The wrong trousers

It seems like there are plenty of people who believe that their special interest should be respected as if it was a special need.  Take midwife Hannah Adewole, who thinks that she should be excused the rules other medical staff have to follow because she’s a Christian.

Adewole thinks it’s disrespectful to expect her to wear scrub trousers because apparently, god told her so.  Deuteronomy 22:5 says:

“A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the LORD your God detests anyone who does this.”

Deuteronomy is a lot of fun.  As well as a gender dress code, the fashion advice extends to forcing you have tassels on your cloak and a ban on mixing wool with linen.  What a style faux-pas.  Add to that the Leviticus bans on piercing and tattoos, and looking fabulous whilst keeping the bible fashion police happy in iron-age Israel must have been a minefield of stonings.

The punishments in Deuteronomy are tough.  There’s loads of purging of evil and stoning, but on the plus side, lots of helpful guidance on how to treat your slaves.  However, women had to know their place.  If a woman grabbed a man’s wedding tackle in a fight, her hand had to be chopped off.  Less eye for an eye, more chop-off for a chopper.

Adewole is no lilly-livered liberal Christian.  She is full on hardcore:

“I believe that the Bible is truth and that its words should be followed wholeheartedly.”

You’ve got to admire her dedication.  But if I was her employer, I would be concerned about her wholehearted support for stoning and cutting limbs off.  Even more worrying for a midwife is someone who believes in the truth of a book which contains a psalm praising the bashing-in of babies’ heads.  Actually, there’s a bit of child murder and enslavement going on in that book.

But all of this theological nonsense isn’t what really matters.  Most of the time when religion keeps to itself it’s harmless and doesn’t matter much to those who don’t believe.  However, sometimes it overlaps into real life and we see the ‘respect’ vs reality battle end up being fought out in the courts.  I consider the respect narrative used by some Christians to be phoney, especially when they use the worn out ‘you wouldn’t do that to Muslims’ argument.  Using the courts to try and lever religion into areas it doesn’t belong whilst playing on a false sense of persecution seems to me incredibly dishonest.  It’s almost as if some Christians want to be persecuted, whether it’s over their choice of dress or jewellery, or the services that they are expected to provide to others.  The bottom line to me is that your religion is fine, as long as you keep it personal, and not try to force it on others, and in this case, through illiberal legal gambits.

What is worrying in this case is that someone in the medical profession thinks that their personal ideology based on ancient mythos trumps hygiene and safety rules; rules introduced to protect patients from infection.  Should such a person be working in a hospital?


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