Saturday, October 27, 2012

#70- Ecclesiastical International Laws

You lost, Patna?

I am currently working in Afghanistan where religion is an integral part of everyday life for the locals.  This is my second deployment in a Muslim country.  These places are quite different from what I am used to even though I discovered that America was quite religious after the election of George W. Bush in 2004.
It is hard not to bring my Haitian-American values into this setting.  The differences are especially present when I try to take advantage of whatever leisure time I get.  I am fortunate to receive a free internet account via wifi where I can communicate with the rest of my friends and family.  That I am very grateful for (actually, I found out that American dollars are paying for the service).  What I don’t like is the blocking of certain sites and services.
The older Haitian women wear things like this
There have been many laws and agreements made with the Afghan government and people in order to honor their sensitivities.  These include bans on sites such as YouTube and Netflix.  Those two sites I happen to frequent a lot.  There are bans against pornographic sites and sites that involve gambling.  I understand the ban on porn-even though it is annoying, and I don’t care for gambling much.  But all these efforts to appease the Muslim palate got me thinking if they ever consider the feelings of Allah when it comes to all things “haram” in other places.
In other words, someone somewhere is enjoying YouTube, porn, gambling, alcohol, immodestly dressed women, and other things that would upset Muslims, Muhammad (PBUH), and Allah (SWT). 
This reminds me of my old church and their rules.  I say their rules even though they derive in out of the Christian Bible popularly known as “The New Testament”.
We had 2 churches in 1 building.  One side was the older, more “Haitian” service.  This comprised of older Haitians who were set in their cultural ways and other Haitians who probably just came to the United States not too long ago.
That more traditional side had rules that included: women should cover their hair with a veil or a hat and women had to wear skirts-no pants.  Women had to dress modestly.  Do you detect a theme here?  It was mostly about women.  Men had rules too but they were much relax or easier to follow.
I attended the younger, more “Americanized” side of the church.  I used to visit the “gran moun” (elders) side just to maintain my Haitian some semblance of my Haitian identity.  It was the most boring display of narcissistic, drab, and pseudo-piety one can imagine.  Everything was rote and flavor-less.  That is exactly how those stiffs liked it.  It was a little bit of home in the strange wilderness that is America.
I wish girls at the church looked like this.
It was about that time that I asked myself if the God of the known universe cared about trivial fashion habits of some Haitians in Miami, Florida.  Were the women who wore skirts and covered their hair more pious, more lucky, more blessed in any way shape or form.
What about the younger women on the English speaking side?  They almost never covered their hair.  Most wore dresses and skirts but you can catch an occasional pair of pants here and there.  The younger women were more flashy and seductive clothes.  The men’s wardrobe was more modern and less formal as well.
The same question loitered in my brain for the English side:  did God/Jesus care about how we dressed?  If so, why was that?  What is the relationship between what you were and the success that came directly from it?
Men in Scotland wore “kilts” as part of their traditional garb.  The manlier men wore the kilts without undergarments (to prove how brave they were?).  I know that there is such a thing as women’s pants.  Furthermore, the men depicted in the bible stories look just as ragged and destitute as the women.  I’m pretty sure there were no pants during that time.  Eventually I read the sexist Bible verses that inspired these Haitians to copy the dead Jews’ clumsy fashion advices.
Underwear is for pussies
Just as in the case of the Muslims I wondered if the Christians thought about the extent of their laws.  Obviously these rules were only for those who cared to obey them.  Women from the West are well advised to obey local Islamic laws if they ever visit a Muslim country.  Rules and values depend upon where you are on the planet and the humans you are around.  There are no gods, ghosts, ghouls, angels, or anything or anyone halfway mystical that enforces these rules.

I always wondered if the gods spent their time perpetually fuming with anger since a large swath of the humans of the globe are either unaware of indifferent for their  rules.

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