Afghan prosecutors announced Wednesday that a young rape victim, jailed for adultery after reporting the crime and pushed into marrying her attacker, would have her sentence reduced from twelve to three years. The prosecutor said she would, for now, remain in jail — with her child — for not reporting her attack fast enough.
When religious sexism exists in a society where religion is as government, we have a woman being raped, forced to marry her rapist and then jailed for failure to quickly report a crime for which she will be blamed and punished.
This woman was raped by a man then victimized by her culture and legal authorities.
But because she’s been raised to beleive the unmitigated and appalling nonsense of a religion that asserts women as lesser than men, she has no expectation of corrective action or any kind of justice or protection.
She is blamed for being a temptress, for igniting passion – except that we know rape has nothing to do with passion and everything to do with power – for basically being a woman.
And while Sandra Posey’s country ballad may be a laugh on girl’s night out:
Women do not have to accept this lesser state.
Especially not in democratic secular nations where equality is the law of the land.
Which is why American was founded on the idea of the individual being the social unit of consequence and not families or tribes or religious groups.
The promise of Life Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness was to be able to be in charge of your own life, and able to take liberties with whatever makes you happy as an individual.
America was not founded upon any religious ideals and every social fight to establish in fact what was already established in law – equality – has been a battle against religious thinking.
There is no reason for any person, because of their gender, ethnicity, beliefs, capabilities or sexuality to be lesser than in a society that promises everyone equality under the law.
What causes that inequality to exist in a culture is the religious beliefs of the population, because religion is a system to organize the world according to the beliefs of the religion – that women are lesser than, children should be seen and not heard and no sparing the rod for fear of spoiling the child.
It is the religious idea that one group is better than other groups, and the battle for best of all groups is the substance of inter-religious fighting and violence; and when that can’t be expressed, it becomes social discrimination and bigotry.
It is a religious idea that we shouldn’t have sex – one thing that we can do that makes us feel loved and connected to another person and by extension, to society.
If a religion can convince you that having sex that makes you feel loved and cherished is wrong, evil even, then they can convince you of anything. Even dying a virginal martyr.
If we are ever going to fulfill our highest potential, we have to put away such harmful and limiting ideas as religion.
As a society, we’ve become so disconnected from each other, living in terror and fear that others will bring harm to us or ours. Depriving ourselves or allowing ourselves to be deprived of human intimacy, love, warmth and diversity.
The only meaningful difference between a cult and a religion is the degree of personal freedom you have combined with how much contact you have with non-members. If your whole world is homogenous, you have a cult problem.
If religion is something that’s a matter of private consideration and your life is conducted within the mainstream context of your society, then you have a religious challenge to ensure education and exposure with the broader world than your geography physically allows and that there are no barriers within your brain to being competent with secular information and concepts, such as equality of people being given as a matter of citizenship, not by accident of birth or life circumstances.
Life is hard enough without making it harder than it has to be for ourselves and others.
Sometime today, the BC Supreme Court will be handing down a ruling on the community of Bountiful – Canada’s least kept secret polygamy community.
There are many arguments that can be made for polygamy, but not as it is practised religiously. There is no possible equality when girls are assigned to grandpa-husbands and boys are cast out from the community, doomed in life because they haven’t been educated and prepared to live in the world outside their closed community, and doomed in their minds as being cast out and failing to secure at least three wives means no heaven.
It’s little wonder that these lost boys become truly lost and that the girls live under the stay sweet command of passivity.
There can be no secular democratic society of legal and in fact equality when so many people are cultural shut ins in communities that are varying degrees of closed to outside and non-religious information and influences.
We do not own our children, they are their own people. It is the responsibility of parents to prepare their children to exist in the world – which is a very big place, full of many cultures and storied histories.
It is absolute child abuse to raise your child ignorant of the world. It is an impairment to their development to have them exist in a bubble reality that is homogenous and non-reality driven.
Children learn about the world in stages, first their homelife, then their peers – and how their homlife compares to other homelifes in the same society, We become exposed to more the older we become.
But children who are only exposed to one mode of thinking and being, are mentally hobbled when it comes to understanding and navigating the larger world. A world that is increasingly smaller with every technological advance.
We’re a plane ride away from anywhere and mere clicks away from other people in other countries.
In some ways, Canada is uniquely positioned to be a guide for America.
Being your northern neighbour, we are the mouse that roared. We look like you, we act in similar ways, but our mindset is different. We’re go alongers, mediators, facilitatores, peace keepers.
We have no illusion about our place in the world or our ability to punch above our weight class. We understand history and are able to make moral distinctions with the big picture nuanced and measured responses.
You might notice that we don’t always follow America to war, but we invariably join in on peace making and keeping missions. We understand from our British background that if you’re going in to occupy with a peace keeping force, you’re in for generations of effort, not a quick thrust to make someone fall and then head for home before the dust has settled.
So, this is a battle for generations – and we know that every generation thinks that they were the inventors of sex, drugs and rock n roll.
Masturbation is a victimless “sin” and it’s the starting place to understand that your body belongs to you, not some sky daddy who doesn’t want you to touch yourself.
You can’t know you without touching yourself, don’t let anyone’s god separate you from you. Don’t let anyone control when or with whom or with what toys you have sex. Don’t give way your control of you, because you can never be equal with anyone who controls you in fact or in law or in life.