Heaven preserve us from the curse of the Christian Hijab – that’s the fashion fascists who insist women have to wear hats in church.
Many churches across the North are stuck in a Victorian time warp where doddery old men issue edicts to women on how they should dress for worship. Is it any wonder today’s youth are tempted to abandon the Christian faith?
I recall a deep spiritual crisis in the 1990s which befell a close friend when a Baptist church refused to give him membership one Sunday morning – commonly called the Right Hand of Fellowship.
The reason for his terrible disgrace and great unforgivable sin in their eyes – his missus doesn’t wear a hat to church. I always believe the Good Lord examines what’s in our hearts, not what we wear on our heads.
Here’s an open question to the leadership of the Baptist Church in Ireland – is the ‘no hat, no handshake’ ruling now ingrained in your constitution, or was what happened to my mate in the 1990s just a daft rush of blood to someone’s head?
Maybe some of you fundamentalist Biblical experts out there could tell me where in the Scriptures getting into heaven depends on your headgear.
I always thought you entered through the Pearly Gates when you asked Jesus into your heart (Just read St John's Gospel Chapter 3, verse 16), not pleading with the Lord to give ticks of approval to a hat.
Reality is there are still many women right across the North who find themselves being oppressed by domineering males who get real pleasure from dishing out their own sanctions on female fashion.
And I thought the Pharisees who plagued the life of Jesus disappeared centuries ago. Silly me! Women should have freedom of choice as to whether they wear hats to church.
I saw a recent picture of the youth choir at the opening of the new extension of a fundamentalist church in the heart of the North’s Bible Belt. All the females were wearing hats and looked very smart. Hopefully, it was the girls’ choice and not a diktat.
I also spent an entertaining evening recently at Belfast’s Metropolitan Tabernacle when the church boomed to the excellent sound of the American Christian rock band, Casting Crowns, who were playing their first concert in Ireland.
More than 2,000 young people were packed into the popular north Belfast Pentecostal church – and guess what, not a bonnet in sight!
The one thing which the fashion fascists have in common is that they are well versed at selecting specific texts from the Bible to justify their bigoted stances on hats.
The hatty brigade’s fundamentalist flagship is found in the New Testament verse of 1st Corinthians chapter 11, verse 5, which states: “And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonours her head – it is just as though her were shaved.”
What the fundamentalist fashion gurus conveniently forget to tell women is verse 15 of the same chapter, and I quote: “… if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering.”
Take note, lads – women do actually have a choice, according to the Bible. Looks like your days of administering the Christian Hijab are coming to a rapid end, and all you have to do is spend some time reading the Good Book.
There’s a Children’s Commissioner and plans for an Older People’s Commissioner. Surely it’s time for a Women’s Commissioner?
But males have also suffered at the hands of the fundamentalist fashion fascists. There are young men who have been instructed to ‘tone down’ their ties, and keep their jackets on in church.
However, there will never be true Scriptural equality in the churches until all the Protestant denominations recognise women elders and clerics, and the Catholic Church gives its blessing to nuns being allowed to marry. Roll on the Second Coming of Christ.
In the meantime, let’s remember the words of the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns in his 1786 work, On Seeing One On A Lady’s Bonnet At Church – ‘To see ourselves as others see us!’
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