The Burkini

Previously posted elsewhere on August 25th by me. Reposting here as I move everything to Medium.

Several places in France are banning Muslim women from wearing a burkini. If you aren’t familiar with a burkini it’s swimwear modeled after a burqa. It covers much of the body, including shoulders, most of the arms, legs, head, but keeps the face perfectly visible.

I find the ban disturbing. I find it strange to see someone told that covering much of their body does not “show good morals.” Women should be able to cover as little or as much of their body as they are comfortable with without being shamed. Ever.

I find it disturbing that I see similar behavior in America, from Christians. Hate directed towards Muslims and Muslim dress. Towards any religion not our own. Every time we do this we erode our own freedom to practice religion. We hurt ourselves and we hurt our ability to spread God’s word. Do you really believe that anyone can ever seriously listen to you about the love of God as you spit in the face of their beliefs?

We live in a very delicately balanced country. This balance is what makes is so great. And to tip it even slightly could destroy the entire thing. The only way I can guarantee my ability to proclaim at the top of my lungs that God is great is if I allow another to proclaim just as loudly that Allah is great, and yet another to proclaim that God is fake. If I try to take away that right from others, I only open the door to have it taken from myself.

Can I really trust anyone to judiciously use that power only as I see fit? Can I trust myself? When would it stop? At what point would it go from being, “Christian only” to “Baptist only” or “Assemblies of God Only” or “Catholic Only?” History tells me that some of my ancestors came here and started this country in protest of that very outcome.

It worries me because this sort of fight can only lead to separation. Every time I see a Christian proclaim that an immigrant they should “just go home” I can’t help but wince. Jesus never told the lost to leave his presence. Because he could only reach them by being among them. He spent less time in a church house and more time in a sinner’s house for a reason. And when a Christian tells an immigrant or their close descendants to “go home” I wonder if it is the Christian’s intention to move to their European homeland. Because unless you are 100% Native American you don’t belong here anymore than a Muslim, a Mexican, or an African-American.

And every time I see a Christian mutter under their breath, “They should learn English if they want to live here” my heart breaks. Jesus met people where they were not where he wished they were. How are we to reach the lost if we insist they meet our standards first? Did Jesus turn down disciples saying if they wanted to follow him they should have learned to do more than fish? And as a side note unless you speak Cherokee, Navajo, or Yupik and so forth you have exactly zero legs on which to stand because THOSE are the original languages of this land.

If you really cherish your freedom of expression and your freedom to worship then you had better be willing to stand up and defend someone else’s freedom too. Whether they be Christian, Muslim, Wiccan, or Atheist. Lest we all lose our freedoms in the end.
 This is my stand.

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