Let’s Talk About Religion.

*This was originally a Facebook post but it got too longwinded so I’m posting it to the blog instead. I AM FULL OF MANY WORDS TODAY.*

Those of us who fought for gay marriage often used various passages in the bible against the opposition, pointing out that if you’ve selected to ignore some of bible, you can ignore parts of the bible. The responses were often variations of this —

“Since interpretation is a human process, it has always been pluralistic, prone to error and dependent on human understanding, no matter the religion in question. Interpretation is also subject to conditions and times specific to a particular community of believers.Interpretations may vary significantly from country to country and community to community.”

— especially considering there are so many facets of Christianity that interpret different parts of the bible in different ways. There’s a huge difference in application of principles from denomination to denomination.

Now. I need you to step back and re-read that quote again and know this: THAT QUOTE IS ABOUT SHARIA. As in “Sharia Law” that so many on my Facebook feed like to throw around when they are trying to justify actions against Muslims. The Southern Poverty Law Center put together this page (http://www.tolerance.org/publication/sharia) and that is a quote on that page taken from an answer to the question: “Is Sharia open to interpretation?”

I have a hard time understanding why SOME (not all, I’m blessed to have many accepting Christian friends who support the Muslim community) of my Christian friends will allow that different facets of Christianity exist and interpret the bible differently than they do – but ALL MUSLIMS ARE THE SAME. They are not.

And to those who blanketly assume all women wearing a hijab are oppressed, please watch this video – it demonstrates that there are women who CHOOSE to wear it as a counterstatement to the Western world’s sexualization of women.

Islam is complex and Sharia is interpreted differently in different parts of the world. Hijabi women – especially in the US – can still support principles of our constitution. Also, if you think Islam is the only religion with facets who try to control legal contracts – look at the way some in the Catholic church respond to divorces, requiring other actions (annulments in the Church) before someone can get married in the church even if legally they are permitted. Or listen this episode (I think it’s the third act) of This American Life and hear about one Orthodox Jewish community and one particular “agunah” which is “woman whose husband refuses to give her a divorce” and it’s supported by the community.

Religion is complex, and the bigger it is the more variations you will find. I’m frustrated that people allow for nuances and complexities and differing belief systems in their own religion but not in others.

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