LONDON, June 22 — At a time of passionate debate over religious clothing and emblems, a 16-year-old member of an evangelical Christian movement protested in court on Friday because her school has refused to allow her to wear a so-called purity ring, symbolizing her commitment to premarital chastity.
The case offered a counterpoint to a broader discussion concerning Muslim women who wear the full-face veil known as the niqab. But it also revealed stirrings of resentment among some members of Britain’s Christian majority, who say they are the victims of discrimination over how they display their faith.
[…]In a statement to the court, Leon Nettley, principal of the school, Millais, said, “It is not a Christian symbol, and is not required to be worn by any branch within Christianity.”
“It is never simple to draw boundaries,” he continued. “If we allow one set of pupils to wear rings symbolizing one particular message, when that item of jewelry is not required by their religion, then doubtless other pupils will then demand to be able to wear jewelry symbolizing other messages.”
Now, the superintendent has a point. The girl can remain pure if she goes without the ring, and it’s not a requirement by her religion, so no taboo is broken if she doesn’t wear the ring. However, a girl not wearing a niqab would be beaten for such a display of “sexuality”.
Is it an overreaction? I think so. The ring is a religious symbol, and students shouldn’t be restricted from wearing such symbols, just as I’m sure the married faculty aren’t prohibited from wearing wedding bands (which are purely symbolic and not required by their religion).