If you have a body piercing (ears, belly button, nose, lip, elsewhere), a decorative tattoo or scar — yes, scars can be decorative — or have had some type of non-medical-related surgery purposefully intended to change the way your body looks away from what it considered a traditional appearance, then you’ve participated in body modification.
There are all sorts of body mod websites out there, some of which – like BME.COM – we’ve talked about previously on Web Watch.
Here’s a new one for you: where do you turn when body modifications are a religious experience?
Why, the CHURCH OF BODY MODIFICATION, of course.
The Church is for those who believe that piercings and other mods are essential to enhancing/increasing one’s spirituality.
When a student in North Carolina was suspended for having a nose stud, she and her mother stated that they were members of the CBM and that the piercing was part of their religious beliefs. A federal judge agreed, and ordered the school to re-admit the student to class.
Reading the FAQ on the CBM’s website, we see the following:
Will becoming a member in the Church of Body Modification save me from being fired from my job for visual modification?
This is a complicated question. In essence, no, simply being a member of the Church of Body Modification will not keep you from being fired due to your body modifications. The question is complicated because you may have a case for a Constitutional right violation if you were fired because of your religious affiliation. First Amendment violations are complicated and we recommend you seek legal counsel. Although we may be able to help mediate your situation, all legal matters should pass through the office of a qualified attorney. If you are in conflict with your employer over your modifications, advise your employer of your spirituality and your religious affiliation. In the course of your discussion, please make every effort to come to some sort of compromise WITHOUT compromising your personal beliefs and spirituality. If possible, give your human resources department written notice of your religious affiliations before an issue arises. The President, Board Members, and Ministers are more than happy to make contact with your employer and help explain the spiritual side of body modification, if needed. Additionally, if your employer requires written proof of your membership in the Church, a letter can be sent to your employer on your behalf.
The Church is correct – being a member of the Church, in an of itself, shouldn’t get you fired from your job. But let’s be honest here: there are some jobs where extreme cases of body modifications are not appropriate or accepted by the general public, and could lead to that business losing money regardless of the employee’s religious affiliation.
What do you think? Is this world ready to accept people for who they are rather than solely on what outward appearance they provide at first glance? Or is there still prejudice on one’s looks where an organization like CBM needs to exist for reasons beyond the spiritual?
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