Traditionalism or Legalism?

Updated: Sep 18, 2020

That's the real question we should be asking before making assumptions about someone for going against social norms.

I was hired, temporarily; on a job waiting tables. It was all good when I first started. No-fuss about my appearance. Everything went well. I started catching on fast. But after a couple of weeks working for these people, I began to hear fuss from them about the way I do my hair, my headscarf, and dress.

Note: these people were from Germany, and they obviously had a very different view than those who grew up in America. In the U.S., we respect religion. After all, religious freedom is what this country was founded upon. I have never, in all my years of work; been scrutinized for my attire by managers. It was really bizarre. Maybe this was due to the oppression they went through. Maybe it was for some other unknown reason. Nevertheless, they hated the way I carried myself and they wanted to put their two cents into what I did.

First, it was about how I did my hair. They told me to pull my hair back because they said it was too much in my face. And again, I've been waiting tables for years before this, and no one ever made a big deal about how I did my hair. So I thought: "I can understand. Even if I don't like to do my hair this way, but what could it hurt?" And with all due respect, I changed it up, for their preference. And again, this is a preference and not anything that would have hindered me from my job! I looked at the other waitresses and saw they had their hair in their faces. How much sense did this make? My hair was not in my face, it was very much sprayed down, brushed back, and out of my eyes and face.

As if that wasn't enough, I also heard from one of my co-workers that it would be wise for me to stop wearing my headscarf. Now, I may not claim this to be of any religious significance, but some do. And what if I did?

One night the manager set me down after having a conflict with one of my co-workers. Long story short it was about a false accusation and he didn't take to kindly of me after the fact. He began to hammer in on me about my headscarf. "This is not a religion," he said. "This is a business. And if you cannot respect our rules, and if you come in again with that thing on your head, you're gone. You're fired." I felt like it was partially my fault for not taking it off in the first place, as suggested by one of my co-workers (not management). It was my mistake for not talking to the manager about it in the first place. But I also sensed that they had no respect for me. And again, if this was a part of my faith, I would not take it off. The attitude they had towards me wasn't so good, even after I took it off.

I politely nodded out of respect. It's their business and they can do what they wish with it, but on the inside; I felt very insulted and misunderstood. As Christians, we don't leave our faith at the doors of our workplace. We carry it wherever we go. Even on our job. And topping that, he accused me of being disrespectful, when in fact; I felt he was doing the same thing to me because of my faith, or perceived faith. And this is the first time he had ever spoken to me about it personally. You can't demand someone lay down their faith to work for you. Nor can you demand respect out of someone while being overtly disrespectful and unreasonable. And if this is how they genuinely felt about me and how I carried myself, why did they hire me in the first place? "Just take it off," he told me. But then what else are they going to demand I do? I'm not laying down my faith or values for this job. Period! And would it have hindered me from doing my job? No. Of course not! But as the manager says, as it is to be. Let's just say, that was the last day I worked for them.

I've also caught some of my fellow Americans frowning at me. Some of them would shake their heads in disbelief, and dismiss me, even without knowing a single thing about me or what I have gone through. I am as singled out as can get. But doesn't even the scriptures teach us to separate ourselves from the things of this world? Doesn't it say that the world would hate us?

So, I can only imagine why this is so frowned upon in our society. What used to be considered 'of the norm' is now dismissed. What was considered to be true and right is now under attack. I've been called a 'legalist' and 'overly religious' in the past. Is the new norm now what we used to call 'rebellion'? Because the new 'rebellion' is now called 'legalism'. Do people not know their history? Even normies used to look and dress like we "legalists" do today. Religious or not.

Normie vs Rebel of today

Traditionalism is leaning towards traditional morals and values, modesty, traditional family, and way of life. Legalism is preaching for doctrine the commandments of men. So why all the fuss over my attire? Why can't I dress in a traditional way without people labeling me as this overly dogmatic person? I'm really baffled about how many people have painted me as such just for holding myself to a certain standard, dressing a certain way or doing my hair differently. It's crazy! Even other Christians! The responses I have gotten from others haven't been so good concerning what I have chosen to do with my own life.

If these people think it bad to look down on another person based on how they look, why the double standard? This cuts both ways, people! Both those who hold to a certain standard or lack thereof.

The problem within our society is that going against the social norms and such are perceived as an overly religious move, a judgemental move, and a legalistic move, rather than a positive move towards traditionalism.

What's wrong with setting a traditional standard for yourself? And your family? Religious or not? And how do traditional values differ from legalism? It's how we go about it. Its how we approach the matter. Standards are how we establish a moral compass for our society. It's how we teach our children right from wrong. It's how we take a stand against the immoral degeneracy that is being inflicted on our society. But now it's perceived as a negative thing and many a time because of certain groups of people who have misused it, and now people will shun you over it. They will even betray you over it, both those who know you and strangers alike. You will get fired from your job over it. You will be ostracized over it. It's as if they believe this is the biggest problem in our society. Sure, the misuse of it is a problem. But to me, it’s not the biggest problem on the planet.

If you want to criticize something, why not the degeneracy that has been promoted through the media that is causing our society to crumble? #foodforthought

You can say what you want about the way that I dress, and all of that, but it's not bondage. And there is a reason for it all. My God had a plan, from the very beginning; to separate me from the things of this world! -Andrew Foster

They can talk, but we don't have to listen. They don't get to tell us who we are.

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