There has been a lot of hype, both on social media and in mainstream media, about the First Lady of the United States Melania Trump not wearing a veil during her visit in Saudia Arabia with officials, but the next day she veiled in the presence of Pope Francis at the Vatican.
Well, the simple response is the hype is for nothing and is useless. First of all, she’s not the only one to do that. First Lady Michelle Obama veiled in front of the Pope at the Vatican yet she didn’t wear a veil during their visit in Saudia Arabia.
The easiest explanation is that it is a requirement for women to veil when they have an audience with the Pope. So, Melania Trump was simply following the Vatican requirements for the meeting with the Pope.
On the other hand, it is not a requirement for women to veil in Saudia Arabia and she chose not to do so. She could have easily veiled according to the Islamic faith and custom, and would have probably gotten the same hype in a different way from the media, but she didn’t.
However, let’s remember there is a more significant thing about this and whether you like the Trumps or not, Christians – especially Catholics – should be applauding her decision. Here’s why.
The reason Islamic women veil and Catholic women choose to veil are very different.
- Islamic women wear a veil, called a hijab, because they believe God has instructed them to do so. According to Quran 33:59, “O Prophet, tell your wives and daughters and the believing women to draw their outer garments around them (when they go out or are among men).That is better in order that they may be known (to be Muslims) and not annoyed.” For a Muslim woman, wearing a hijab is a sign of obedience and submission to Allah. But, according to the reasons the Quran says Allah told them to veil is in order for others to know they are Muslims. Now, I ask you, why would you want the First Lady of the United States to veil in a Muslim country when the women do it as a sign of their obedience and submissiveness to Allah (not the God of the Bible) and that they are Muslim.
- Catholic women (for those who choose to veil) wear a mantilla, also called a veil, during Mass and while in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. In other words, they veil when they are in the presence of Jesus Christ. Now, Melania wore a black veil (also required) in the presence of Pope Francis and that’s because traditionally women who were married or widowed wore black mantillas (veils) and those who were single or young girls wore white.
Let’s remember there have been dignitaries such as Hillary Clinton, Princess Diana of Wales, Princess Charlene of Manaco, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Rania of Jordan and the Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg to all visit the Pope and they all veiled during the visit. Melania also visited the Sistine Chapel, therefore being in the presence of Jesus because of the Blessed Sacrament being in the Tabernacle in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. Now, let’s remember Melania and Ivanka both had a choice to not attend the visit and wait for the Pope to come to the White House – where they would not be required to veil – but they chose to attend and comply with the protocol. However, Melania makes a huge statement not by simply complying, but she brought a rosary with her and asked the Holy Father to bless the rosary. Her Catholic faith was shown is a quiet, but loud way. She believed in the Church and its teaching. Therefore, expressing she believed in Jesus Christ.
She didn’t veil in Saudia Arabia – although she could have – because it would have been against her faith and against God. Veiling in Islamic countries is more than ‘being respectful’. It’s showing you are obedient to the God of Islam and that’s not something we as Americans should want our First Lady to ever do.
Rather than judging, condemning, attacking or mocking the President or the First Lady, why not trying to pray for them? After all…isn’t that what God asks us to do is to love others and pray for them?