Christian Mom Dons Hijab For Lent

The woman from Peoria, IL says she is doing this to learn more about what it is like to "be an outsider."

By Robert Moeller Published on March 10, 2015

Paul’s call to be “all things to all people” in I Corinthians has been taken up in an interesting way by a woman in Peoria, IL.

From BuzzFeed: “Jessey Eagan, a married Christian mother of two, has decided to wear a hijab for Lent in an attempt to remind herself ‘what it feels like to be an outsider.'”

Mrs. Eagan, who also serves as Children’s Director at her local church, went on to provide further context for her decision:

“See, we lived in Amman, Jordan about 7 years ago where we ended up teaching at an Islamic school,” she told BuzzFeed News. “While we were there we met many Muslims and built great personal friendships with them. And living in a culture where I stuck out like a sore thumb, I personally know what it can feel like to be an outsider, and I wanted to remind myself of that, so that I can better love all people, no matter what they look like.”

After consulting with a Muslim friend who encouraged her to follow through on the social/spiritual experiment, Eagan began wearing the hijab and blogging at her website about her experiences.

Here is her recent appearance on CNN:

On the surface, and without knowing Jessey Eagan personally, this sounds like a fine idea. We have to take her at her word so far as her true motivations are concerned. The cynic in me wants to assume she is angling for a national spotlight and book deal, but I suppose that says more about me than it does anyone else.

Symbolic gestures certainly have their place in society. The students who shave their heads because a classmate on the football team finds out he has cancer is a classic, heartwarming example.

But there are two basic “issues” I have with Eagan’s public actions. First, and with a national spotlight now on her, the only thing she has said about Christian persecution (and beheadings) in Muslim countries is the following, underwhelming, statement:

When people always ask me [about the situation in the Middle East] I tell them there are good and bad in all types of people, and hopefully one day all this will cease because I love going overseas.

I will let that comment stand on its own.

The second issue I take with Eagan’s social experiment is that she said in one interview that she was thinking about “darkening” her face so that she could get the full Muslim-in-America experience. She later retracted that bizarre statement, but if her initial intent was to show solidarity with the “outsiders” in our nation, I cannot imagine a worse idea for how to go about that than telling everyone you are going to apply something akin to blackface. Isn’t that the very type of condescending, “white privilege” mindset she claims to be shedding a light on?


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