As a young Catholic girl I had to cover my head in church; the boys didn’t have to. They had to remove their head coverings upon entering church.
The boys were allowed on the altar; the girls weren’t. Even though girls would collect and take home their surplices to wash, starch and iron for the next Sunday mass, we had to enter through the back door.
The boys could assist in the mass; the girls could not. How could you assist in mass if you weren’t allowed on the altar? Only boys could be altar boys. Fair enough, but there was not a category for altar girls. A trick I thought as a young girl learning early what a backseat was.
Of course you’re special, you’re just different. No, it doesn’t mean the boys are better, it’s just the way it is. You think too much. Stop dwelling. I’m only asking a question, not dwelling. Boys and girls are different. Your job is as important as theirs.
But they do all the fun things. Why can’t they collect, wash, starch, iron and return the surplices and I assist at mass, I thought to myself.
Catholic families learn early in life through the doctrines of the church the value of their own children through the eye of the church, the Pope’s eye and in the eyes of God, even in the eye of Jesus. It wasn’t till decades later, on a trip to Montreal to attend a doctor’s symposium on dystonia, that I made my first walk on an altar.
I drove myself from Cleveland. Brought a bunch of Vox Dei Newspapers I published (similar to the word warrior content I publish online now, only in print form) and dropped them off Johnny Appleseed-style all along the way. I was also visiting by car (a visual tour) the birthplace of my maternal grandfather in Inverness, Quebec, a Scottish community, whom I never met, since he died early of pneumonia.
One of the stops along the way was a church (not planned, just me coming up on places or people and stopping to handout or drop off papers). I stopped, found the side door hallway, left a bunch of papers at the top of the steps, then went inside the church. I sat about in the middle and as I looked toward the altar saw a used baby diaper in the middle of the aisle – blue. I thought that’s strange. How could somebody drop a used diaper in the middle of the aisle of a church and keep walking?
I moved a little closer to the altar and took a seat near the aisle. I looked around to see nobody present. Catholic churches are much the same no matter where they stand. I scan the stations of the cross and recall doing them many times during the run up to Catholic holidays. I look at the altar with regrets for all the time spent during my childhood being a Catholic second class citizen. Why was I born a girl? Other religions are the same though – I’ve studied at least the basics of most of them.
My thoughts turn to the head coverings. First it was a hat, not carried, but actually on our heads that we needed to enter the church. God was in the church. That’s all we needed to know. Cover your head. I learned that men were made in the image of God, women were not, so they bared their heads and we covered ours. God is a he not a she.
What they really meant, in my view, was that men wanted to be seen by God alone, wanted to negotiate with God, wanted to be accepted by God. Women would steal the show, so cover them up, so God can’t see them. Always secret deals going on with God and men. Men wanted God to themselves. Men didn’t want to compete with women for God’s favor. Men were self-designated go-betweens. Men designated themselves as the Gods for women.
Men wrote the bible, not women. God – Men – Women. God tells the man what to do, then the man tells the woman what to do. The man is the filter through which the woman sees what the man allows her to see. These were man-made, church-made, not woman-made laws of religion.
Jesus was a man. Gay or not it doesn’t matter. He did the same thing. You have to go through him to get to God. He was one of those Jews who likes to fulfill prophecies. It got him killed. Jews aren’t the only ones who like to fulfill prophecies for personal gain. I’ve seen members of congress do the same thing.
So here I am – alone in a church somewhere in Quebec. Dare I do the deed? Maybe I should have pre-thought an excuse for being on the altar should a priest walk in, or some big local church official or an altar boy. Or a mother who knows I don’t belong there. But I didn’t.
Next thing you know I’m siting in the papal chair looking out over the throngs of worshippers.
Eventually the Catholic church did away with demanding head coverings for women in church. It was a gradual process – hats were no longer required, but a small piece of lace secured with a bobby pin was the next and last step to head freedom. Now God could see everybody. I was glad about that.
Whenever I see a Muslim child or woman with a head covering and a man with none to me it’s a sign of oppression and I personally find it offensive. The oppression I experienced very early in life, that marred perceptions of my worthiness, is why I eventually turned away from all religions.
Muslim women forcing non-Muslim women in America to look at that symbol of oppression wherever they roam in public is the same for me as a black person being forced to look at, communicate with, do business with and work with white people who wear nooses loosely around their necks, or a Jew being forced to look at, communicate with, do business with and work with Germans, Austrians and Poles who wear Swastika arm bands.
Oh no, no, no, it doesn’t mean that. No, no…
Yes, it does mean that to me. It will always mean that to me. To watch Muslim women enjoy being oppressed makes it all the more grotesque, thus obscene. Wear it at home or in the places where you worship your oppressive Gods. This is not a religious country. It’s a multi-ethnic country that allows you the freedom to go to church, mosque, temple or wherever you gather with like-minded individuals to worship without persecution.
It’s not a symbol of oppression. No it’s not. Look at me, I’m a congresswoman.
A congressperson who thinks her hair has magical powers that will make every man except those in her family, want to rape her if she exposes it.
So here we’ve got a congressperson who wants to look like a prostitute to remind people she isn’t one (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), and another congressperson who wants to wear a symbol of oppression against women to prove that she isn’t oppressed (Ilhan Omar).
Both women are signaling solidarity to women in their own ethnic and religious groups, rather than to all women and all men, whom they were elected to represent while members of a federal congress. They are executing preferential prejudice by gender, ethnicity and religion as well as discrimination toward every person not in those stylized groups.
Most of all, using oppressive symbols to gain popularity among select groups is offensive and manipulative. It hurts people; it doesn’t help people
Once you’re in the USA federal rather than the USA state congress, your votes effect all people in the nation, not just your constituency, or gender-specific or religion-specific or ethnic-specific bases.
Their message: Push down the women who already fought and created their freedom by making them feel sick by association with oppressive symbolism they’re forced to view in public places, while simultaneously raising up those still oppressed by showing them they can succeed while being oppressed.
Look at us; we’re congresswomen.
Ask Ilhan Omar if she supports segregation.
Ask Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez if she supports federally funded abortion for Spanish speaking prostitutes.