Monday, March 27, 2017

Muslim Covering of Women Isn't a Good Argument against Islam

The United States has become a cesspool as it relates to the covering of women.  However, the nakedness of women seems also to be a symbol of Americanism today as much as apple pie, kind of like the following, "Our women take their clothes off, and we're proud of it."  As this relates to Islam, we're not like those nasty Moslem countries that force their women to cover themselves either with the burqa or the hijab.  The hijab brings an American gag reflex and the burqa induces all out vomiting.  On the other hand, flag waving and the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue now parallel one another.  The patriotism of this goes back to wartime pinups of women, I guess, to motivate these men to sacrifice themselves or at least to provide distraction from their fears or anxieties.

The hijab and burqa are distinguishing garments in Islam.  They reflect Moslem teaching on modesty for women.  They don't have identical rules for men, because they distinguish between men and women.  Is this good?  It's not wrong for sure.  You could argue from the Bible that it is right to do so.

As I think about what scripture says about female dress, the following is how I see these two articles of clothing.  One, the Bible doesn't require the hijab or the burqa.  Two, the Bible doesn't say that a woman would be superior or a better person or more moral because she wore a hijab or a burqa. Three, the Bible doesn't forbid the hijab or the burqa.  Four, there are similar principles in the Bible for the hijab or the burqa as there are in Islam.  Five, the biblical principles themselves don't require a hijab or burqa, but they do require something for women similar to the hijab or burqa.

I'm saying here that the hijab or burqa are not a good argument against Islam by Americans, either liberal or conservative.  Neither of these are forbidden in the United States.  Women can wear them if they want.  Men can't force women to wear them in the United States.  However, in European countries, those bastions of freedom and expression, that's what they want to outlaw.  They don't want the burqa or the burqini, the Moslem beachwear.

Permit me to digress for a moment.  I don't like the burqa as apparel.  It reflects a perverted belief and culture.  As a result, I attach the hijab to the burqa, because they both come from the same source.  I get a feeling of repulsion, looking at them, because I know from which they come.  If I can separate myself from the religious aspect, the hijab can look nice, feminine and modest.  As I tamp down the religious repulsion, as an item, I see it in a good way, because of the distinguishing nature of it.  The hijab looks attractive to me when I get past what I see it represent.  On the other hand, the burqa looks like something Cousin It would wear in the Addams Family.  It would look stylish maybe on a weeble.  I'm not for a hazmat suit as regular apparel.

I don't think that Muslim covering on women should enter the argument against Islam.  Why is it used?  There's nothing wrong with it.  You shouldn't use what's not wrong as an argument.  It presents a weak argument.  There is something right about it's underlying philosophy, distinction and modesty. I believe it is used as an argument because it's emotional.  Women will feel emotional about it.  Men want to look at women's bodies, so it works for them too.  If the burqa took off as a fashion, men wouldn't see anything except in the bedroom, and they don't want to wait for that.

The burqa argument also works in the matter of men and women's roles.  What makes America great is that our women are free and equal to men -- sure, after 1920.  Before that, women couldn't vote. Read the federalist and anti-federalist papers.  Women's vote didn't come up once in those books.  It wasn't even up for debate.  Big laughter from Jefferson, Adams, and Hamilton on the woman's vote. Are. you. kidding. me?

The cultural degradation of America follows a trajectory that matches the dress of women.  The more they dress like men and the more they take their clothes off, the more that things fall apart.  We're not better off from those activities.  This is the slouch or slide toward Gomorrah.

Masculine and immodest dress on women are not better for intimacy.  They are not better for solid marriages. They are not better for family cohesiveness. They are not better for family solidity.  They are not better for role accomplishment.  They are not better for protection for women from all sorts of crimes.  Women are not better off because they can dress like men and take more clothes off.

People feel more American for opposing the burqa and allowing for the shredding fad, allowing for big rips in clothing to see through.  Lingerie used to be bedroom wear alone, and now it is a regular feature of outer wear.  If we replaced all of the masculine, immodest dress on women with the burqa, we wouldn't be worse off.  I'm not arguing for either. If we're going to point the finger at one, we should be able to point the finger at the other, except that the burqa in and of itself isn't wrong.  Only women wear it and it is modest.  Obviously modest.  The only thing more modest are those moving blankets at UHaul, but not wrong.  What I'm saying is that we're wrong, and they're not wrong.  I'm not saying they're right, but they are at least not wrong.  We are wrong, and wrong in a big way.

The burqa isn't what destroys Moslem society.  They suffer for many other reasons.  We are not helping them by using lame and hypocritical arguments against their covering of women.


Jonathan Speer said...

Pastor Brandenburg,

I agree with you on this issue.

I will sometimes listen to a certain radio show where the host goes to a college campus for open air preaching and one-on-one evangelism each Wednesday. I enjoy listening and it is an encouragement for me to do the same. However, almost every time he interacts with a Muslim woman, he brings up the modesty she is exhibiting as though she is necessarily doing so by compulsion. I am certain that there are Muslim women for whom that is the case, just as I know there are independent Baptist women who dress the way they do for reasons other than personal biblical conviction.

I'm not sure why the man persists with that line of reasoning because I've never even heard a woman accept his premise, much less be moved in her thinking. They normally explain to him that they are doing what they believe to be an honorable and righteous thing.

In the end, I think that at least 2 errors are made:

1. Adopting as a starting point in evangelism a perspective held by the fickle society around us that is not in alignment with principles found in the Bible.

2. The tone and rhetoric used end up being condescending (at best) to the many Christian men and women who choose to dress in a biblically modest way and are compelled only by their love for God.

Thanks for you recent articles and for being willing to address these issues with clarity.

In Christ,

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks Jonathan,

I agree with you.

Craig Kuha said...

Thankyou Kent for tackling the big issues. My eye catches the posts about Moslems and there culture because I load and unload steel with Moslems all the time in Canada. Many people get caught up in the emotion and hype of moslem dress but they need to hear the gospel from me.
Thanks Craig.

KJB1611 said...

The HAZMAT suit line made me laugh.

James Bronsveld said...

It's pragmatic reasoning that is not entirely surprising, given the wholesale abandonment of Biblically distinct roles by modern evangelicalism (actually, it's the wholesale abandonment of Biblical authority altogether). It's noteworthy that those employing that reasoning seem to also gravitate toward the idea of a "western values" test for immigration. As I line up my Biblical convictions against western values, I wouldn't pass such a test myself.