Wednesday 3 August 2011

Editorial: Mrs Adewole, Christianity is more than a pair of trousers

The bad example of Christians

Sometimes you wonder about how much Christians act to bring Christianity into disrepute and public ridicule.

Their conduct in trying to exercise rights of expression based on some obscure passage of scripture rarely does much for the message of the gospel and there can be no correlation with the meekness, selflessness and example that Christians are to demonstrate.

The real message of Christianity flows out of the gospels of the apostles which are in essence the narration of the life of Jesus Christ, a ministry that brought radical change to the way the religious and political systems were run at that time.

Looking out from the gospel

The need to display a Christian outlook that emanates first from the example of the gospels is pertinent because every other session of the bible is an image and reflection of the living example that Jesus Christ showed.

Whilst the Mosaic Laws prepared a people for the service of God, they are hardly the bedrock of Christian faith and a good deal of the prescriptive rules, creeds, laws, traditions and customs have been done away with as the new testament and covenant replaced the old.

Most important of all for any adherents of the Christian faith is to live peaceably with all mankind being an example of love, compassion, care, understanding, modesty, courage and goodness.

The clothes are still different

A midwife offers a great service of care and love to humanity in helping the delivery of babies, hospitals however do have codes of conduct and there are reasons why certain types of apparel make the working in a hospital more comfortable and manageable.

Culturally, there in some places there might be a strict separation between what menswear is and what womenswear is, there are other settings where apparel is more or less unisex, the matter of trousers in many societies is down to the cut and the fit; men’s trousers are rarely ever for women just as women’s trousers are rarely for men.

An ancient practice superseded

In the UK especially, you have to be so absorbed in the Levitical priesthood pulling off heads of pigeons and turtledoves, sacrificing scapegoats outside the camp and shedding blood over all sorts of religious paraphernalia as vividly depicted in Mosaic books to suddenly happen upon the literal instruction of Deuteronomy 22:5 which in the New International Version from the news story states that “A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does.

In those times and in that community, that was as prescriptive as it got including the admonition not to wear clothes of mixed material and other exacting minutiae needed to separate the Israelites from the other races and tribes that will eventually surround them when they arrived in the promised land.

A poor reflection of the mission

If Christianity has now been reduced to the externalisation of apparel to the point of wanting to look different and be a disruptive influence within the workplace, one would be left with the unfortunate needless death of Jesus Christ and the resurrection would have been a stunt without any particular spiritual significance; we might well follow the regime of a diet and be happy.

That I am afraid is where the recalcitrance and unreasonableness of one Mrs Hannah Adewole has brought us; a midwife whose sense of community service in the employ of Queen’s Hospital in Romford, Essex has been lost to a radically fundamentalist and irrational adherence to a single decontextualised verse of scripture on wearing trousers at work which she terms men’s clothes and she is taking her employers to court for religious discrimination and harassment.

There might well be a case for the idea that those of other religious persuasions are somewhat more favourably treated and it could well be that they have taken time to negotiate their concerns better than to take offence and go confrontational.

Laugh her out of court

Now, it is her prerogative to sue but I pray it must not be done in the name of Christianity and it is not that I failed to notice in her picture that appears to the whole wide world that through fundamentalist eyes, she has forgotten an essentially chaste and modest looking dowdy head scarf.

This a la carte selection of scriptures of convenience must stop and I would hope to all that is good, seemly, honest, true, just and fair, she is laughed out of court and really, if she hates her job, she should just quit and find some backwater hospital with Mosaic Law guidelines in which to ply her trade.


The Daily Telegraph under the Health News section runs the story - Christian midwife sues over order to wear trousers.

A selected comment

Going from the line of thinking she has adopted, the best rated comment posted by philantony goes thus and it puts this whole ruse into context.

  • I do hope those outfits she wears are not of mixing wool and linen (Leviticus 19:19)?
  • And that she avoid coming in to work during her period or indeed allows any women into the hospital who are menstruating as this would clearly be a health risk (""When a woman has a discharge of blood, which is her regular discharge from her body, she shall be in her impurity for seven days, and whoever touches her shall be unclean until evening." -- Leviticus 15:19-20
  • And I hope she doesn't swear or joke... "Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place...." -- Ephesians 5:4
  • And the same for gossiping. "Do not go around as a gossiper among your people..." -- Leviticus 19:16
  • And of course hospitals should shut down on the Sabbath at risk of violating Exodus 20:8.
  • Or does she believe in excluding children of unmarried parents from church? And for 10 generations thereafter!! "A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the lord; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the lord." Deuteronomy 23:2
  • And I do hope she doesn't eat oysters or prawns or shrimps or the like. (Leviticus 11:9-12 and Deuteronomy 14:9-10)

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