So there I was trolling my usual web site haunts: keeping up on the latest news items and looking for comment opportunities. And there it was on the amazing World Have Your Say site where the on-air topic of the day concerned the recent French ban on the wearing of the burka by Muslim women.
As expected, the blog entries covered the gamut from support for recognition and security reasons to opposition on the basis of a women’s right to choose.
So I posted the following comment.
Fashion and over-the-top dress and appearance like goth, gang attire, unnatural hair colors, etc. are, in my view, a foolish waste of time and money unless you are part of a circus. Nothing is more foolish than funny dress for religious or pseudo religious purposes. It is difficult to believe that folks have been lead to dress on purpose to satisfy some religious or cultural dogma in the misguided belief that doing so will get them special favor or admittance in some life either here and now or in some life hereafter.
Yeah, so it was a little off topic but I posted it anyway mainly to see if it got any traction and because I rarely let an opportunity pass to criticize bizarre religious practices.
An hour later I returned to check the progress of the discussion and there it was in the next post, a comment about Mormons wearing special underwear.
What? I had never heard of such a strange thing. This could not be true, I thought. So I Googled “mormon underwear” and surprisingly got a lot of hits.
Checking out the search results I learned that Mormons do indeed have this secret/sacred underwear. Their church even has it’s own company, Beehive Clothing, which manufactures and supplies church sanctioned apparel.
This secret/sacred underwear, as several web sites explained, today consists of two pieces covering from the knees to the shoulder and must be worn next to the body at all times, day and night. Women must wear their bra and panties on top of the garment, Gs or garmies as the faithful refer to them.
Mormon church dogma explains that the garment provides protection against temptation and evil. Some even believe that the magic garment even provides physical protection.
All adults are required to wear their garmies in order to enter the temple. Though how they can tell is a mystery. Maybe they have some sort of TSA-like screening.
The issues of what constitutes sin and will cause you to go to hell, if you believe such things, vary considerably among religions. What is sin and send you to hell in one religion is a non-issue in another. With so much inconsistency what is a person to believe and what is true? If truth is so relative and point-of-view dependent then what is the point of even putting on the appearance of some dogmatic religious practice? Really, what good is it and who needs it?
Since the horror of 9/11 we have been deluged with information to help us understand the Muslim world in what I refer to as getting our daily dose of Muslim. What is particularly difficult to make sense of is the civil strife and killing that goes on between the shia and sunni denominations. Is whatever religious ideological difference so important that it merits murder?
It seems like we haven’t progressed much in the past several thousand years when it comes to religious practices. Indeed much of this bizarre religious behavior is a continuation of the past and is designed to serve as a reminder to the faithful of past events and customs. Though it is a mystery why people need to be reminded and why such remembrances are tightly coupled with complex clothing rituals and general outward appearance, religious hair or lack thereof, for example. Are their memories that bad? Aren’t the writings reminders enough?
What is even more mysterious and preposterous is how someone can come up with these strange and arbitrary practices and why seemingly intelligent rational people will go along with them.
Humanity would be best served if religion’s dogmatic and divisive traditions and practices were eliminated forever. The concept of treating followers of other faiths as “the other” or infidels in need of annihilation, conversion or subjugation because of adherence to one bizarre practice or another needs to be abolished. But, sadly, that is never going to happen.
Religious leaders, if indeed there are such people in some denominations, and followers should go back to the foundational teachings common to all of the major world religions: love, peace, equality and tolerance.
That’s my view, what’s yours?