Boobquake: Confounding Religious Insanity

Today is Boobquake. Funny story:

So an Islamic cleric and Iranian prayer leader was quoted in Iranian media as blaming earthquakes on immodest women:

“Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes.”

As if that claim wasn’t clear enough, Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi went on: “What can we do to avoid being buried under the rubble? There is no other solution but to take refuge in religion and to adapt our lives to Islam’s moral codes.”

As if to prove Sedighi isn’t an extremist, the minister of welfare and social security, Sadeq Mahsooli, backed him up: “We cannot invent a system that prevents earthquakes, but God has created this system and that is to avoid sins, to pray, to seek forgiveness, pay alms and self-sacrifice.”

So sin, and specifically women showing a little skin, causes earthquakes. Curious that Iran is among the world’s most earthquake-prone areas, and not, say, Las Vegas. Or Cancun during Spring Break. Also curious that these earthquakes are the fault of woman showing skin and not the men who lust after them.

A Modest Proposal
As if that little Pat Robertson moment for Muslims wasn’t entertaining enough, student Jennifer McCreight decided to put this ‘cleveage causes earthquakes’ theory to the test with Boobquake. Her modest proposal: Encourage women to dress as immodestly as they choose on one day and see if they can trigger an earthquake (McCreight is a vocal atheist and proponent of science over religion). She even set up a Facebook event. But when the event had 14,000 attendees she realized that what started as a joke was now something more (today the event has gone out to more than 1 million people).

What’s the Point?
So why am I talking about this? Because religious people too often insert foot in mouth and say something ridiculous. Sometimes it’s just a poorly phrased statement, sometimes it’s bad timing and bad taste, and in some cases (like this one) it’s just bad theology.

Boobquake is silly and juvenile (as the founder admits) and I’m not exactly on board with the pro-slut approach (we’ll save the appropriateness question for another time). But I do love the idea of confronting stupid religious statements. Drawing attention to the oppression women often face in the Islamic world is also worthwhile. It won’t change anything in Iran, but that’s not the point. McCreight’s point is that religion is stupid (I’m paraphrasing). My point is that our own comments and actions too often give people like McCreight permission and justification to think that way.

Religion doesn’t have to be the butt of jokes (the boob of jokes?). But that’s up to us.

Plus: Boob. [insert juvenile laughter]

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