Friday, July 20, 2012

Oh, for Pete's sake, it's a goldurned hat.

The "debate" continues on the subject of what in the beans veiling "symbolizes" and I keep falling for the internet troll traps. This is a bridge and I am a goat. Shame on me. Someone is always wrong on the internet and I need to disengage.

Since this is my blog, I'm still going to talk about it here. It's pissing me off and this is a good place for me to talk about the things that make me want to turn green, grow to five times my normal size, and smash stuff. (I would be a smallish She-Hulk by Hulk standards, but still quite capable of smashing.)

I've heard all these arguments before, mostly from people like this:

These are photos from news coverage about the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro and I would bet you two shiny pennies that every single one of these ignorant rednecks would call themselves a Christian.

The ICM is just up the road apiece from me and I've been involved in helping them fight for religious freedom since this whole business started. As a Pagan, I know that when one minority group is bullied by the majority, we all become second-class citizens. If we'd decided to build a Pagan center, this could have very easily have been us.

One of the excellent things that's come out of this is that I have made friends that I never would have made before and learned so much about Muslims and Islam. I was even able to host the imam at one of our gatherings so that he could talk about his faith. Several people arrived skeptical and a little nervous, but left knowing a little more and feeling a little more at peace with our Muslim neighbors.

Like us, they're just folks who want to practice their religion. Like us, people get all kinds of ideas about what their religion is and what the associated symbols mean. So, it really pisses me off when Pagans, of all people, start sounding like the ignorant rednecks pictured above. We should know better than that. And yet there are those yahoos that do not, apparently, know better. I keep hearing about how the hijab is a symbol of oppression.

No. It's a goldurned hat. It's a piece of fabric some people put on their heads. Any meaning beyond that has been made up in your brain. Even those who wear it have applied their very own meaning to it. I could choose to wear a five-pointed star with a circle around it and there are some people who would make some pretty horrible assumptions about what that means. I know what it means to me, but when you get down to it, it's a star with a circle around it. Any meaning beyond that has been made up in your brain.

Now I know "symbols have power" blah, blah, blah "swastika." But the same principle applies. The swastika is a shape and the meaning applied to it comes out of the brain of whomever is looking at it. That meaning comes from a person's knowledge and experience, but has no more "rightness" to it than the other guy's meaning who has completely different knowledge and set of experiences. I'm not advocating swastika usage because the meaning I personally apply to it is a really scary one. And when these guys use it, they're pretty clear about what they mean by it:

Illinois Nazis

But this veers waaaay off topic. (Hello, straw man!) The fact remains that if a lady so chooses to wear some fabric on her head, she shouldn't have to be subject to verbal abuse, social stigma, or violence. Period. The end.

Where my tichel at?

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