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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Teenage Christians' rights to wear purity rings at school

` Sikh bracelets, but no Christian rings at school bans pupils from wearing 'purity rings' ` - Telegraph


It's sad, but when i read this article, my immediate reaction was `is this fair? Erm, Carl will know the answer`.

However, in the absence of the guru of objective pessimism that is Carlos Online, I'll just post what I think.

It's an odd situation. To those too lazy to read the article, some Christian teenagers are wearing purity rings to school as an illustration of their sexual purity, but the school won't allow them. The argument the bretherin dan Sanctus Christum pose is it's not jewellery (as the school deems it), but a religious expression, and not being able to wear these is a denial of human rights. (Also, they were quoted as calling the rule `really unfair` which is some heavy food for thought).

The Christian in me wants to say `that's cool` and be gladdened by the enthusiasm of the wee lass, but I know that I'm not quite objective enough that should a Muslim lass insisted on wearing a ring to show her sexual purity for Allah against the values of the system; I'd be slightly annoyed that something had to be compromised to accommodate what is in essence, something between a religious fad and a fashion.

The point is, that whether Christian or for any other religion, the rings are superfluous. As much as I feel the school should encourage sexual purity in youth, the Christians have an equal obligation to be lights in their actions and as such, respect the system that accommodates them. That is to say, the rings aren't needed for the faiths they're arguing they're trying to express and the only purpose they serve is to irate the school and give Christians the sort of press that encourages the term `Bible Basher`.

No doubt Christians like Matt Hill will encourage the stand of defiance and say this is another example of Christians needing a voice. (Reading the girl's comments in the above article, they seem made for each other).

The school's arguments themselves are in fairness, sketchy to say the least:

``The school's concern was that, if Lydia fell and put her hand out to stop her, it could cause injury. It is obviously discriminatory and absurd.`` - Lydia's mum.

That's mental! I think the school is more concerned with the integrity of its standards than it is the danger to the health of a Christian and minister's daughter who wears the ring out of defiance. And dare I say quite rightly so? Should a Christian whim compromise the stature of the school and the sanctity of its rules? Or should freedom of expression (be it religious or otherwise) and `human rights` (in however small magnitudes) be one of the ultimate educations in school? I'm not quite bold enough to answer that question.

However, for one fleeting topsy-turvy moment, I find myself siding with the Sikh/Muslim example posed by the journalist.

Although the school allows Muslim and Sikh pupils to wear head scarves or kara bracelets as a means of religious expression,.... the purity rings are deemed jewellery

It's surprising, but reading between the lines, it seems the journalist has a Christian slant to his approach to the issue which is awfully refreshing. None the less, whereas Kara Bracelets and headscalves are a fundamental scriptural aspect of the faiths of those who partake, the purity ring is not to the Biblical Christian, and serves no more significance than that of rosary beads... that is to say (as I mentioned before), the superfluous quality of the rings are their own demise. Whereas I'm sure the subject of the article finds the ring of great use, if the argument truly is about religious freedom, then God doesn't propose any other reminder of life as a follower than to love one another. At work I remind myself of God's love by loving others. When I feel distant from God, I make an effort to love, when I'm stressed on the phone, I love the caller (and it really is the most startling revelation). Back on topic, if, like i said, this really is a religious freedom issue, then as a struggle for expression, the ring itself is the cause of and ultimate perpetrator of the strife it causes.


p.s – just noticed the editor's typo in the headline at the beginning of the article

7 Comments:

  • At 8:35 AM, Blogger Laura said…

    I thought it's unfair, esecially as the Muslin/Sikh pupils are 'breaking' the school's dress code (which in all fairness, like so many rules put upon children, seems to be very pointless in it's reasoning)

    But you're right, the silver ring is totally superfluous to being a Christian and the girls aren't really showing good grace or humility in their handling of the situation - they're just following the school's bad example and causing a headache for the teachers - I doubt the teachers want to man detention any more than the girls want to be there.

     
  • At 5:20 PM, Blogger Carl said…

    The rings shriek of 'moral high ground'. I hardly think they do much for evangelism.

    I don't know the answer -- but your thoughts are very interesting and I think I probably side with you, Ben.

     
  • At 7:16 PM, Blogger Ben F. Foster Esq. (c) said…

    you shall go far, dear lad

     
  • At 12:28 AM, Blogger monty said…

    I think whether you wear a ring, wear a certain brand, listen to certain music, its all about identity and therefore shouldn't be merely dismissed as it can come across as rejection.

    Not saying I think wearing a ring makes much difference, neither do I think one set of worship music is better than another, its just what you as a person choose to do at the point where you are in life.

     
  • At 6:14 AM, Blogger helsalata said…

    The silver ring is a personal choice: an affirmation of a lifestyle choice. A school could not be seen to sanction it without allowing other expressions of culture. For example why is a silver ring more relevant/allowable than a traveller's/gypsy's large hoop earrings? Obviously there are more safety hazards for the earrings but once the flood gates are open, alsorts of items can be justified.
    If this is pushed to a confrontation we may end up with a similar senario as France who ban everything. Let's keep it simple with our religious indentifiers and keep the relative freedom we have to express ourselves.

     
  • At 9:12 PM, Blogger monty said…

    Well said

     
  • At 10:20 PM, Blogger Ben F. Foster Esq. (c) said…

    yer, Helselata does have a good point, the French suck

     

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