General Question

MilkyWay's avatar

”Religious people should conform to western dress laws.” Do you agree or disagree?

Asked by MilkyWay (13718points) April 1st, 2012

We are going to be having a debate in school on the statement below, and I wanted to know your views on it.
Religious people should conform to western dress laws.
Do you agree? Please state your reasons.
Do you disagree? Please state why.
Of course, there are also people out there who couldn’t care less, one of which is me, so you’re also welcome to state your thoughts and opinons on this too. :)

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34 Answers

digitalimpression's avatar

All religious people from every part of the globe?

No, they shouldn’t conform to western dress laws.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

This isn’t an easy question. I suppose dress laws, like all laws (and like all ridiculous laws, in general) should apply to all people but, for some people, certain pieces of clothing is really important (even if it’s not important to other people) so I’d have to say they should not have to conform to Western dress laws but I can see where the opposite makes sense as well…except that side can’t say anything against the clothing based on religion.

wundayatta's avatar

My religion involves the used of ganja. We make giant spliffs and decorate our jackets with them. It is an essential part of the religion, and no country claiming to support freedom of religion should stop me from doing that.

blueiiznh's avatar

I am unsure what you mean by “Religious people”.

What does “Western dres laws” mean.

I don’t thinnk any culture or country has the right to make anyone conform to what they wear.

Jeruba's avatar

Western dress laws? What are our laws about dress, other than that we’re supposed to wear something?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’d like to say any style of dress is fine. But it needs to be offset against public safety. If I advocate wearing clothing that could easily hide my identity and permit we to wear bomb vests is that fair to everyone else. It’s a really tough call. I don’t like that some of Europe is banning certain clothing that is part of certain religions, but were do we draw the line?

Trillian's avatar

What religious people are we talking about here? To which laws are we referring?

NostalgicChills's avatar

I’m not exactly sure what you mean by “western dress laws”. What do you mean?

CaptainHarley's avatar

Unless there is good reason for some dress practices to be outlawed ( Muslim women wearing a veil when having their picture taken for a driver’s license or ID, for example ), then it should be allowed. Since when does the USA have any other sort of dress code?

MilkyWay's avatar

Okay, to people who asked questions:
I’m referring to all religious people, be they Muslims, Christians, or Sikhs. Anybody.
And by “Western dress laws” I mean the usual western dress code that doesn’t include the typical eastern attire such as the turban for instance.
Thanks folks :)

gorillapaws's avatar

I’m cool with it as long as it includes a ban on those stupid Texas necktie thingies with metal cow skulls and braided leather. Whoever decided they were appropriate for business dress should be shot.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I think the turban is fine. The veils I’d like to see some way for us to accomodate, but I don’t know how.

CaptainHarley's avatar


I know you, dude. You’re just jealous! : D

Linda_Owl's avatar

I would like to see women from other religions be allowed to modify their attire if they (personally) choose to do so. I think that many of them would like to dress more in tune with people that they see out in public, but I think they are afraid to actually try it because of the condemnation they would receive from their families.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@MilkyWay I think it’s important to make the distinction between “Western dress customs” and “Western dress laws”. In some places, for example, wearing the hijab is prohibited by law in certain situations or at all times – though these cases are very rare.

A person may have different motives for conforming to customs vs. conforming to laws, so that might change our answers. Which are you actually arguing?

DrBill's avatar

no, if there is going to be a separation of Church and State, then the government has no right to make or enforce any lay interfering with the freedom of religion.

There are some laws in the bible that require NO clothing at all, (i.e. when entering the holy of holy’s)

MilkyWay's avatar

@dappled_leaves We haven’t been given the choice, we’ve been told to argue from the given point of view. My teachers have told me to argue with an agreement with this statement.

dappled_leaves's avatar

So, you’re only arguing for or against conformity to the law. It will come down to whether the person is more willing to break the law than to break their faith.

I think it’s a much more interesting question to ask whether or not there should be laws requiring a specific types of dress in particular situations in the first place. Too bad you got stuck with this one.

Actually… are there any such laws in the US? This question immediately makes me think of France, but I’m unaware of anything closer to home.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Your teachers are wrong. Having a driver’s license with a picture of you wearing a veil negates the value of effective identification, and is tatamout to giving some a face-mask to avoid the law.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@MilkyWay Go with the idea of a blow up of the eyes? I can tell a lot by eyes. There was an intelligence analyst that said the eyes we’re key.She was known as the wizard.

MilkyWay's avatar

@CaptainHarley I know, but I’m still glad that I was told to agree with this statement.
@Adirondackwannabe That’s interesting… and I’ll be sure not to divulge that peice of information to the other team lol.

