Dress codes in places of worship has been an ongoing debate in India. Religious leaders like Temple priests, Imams and Christian priests seem to want to have a say as to how women belonging to their religion should dress. However, a video that recently resurfaced nearly 11 months after it was originally uploaded on a Christian Channel on YouTube, seems to have raised an uproar, with people angrily commenting about the priest’s speech.
“Why is that thing even in church?” he asks as he seems to think that women wearing jeans shouldn’t be allowed in the Church. Addressing a Christian convention, he goes on to say, “There are times when you don’t feel like giving communion to these girls in church or even allowing them in church.” He even comments on their hairstyle and wishes if they would at least comb it or tie it up with a ribbon. He feels, that a woman so dressed is merely showing off!
The rant goes on, “I want to ask girls sitting here, has the Catholic Church allowed you to wear jeans and banyan that men wear?” Father Sharlom even goes on to say that outfits like these tend to tempt men into committing sin and that by trying to do so with their skimpy outfits, the women are sinning.
Kerala Festival Coordination Committee is planning a protest march, fearing that the Government may ban temple festival celebrations. Organisers and festival enthusiasts are planning to march to the Thrissur District Collectorate on 15 February.
Valsan Chembakkara, General Secretary, Kerala Festival Coordination Committee confirmed the same. “Ministers have previously convened to remove unnecessary restrictions and iron out measures and protocol to conduct festivals in a smooth manner. Even then, there hasn’t been an absolute solution,” he says. “All the mandates stated by the Forest Department in Kerala Captive Elephant (Management & Maintenance) Rules 2012 circular are being followed. Then, why shouldn’t festivals be allowed to continue,” he asks.
As for vedikettu or fireworks at festivals, local firecrackers like kizhiminu, amitti and ola padakkam aren’t allowed. And to burst Chinese fire crackers, one needs to get permission. “There needs to be a clear explanation with regards to this. It is the responsibility of the officers in charge to bring clarity to the matter,” Valsan Chembakkara says.
By Rahul Easwar
(A response to K. Surendran’s stand that women should be allowed in Sabarimala.)
I have immense respect for Sri Surendran. He is one of the most vibrant orators and political leaders Kerala has, along with Sakhav Swaraj, Sri R.V. Rajesh, and the Muslim League’s Sri KM Shaji.
Sunday Shalom, a widely circulated weekly Christian news paper recently surprised many with their editorial titled “Narendra Modi as Servant of God.” The national media and the Modi supporters were quick to cash in on this opportunity to herald this as an ultimate approval which could wash away the sins of Godhra riots and instill a glowing hallow around the newly elected PM. Many Christians too were caught off guard reading the ‘Servant of God’ claim and wondered whether it was clever opportunism at work to get into the good books of Narendra Modi. To uphold a Christian vision is a challenge in a highly secularized world and to make people understand the real sense is a herculean task especially when vested interests are working hard to turn anything and everything in their favour.
A Christian Response! Not a Political Response!
The Sunday Shalom editorial should be seen as a Christian response and not a political response. A true Christian doesn’t hit the street armed with latest ammunitions even if things go against his wishes politically or socially. Christian vision doesn’t encourage blind criticism and rough opposition against ones opponent. This is because, for a Christian, no event happens in this world by chance or by luck, but everything happens with the full knowledge of God and according to His plan.