A strategy of incrementation is the most deadly of all methodologies to bring about an unsuspecting pre-determined outcome, and more so, in many situations, incremental initiatives can bring about unexpected negative changes requiring measures that were never intended. By then, it is often, to late.
I have previously written about the dangers of incremental changes that can occur in Christian ministry and missions. http://au.christiantoday.com/article/incremental-changes-need-to-be-watched/7365.htm There is no greater challenge to righteous outcomes than incremental changes, each one seemingly iniquitous by itself, but there comes a time when one looks back and finds that the landscape has been completely altered.
This it seems is the alarm in Turkey. This recent Sydney Morning Herald article states that Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyin Erdogan's Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party, in power for over a decade, is often accused of creeping efforts to coerce the country to be more conservative and pious.
When Turkish Airlines banned air hostesses from wearing brightly-coloured lipsticks such as red or pink, it sparked fierce debate as the government is accused of trying to Islamise the country step by step.
One upshot of all this was that numerous women posted pictures of themselves wearing bright red lipstick on social media websites to protest at the measure, part of a new aesthetics code for stewardesses working for Turkey's main airline.
The article stated that the lipstick ban is the latest in a string of conservative measures adopted by the airline, which have sparked the ire of fiercely secular Turks. "This measure is an act of perversion. How else could you describe it?" said Gursel Tekin, vice-president of the main opposition party CHP. Moreover the Turkish tourism minister has joined the chorus of complaints by saying that the Turkish national flag is red as is colour of Turkish Airlines which made the decision something of a laughing stock of Europe.
Turkey's flag is red as is its airline livery
In an embarrassing attempt to down play the new directive to air hostesses a spokesperson for Turkish Airlines defended the ban, saying in a statement Tuesday that "simple make-up, immaculate and in pastel colours, is preferred for staff working in the service sector."
Spin is spin whatever the colour of lipstick and it hasn't washed, Turkey is a fiercely secular state, despite being a majority Muslim country. Under Erdogan's rule headscarves, banned in public institutions, have become more visible in public places and alcohol bans are more widespread including now, internal flights on Turkish Airlines.
Turkish Airlines tried on the idea of a far more conservative uniform but that was not introduced – that proved to be a step too far even for the conservatives – it may be created unintentional consequences involving community outrage. The outrage is already all over Turkish social media. The horse had already bolted.
Many Australians have likewise been concerned that different laws and being applied for different people groups however the High Court recently squashed such incremental thinking. The March 2013 Q&A program which included Roman Kogan the young IT entrepreneur from Russian family roots, made this same point, one rule for all.
It was also bought to mind a recent Christian Today article that challenged racism in Australia as presented by a Muslim Australian commentator. (au.christiantoday.com)
Turkey is something of a test case as to how a thoroughly modern secular state with a vast majority of Muslims maintains its secularism and doesn't sink into an Islamised mire of quick sand by such incrementalisation, the most dangerous of all change initiatives.
Recent turbulence illustrates such tensions. (www.news.com.au)
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html