I like this picture of soldiers attending Orthodox worship or perhaps attending confession. (The royal doors appear to be closed.) It is unclear whether this is in the USA or another country, though I am betting on another country. The camo gear does not appear to be of USA BDU patterns. As well, what appears to be a blue beret is on the right shoulder of the last woman in line. That would make her a UN peacekeeper (or a member of the Bulgarian Special Forces) which would most certainly not be in the USA.
There are similar photographs of this type showing USA women soldiers attending Orthodox worship in the military. But, I bring this up to comment that the Orthodox of the mother countries do not seem to have a problem with there being exceptions to the normally understood ways to dress respectfully for church.
But, in the USA, sometimes women soldiers, women nurses, and other female workers who have to wear uniforms, scrubs, etc., as part of their work requirement have received flak for attending church in anything but a skirt. It is interesting to note that the photograph above comes from a website called Hyperdox Herman, which regularly points out the inconsistencies and more-than-orthodox stances of many converts.
Therefore, I was flabbergasted to read women posting on this known satirical website and arguing seriously that the women soldiers above were wrong and that they should have come up with camo wraparound skirts that they could wear over their pants so as to at least indicate their intention to dress “correctly.” On that same posting, you can read a woman nurse saying that she received flak from her church on those Sundays in which she got off at the end of third shift and hurried over to the church for Divine Liturgy. She was told that she should have brought some extra clothes with her and changed either at work or at the church.
I could go on, but you get the idea. In all these cases I cited, the priests were not the ones trying to force the women into difficulties and refusing to be accepting in these special cases. Rather, in every case, it was overzealous—and frankly, undertrained—lay people who were judging women who had very good reasons for the fact they were wearing pants.
This type of behavior is a classic example that can easily lead to a couple of possible conclusions. One is that converts—of whom I am one—need to be told to stay silent until they have been Orthodox several years. This is for the sake of their humility and for the peace of the Church. The other conclusion is that this type of behavior gives reason to the idea that laypeople need to admit that they are just that, laypeople with often insufficient understanding. The Protestant argument of every man with his Bible, with his unassailable opinions, with his views on Church discipline, with his views on Church oversight, etc., etc., more often ends up with the misbehaviors listed above than ending up with a new Reformation.
Next time you see someone in Church dressed in what you consider to be inappropriate wear, look to the priest. Either he will privately speak with that person, or he will not. Either way, be silent for the sake of your growth in holiness. Silence is indeed golden in these type of circumstances.