Mennonites and Muslims

Posted: August 1, 2011 in Religion

Yesterday, while parking my truck at a local grocery store parking lot, I noticed a family of Mennonite or Amish walking towards the entrance.  The were two women and a young boy.  The boy had long pants and suspenders along with the traditional wide brimmed hat.  The women wore long sleeved dresses, opaque leggings and bonnets.  The only exposed skin was hands and face.  The temperature was in the low 30’s.

I couldn’t help but think of the Muslim women I often see.  Not the ones whose faces are completely veiled or wearing burqas, but the ones with head scarves and modest dress.  I was struck by how similar these two groups are.  And yet the Muslim tradition is often viewed with disdain while the Mennonite tradition (as a traditional branch of the Christian Baptist Church) is treated with tolerance.  Both have the same traditional, subservient view of women.  Both attempt to protect the moral modesty of both men and women.  Both reject much of our modern society as evil.  While it is true that the Muslims have a much more conspicuous extremist faction which victimizes and exploits women, there are factions within the Christian and Mormon religions that are equally extremist.

As long as personal beliefs do not exploit women or children, tolerance should be equally applied to all religions.  If we are going to attack Muslim practices, then there are many equivalent Christian practices that also deserve it.  They’re not so far apart.  If we tolerate certain traditional practices in some Christian factions, we should also have the same tolerance for similar Muslim customs.  Anything else would be hypocrisy.

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