Is Insistence on a Dress Code in Churches Relevant?

We are into a modern age and a church ruling on dress code has raised many eyebrows. The dress code, applicable to both men and women, prohibits sleeveless clothings, T-shirts with cheeky messages, short skirts, or, in short all dresses, which do not conform to the `modesty’ code.

But the question arises as to whether we can really afford to gamble big at this stage especially at a time when youngsters do not really care for any religious ideologies anymore. Most of the youth in and around go to places of worship just because of parental pressures and family circumstances. It is only a formal protocol. Once they get there, they begin playing games on their cellphones and sending messages. So do you think imposing a ruling of this sort will matter to these young guns going astray? I really doubt and, more so, remain apprehensive.

It may be recalled that the 16th-century Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa recently decided to provide shawls to ‘indecently’ clad visitors. The 450-year-old Mahalasa Narayani temple in Ponda, Goa also has banned the entry of foreigners after they were found ‘inappropriately dressed’ or even kissing inside the temple.

On a personal note, I would certainly agree on the church ruling that indecency should be arrested and curbed, but not with a ruling of this regard. But a larger audience is to be considered and their sentiments need to be delicately addressed.

Dale Carnegie once said,? You cannot win a person to your way of thinking by imposing something on him; he needs to be convinced ever so gently ever so kindly.?

This is precisely what needs to be done. Christians are well known for their educational zeal and prolific dedication. Why can?t they educate the youth on these grounds also? Let them be convinced that what they do is wrong. That wearing dresses which expose too much isunbecoming of a religious place of worship. They have to realize the fact that they are coming to churches to pray, to worship the Lord and not to walk the ramp or to do a ballroom dance.

One may argue that Sunday is one day where they get to wear clothes which they like. Fair enough, there are means and ways to fulfil your hearts highest desires. You could attend Mass on Saturday evening and do whatever you like on Sunday. I am just trying to float an idea. You need not necessarily agree, but there is some truth in it. Lest you find it an inconvenient truth.

Youngsters are the very base on which anything can survive and flourish. Can we afford to lose them? There are always better ways to get them to our way of understanding. We enjoy comparing religious ideologies and other matters of relevance. Then, on grounds of dressing sense, why is it that a small segment of youth around beg to differ?

It?s time to question one’s own self and to realize one’s own saga of purpose and beliefs. Do you really go to church or, for that matter, any place of worship for reasons best known to you, or do you go there to sincerely pray, to spend time with God and to worship him, love him and find inner peace?

Friends, there are other platforms to do what you like to do. But here is a sincere attempt to realize your true ideals. After all, we go to worship God, for our own sake. It should not be a matter of concern as to what others will say if we dress like this or like that. Wish a new understanding dawns and good sense prevails for the greater glory of mankind.

(The author is a medical journalist-cum-entrepreneur.)

Author: Edmond Fernandes