, it seemed flawless. I went back to sanding planks for my workbench.

And then I stopped. Wait a moment, something wasn’t right here. Islamic women are supposed to dress “modestly” so that the eyes of men are not drawn to them. This woman wasn’t being very modest!

So when she came walking back from the mailbox, I was waiting. As she walked by, I realized she was wearing an almost skin-tight long sleeve top under the halter top. The sleeves of the top came down past her wrists to her hands, but hugged her arms and back. The top was the same color as her cheeks and what I could see of her hands.

A skin-colored top that hugged almost like a leotard, with a halter top worn over it. And of course a Hijab and long pants and shoes. Technically all but her face and fingers were covered. But I had thought for sure that her arms and back were uncovered! I even thought she had nice skin.

It seems to me that she was cheating – following the letter of Islamic religious law, but not the spirit.

Too often, this seems to be the case for many different religious people, willing to follow the letter of religious law, but not the intent. When I point out that the bible clearly indicates that divorced and remarried couples are committing adultery Christians will start explaining why they don’t need to follow these particular guidelines. They may even explain that this wasn’t the intent of what was said.

When people want to use religion to justify their actions, they have little trouble doing so.  “Black and white” rules of morality go out the window when they become inconvenient.  And worse, religion is too easily used to justify immoral actions, from removing or restricting basic human rights to outright atrocity.