Let's just stick with angels, dancing, and pin heads, eh?
Women in Saudi Arabia should give their breast milk to male colleagues and acquaintances in order to avoid breaking strict Islamic law forbidding mixing between the sexes, two powerful Saudi clerics have said. They are at odds, however, over precisely how the milk should be conveyed.
A fatwa issued recently about adult breast-feeding to establish "maternal relations" and preclude the possibility of sexual contact has resulted in a week's worth of newspaper headlines in Saudi Arabia. Some have found the debate so bizarre that they're calling for stricter regulations about how and when fatwas should be issued.
Sheikh Al Obeikan, an adviser to the royal court and consultant to the Ministry of Justice, set off a firestorm of controversy recently when he said on TV that women who come into regular contact with men who aren't related to them ought to give them their breast milk so they will be considered relatives.
So, just to be clear, this implies that it's actually more acceptable for me to work with an unrelated woman if I have consumed a fluid produced by her body first. And this will help us maintain an acceptable level of distance and professionalism. Right. I can see how that might make sense to someone in a certain frame of mind, but fortunately we have drugs to treat that frame of mind.
Now, if you'll permit me a brief digression,*** back in the day when I still shared an apartment with my Former Hypothetical Roommate we often watched religious broadcasting. This wasn't because we liked it so much as because it was often the only station our antenna could pick up. One night in particular we found ourselves transfixed by a debate between several "theologians."**** The thing is, we weren't transfixed by the quality of the rhetoric or because we cared about the outcome. No, it was because we couldn't figure out what the hell they were even arguing about. The point under discussion was so esoteric, so trivial, that it completely eluded us for a good twenty or thirty minutes. Thanks to that experience, I have long thought that I have seen the most absurd religious debate possible. Sadly, I now know that I was wrong, because now I know that not only do some Saudi clerics say that men should drink the milk of their co-coworkers, but also that there's an argument over how they should do so:
"The man should take the milk, but not directly from the breast of the woman," Al Obeikan said, according to Gulf News. "He should drink it and then becomes a relative of the family, a fact that allows him to come in contact with the women without breaking Islam's rules about mixing."
But his remarks were followed by an announcement by another high-profile sheik, Abi Ishaq Al Huwaini, who said that men should suckle the breast milk directly from a woman's breast.
Shortly after the two sheiks weighed in on the matter, a bus driver in the country's Eastern Region reportedly told one of the female teachers whom he drives regularly that he wanted to suckle milk from her breast. The teacher has threaten to file a lawsuit against him.
And now the wheels have come off the wagon because, really, if the point is to maintain proper decorum between males and females, requiring a man to suckle milk from the breasts of each woman with whom he works seems like a poor choice. Unless you're filming some sort of weird lactation porno, in which case, hey, carry on. Yet still, this has to be the single weirdest religious debate I have ever seen. It is literally an argument over how the milk of a human should be consumed by some random jackass.
You know? By comparison, the debates I witness here in the states seem positively logical by comparison, and we have random morons who believe that bananas are the atheist's worst nightmare and evolution predicts a crocoduck. Hell, even the inspiration for boobquake seems rational by comparison.
Ah, well. I guess it's good to keep it all in perspective, eh?
* This is, of course, only a problem if you subscribe to an incredibly narrow and arguably absurd religious view.
** One would have thought the burqa would have handled that, but apparently not. And I suppose that's understandable: did you see that hot ankle layout in last month's "Playboy: Girls of Riyadh"?
*** And, let's face it, you don't really have a choice, do you?
**** This is the most accurate term I can think of, even though I think it confers far too much status and dignity upon the men in question.