What I learned today: don’t EVER criticise the worldwide circus that surrounds a royal wedding ever again you heartless bastard that hates love, happiness, and all things good in the world.
I’ll make you guys a deal. If William and Kate’s offspring have the ability to legally marry someone of the same gender, if they so wish, I’ll join you in your irrational appreciation of royal weddings when the next one rolls around.
I just overheard the “Royal Wedding” coverage from another room (and, thankfully, my mum and sister complaining about the very idea before they flicked the channel).
I know I have some very close friends who are genuinely interested in the occasion, but honestly, the fact that this is the lead story on most of our mainstream (and even some “less-mainstream”) news outlets seems to me to be a very sad indictment on our society.
Is this really what the world considers an occasion worthy of an “interruption to normal programming”?
Before the criticism comes, yes, I understand it’s a positive event for some, and a much-needed hark back to simpler, more elegant times for others. But to dedicate entire news programming and resources to the idea? Is this really what we have asked for?
Fukushima is still leaking, Arab and African nations are still in political turmoil, scientists are still making world-changing breakthroughs, there are amazing discoveries being made in this world right now, and our environment, fellow humans and other creatures on this planet still need our help.
It’s just a guy and a girl getting hitched, with the guy being lucky enough to have a certain brand of blood.
Or am I being too cynical today?
Sorry for my delay in reply there morefunthanbeingsad. For those playing at home, this is a response to my post about a Herald Sun opinion piece justifying opposition to the burqa.
Some “quick Googling” didn’t confirm much for me, other than the fact that, just like most other religions with a central doctrine, adherence to that said doctrine is left to not much more than interpretation. For example, the Qur’an states the following:
O children of Adam, we have provided you with garments to cover your bodies, as well as for luxury. But the best garment is the garment of righteousness. These are some of God’s signs, that they may take heed. (7:26)
O prophet, tell your wives, your daughters, and the wives of the believers that they shall lengthen their garments. Thus, they will be recognized (as righteous women) and avoid being insulted. God is Forgiver, Most Merciful. (33:59)
Say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty ; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear thereof. (Quran : 24.31)
I don’t see it too far a stretch to think that some people of the Muslim faith would interpret the above passages to mean the wearing of a garment not too dissimilar to a burqa.
The Qur’an references were found here, along with this interesting point:
In recent years the Burqa has become a symbol not just of modesty, but also of political affiliation. As Arabic culture and Islam have spread and are challenged in other nations, like France, this political identity has become increasingly important. The Burqa has been in existence for approximately 7000 years. It is doubtful that it will be eradicated in the modern world as there have been and always will be people who seek to keep this tradition alive for political, social and religious reasons. And it will, for this reason, continue to be a source of controversy.
As for your assertion that the burqa is a symbol of the mindset ’that all men are just sexist and cannot be trusted to look at a woman for fear they objectify her’, you’re right, I don’t agree that this notion is the whole idea behind it. There are almost certainly (perhaps equally unsavoury) ideas of female modesty involved in its use, and mistrust of females. But there are almost certainly also those who would wear it in no different a way to how you or I would wear a garment fitting a certain religious occasion in Western culture, a wedding for example. I’m not denying for a second that there are sexist practices within Islam, and I personally disagree with the way the Qu’ran was both written and/or translated to satisfy this end. I guess that’s why I’m not a Muslim, it doesn’t fit with me. It’s also why I’m no longer a Catholic, hardly the religion to preach gender equality. But that doesn’t mean I think no-one should have the right to be a Muslim, or a Christian, or a Buddhist, or an Atheist etc; and further, we don’t have the right to disallow any of these (or other belief systems) from practising traditions and customs that are important to their followers. Especially ones that don’t actually break any laws.
Your example about a tribe not wearing tops and sacrificing dogs in this context is, as you say, “fairly ridiculous”. We’re not talking about tolerating some sort of illegal behaviour here, we’re talking about a traditional item of dress. Comparisons like yours do nothing to evolve the argument beyond fear mongering and into an educated and balanced conversation about the pros and cons of certain customs of any given religion.
I’m glad you asked how far my “religious equality” extends. In studying both human rights and philosophy at university I had often grappled with concepts like cultural relativism and moral relativism, until I came to a very simple conclusion. If any individual freely chooses to follow a belief system complete with cultural traditions that are not necessarily compatible with my world view, but that said individual does so in a manner that causes no actual harm or injury to neither myself, nor themselves, nor other people, then I have no right whatsoever to judge them for that.
My example, and the crux of my whole opinion on the issue of the wearing of the burqa, is this:
A devout Muslim woman, as part of her interpretation of the Qur’an and the teachings of it that she respects, decides that the burqa best outwardly represents how she feels about her religion and her place in it. No man (or other woman) has forced her to wear it, and she does so because it is her want. This is 100% fine with me. This does not mean I support sexism or religious extremism, just an individual’s right to wear what she wants to wear. Where does banning the burqa get this woman?
As for my pedestal? I sold it, and am currently enjoying my high horse. Having a soapbox makes it really easy to get down from too!
Private Percival Pinder
4th Light Horse Regiment, C Squadron
Twenty-five years old at time of embarkation.
Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
Died in 1958 at age 70 of complications attributed to war injuries.
Rest in peace, great grandpa. Thank you for the freedoms you fought so bravely to preserve. I’ll never take them for granted.
Lest we forget.