By Audra Ragland
See that woman in the photo to the right?
That’s me, Audra Ragland, wearing one of my many head coverings. As a Christian, I’ve come to believe that Scripture requires me to cover my head in public to show my submission to, and reverence for, God. I wear my head covering everywhere.
Needless to say, I was astonished when the officer told me that my religious practice was not recognized. While not as common in the United States, many Christian women around the world cover their heads for religious reasons. I find my inspiration in 1 Corinthians 11 where Paul speaks of the importance of a woman covering her head. I offered to get my Bible and show the officer the basis for my belief, but he was adamant: I could only wear my headscarf into the visiting area if I were Jewish or Muslim.
I felt devastated and torn. I had traveled nearly 150 miles to visit my brother, but I was worried that God would take the removal of my head covering as a sign of disobedience. Knowing that it would be months before I would see my brother again, and knowing my decision to uncover or not would affect not only my visit but other family members with me as well, I ultimately felt like I had no choice but to remove my headscarf.