Fallen People? Really?

Recently, during the Christmas time I started to wonder about the story of Propher Isa (a.s.) as in Christianity Christmas is His birthday. But is everything as rosy and golden, lit with holy starlight that it is portrayed to be?

Fast forward to Easter, several tens of years later when Jesus was crucified, and we get to the part of the story that I started to think whilst we were driving long distance from Córdoba to Málaga. It is the story of Maria Magdalena, who has been dubbed the fallen woman. I’ve always seen her as a sort of opposing mirror image of Mother Mary, but the older I got, the less it made sense. Why?

Because it is said in the Bible, the holiest book of the Christians, that Mother Mary and Maria Magdalena were friends, she was there for Mary when Jesus was dying on the cross. She was a devout follower of Jesus, and He never shunned her. According to legends, Maria Magdalena had a seat on the Last Supper – and to take it further, some say she was the wife of Jesus or at least took the holy grail to hiding after His death.

But if you only believe what is in the Bible, she was considered a friend by both Jesus and his mother, so why is she and her profession so vilified by the church? Even though one of the disciples, Peter, disliked her as she was the closest to Jesus, the vilification started much later on when the first Council Of Nicaea decided what would be in the Bible and at the same time decided that men should lead the Church.

So, Let’s Play Along…

It is said that prostitution is the oldest career in the world, and at least in the modern world, but if it truly is so, are all the women and men forced to prostitution because of bad turns in life? This is definitely the picture that has been portrayed since the Biblical times. Maria Magdalena was a heavy sinner, being prostitute, and was saved by Jesus and his message. In Les Miserables, Fantine’s misfortunes force her to be a prostitute and sell her hair, and in the end, she dies. Today’s attention on prostitution is mostly in the modern slave trade, the human trafficking.

But… could there be people who actually want to work as prostitutes? Or are all of those people still the result of unfortunate decisions and situations, and can never have hope for the better? Or are they in this occupation and line of work because they… want to do it? Certainly, downturns of the economy have forced more and more women into the streets, but that can not be the whole truth?

Several years ago, when the Covid started and Spain went on a complete lockdown, a friend of mine confessed to me that he had a hard time as all of his social contacts were suddenly put on hold, and also as a man living alone, he missed the touch of a woman. And he wasn’t afraid to admit that he regularly went for prostitutes. This is often the other side of the story that we tend to miss. The need for closeness that we can not get from anywhere else, even if it is just for a moment. And if we stigmatise prostitution as a whole, what happens to the buyers? Are they as bad as the seller, or is there some moral loophole that paints them as saviours of the poor people? And I don’t want to vilify anyone in this case! I want to make everyone think that there are always two sides to one story.

But I might be quite alone in this battle, as in Les Miserables and many other theatrical and movie examples, the whole thing gives us a simplified and gruesome flash – wham, bam, thank you ma’am and coins are tossed to ground where the fallen woman has to pick them up with no dignity. And if this is the picture we want to paint through media in 2023, I can not go about and change it. Can I?

Things That Can Be Changed…

Let’s go back to Maria Magdalene. She is said to be a prostitute, and if I remember right, she quit her job to become a devout follower of Jesus. Some of you might say that “See, that’s redemption right there!” But is it really? Did she quit because she suddenly saw the light and decided to be good, or did she quit because she found something better, something more worth her time? Many of us modern people change jobs because we want something more. And maybe Maria Magdalene found something better than her current job as well.

My point in the whole of all of this is that we should not judge. Instead, like I said before, we should strive to see both sides of the story and make up our own minds after that. Of course, if we come across something evil and vile, like human trafficking, we should fight against it and help the victims. But if we know people who are in the trade by their own free will, we should not question them. We should be more like Mother Mariam and Prophet Isa (a.s.) and welcome them to our presence with open arms and warm hearts, as friendship and family is one of the greatest gifts people can ever give to other people, regardless of their backgrounds, skin colour, creed, or, indeed, occupation.

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