Posted by George Morrison

Just when integration of schoolchildren was beginning to break through the familiar Church divisions to produce homogenous school communities the Muslin female headgear reappears. Some naively say its simply an article of clothing and should be ignored. Others see it an the emblem of a more strident brand of Islam that is to be feared. Some schools have a uniform which affords a simple let out provided those in charge are firm in their application of the rules. The government has been asked for guidelines but is unlikely to give any leadership on the issue. The problem is that religious demands are avaricious! Granting a Hijab may well lead to a request for the full Burqa. Then there is the possibility of segregation of the sexes and the banning of pork from the school canteen. The Bible predicts that such things will characterise the days we live in; “They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth” 1 Timothy chapter.4 verse 3. Jesus did not wear the cross he carried it. The symbol of Christianity is not so much something worn as something lived. St Paul writing to the Galatian believers commended Jesus work on the cross and the change in the lives of those who were transformed by believing that he died for them personally. He said “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.” Christianity is not so much a matter of external performances as an inward cleansing and recreation of the heart. The good news of a clear conscience and a clean life needs no headgear to proclaim it only lips that can give a ready answer for the hope that lies within. Let St Peter have the last word, “but in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”.