JLeslie's avatar

All I care about is that I can see someone’s face.

Oh, and people must follow dress codes in schools and for work, I don’t believe in exceptions for religion, unless all people at the company can wear the same.

Joker94's avatar

Well, no. Eff that S.

SavoirFaire's avatar

People should dress however they like and not be made to feel bad about it.

It is also worth noting that the law concerning driver’s licenses is not a law about dress. It concerns what elements must appear on a valid license, and the fact that this means you cannot wear certain things for the purpose of your photograph is merely incidental. You are still free to wear your veil, sunglasses, gorilla mask, or hazmat suit at all other times. But driving is not a right. If you want a license, you have to do certain things to get it.

A real law concerning dress would be like the French law prohibiting conspicuous religious symbols to be worn in schools. Leaving aside the way in which the law is one-sided (the way in which the law is written effectively bans only headscarfs, which are not technically a religious symbol in the first place), it is an attempt to bypass freedom of religion and go all the way to forced secularization. Laws like this are ridiculous, and I would encourage anyone and everyone who believes in religious freedom to break them.

rojo's avatar

We have laws for how I have to dress now? How about everyone has to wear a gorilla costume or dress like those Minoan murals we saw in High School?
Personally, I like the latter.
However, I can see where you are coming from where does religious dress interfere with the safety of others. Tough choice, particularly when you live in a society that ostensibly favors the rights of the individual.

dappled_leaves's avatar

For religious people who answered this question… did you consider which tenets of your own faith you would be willing to break, in order to conform to the norm in your (assume non-Western) country? How does that affect your answer?

Dog's avatar

What right does anyone have to tell another person how to dress?

I prefer to dress in casual clothes that I do not care if I ruin when in the studio. If I offend by my attire it is an issue with the offended person, not me. They might find me lacking because I do not wear designer clothes, but I think they have no place to talk since they often dress in uncomfortable clothes and wear nooses around their necks.

Buttonstc's avatar

Although I’m not fond of the idea, there are currently limitations on personal appearance for military personnel and job situations requiring either a uniform or formal dress (suit and tie for courtroom lawyers, and similar business situations.) So its not as if there currently is unfettered “anything goes” in many segments of society.

But as a general law for anyone being in public, I think thats overkill. The laws in France regarding head scarves and the like are just prejudice, pure and simple. I see no purpose being served.

LostInParadise's avatar

If the dress is sufficiently modest, under most circumstances it does not matter what people wear.

However, for Western society to function, we need to be able to recognize who we are dealing with. The requirement of Muslim fundamentalists to have women who go out in public cover their faces interferes with this. This can be particularly difficult in public schools.

rooeytoo's avatar

If I am working in an open all night convenience store and a tall person in a floor length robe with their entire face except eyes covered, I am going to be nervous. I don’t know if it is a woman or a man or an extremist muslim on a suicide bomb mission under that gear. You are not allowed to wear a motorcycle helmet into a store but I am not allowed to tell this unidentifiable person she/he cannot enter my store dressed like that. I think I should have that right for my own protection. Same for photo identity cards, how can you identify if you can’t see a face?

So for me, I don’t care if it is a state required helmet or a religious required veil, it shouldn’t be allowed in my store.

downtide's avatar

The only “western dress laws” that I know of involves no nudity in a public place. I can’t think of any religious group whose common mode of dress involves nudity. Therefore, all religious groups already comply with western dress laws (with the exception of France which I believe is stricter).

If you are suggesting that we in the west should outlaw the religious attire of other cultures, my opinion is a big fat resounding NO.

OpryLeigh's avatar

Disagree. Providing a person’s outfit of choice isn’t intended to cause mass offence then I don’t care what people wear. When I am talking to someone I feel more comfortable if I can see their face but if their beliefs are strong enough that they feel they have to hide everything but their eyes then who am I too judge?! I was watching a programme recently about the mixed ethnicities in Bradford (England) and one girl (who I believe was of Pakistani descent but had lived in England her whole life and considered herself British) was verbally abused by a bunch of white people for choosing to wear a sari rathern than “western clothes”. They accused her of deliberately alienating herself from them and all I could think was “fucking ignorant twats”. The girl wasn’t causing anyone any harm by wearing the traditional dress of a culture she feels close to and it made me mad that it was all these white idiots could focus on.

mazingerz88's avatar

Hmm…yes, especially if it’s made by Chanel or Versace. : )

Mariah's avatar

Outside of safety concerns, nobody should have a say over what anyone else wears.

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