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Christianity, current events, Religion

Christians and Muslims: Are They So Different?

Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN) — Hena Akhter’s last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl.

Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh’s Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public.

Hena dropped after 70.

Bloodied and bruised, she was taken to hospital, where she died a week later.  (LINK)

It’s pretty awful, isn’t it?  Technically, Sharia Law is illegal in Bangladesh.  But it is practiced, and the population is colluding to keep it.  In Hena’s case, she didn’t have an affair with a married man.  She was raped by one.  She was then killed in front of the whole village.  Her death certificate listed her passing as suicide.

I worry sometimes that we’re desensitized to such stories.  They’re awful and horrible, but they’re far removed from our own life.  We feel sympathy but there’s really not anything we can do, and after all… it’s just so far away.  But it’s not really so far away, is it?

“The refrain that child rape is a reality in the Church is twice wrong: let’s get it straight – they weren’t children and they weren’t raped.” — Bill Donohoe

These aren’t the words of a Third World dictator or Imam or witch doctor.  This is what the Catholic League President has to say about the systemic sexual abuse of children worldwide perpetuated and covered up by the Pope and his First World Cronies.

The message is crystal clear.  The abuse victims in the Catholic Scandal were just as guilty as Hena.  They had adult affairs with priests, and they are the ones responsible for the corruption of otherwise godly men.  Just like Hena was responsible for being raped by a married man.

She deserved her punishment, and the altar boys deserve theirs.  Lucky for them, they’ll probably receive the bulk of their retribution in the form of eternal flames licking at their sin-infested anuses.  That’s what God does to punish boys raped by priests, or so I am led to believe.

The Boston Globe correctly said of the John Jay report that “more than three-quarters of the victims were post pubescent, meaning the abuse did not meet the clinical definition of pedophilia.” In other words, the issue is homosexuality, not pedophilia. (LINK)

You read it right.  If a priest has anal sex with an adolescent, it’s not raping a child.  It’s a homosexual sin.  And it’s the kid’s fault.  Because they weren’t raped.

It’s not just the Catholic Church promoting this agenda.  State Rep. Bobby Franklin (R-Marietta) introduced a bill mandating that victims of rape be re-classified as “accusers.”  It’s a clear attempt to reframe an already under-reported crime and paint the victims as aggressors.  For virtually every other offense, the term victim is perfectly acceptable.  Even without a suspect, we say someone was a victim of robbery, homicide, or terrorism.  But we’re going to change the language of rape to protect men and further victimize women.

In various states across America, there have been over 800 bills introduced with the purpose of restricting or eliminating women’s rights to abortions.  Is that so different from the implementation of Sharia Law?  Is it not a religious mandate being forced on the population, regardless of their personal beliefs or preferences?

Are we content in our superiority because the thousands of victims of priestly abuse haven’t been lashed to death for their crimes?  Have we forgotten the decades when our own women turned up dead from back-alley abortions?  I’m afraid I can’t see much of a difference between us and them.  Between our thug-like enforcement of anti-choice policies worldwide and the Republitheocrats’ undermining of women’s rights, I think we have no moral high ground.  We are perpetuating at least as much violence and abuse against women worldwide.  In the name of Jesus.

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Discussion

6 thoughts on “Christians and Muslims: Are They So Different?

  1. “The differences between the Abrahamic religions pale before their similarities.” – Carl Sagan

    Posted by Pete Soderman | April 18, 2011, 6:51 pm
  2. Thanks, Pete.

    I recently re-watched Cosmos. It is still an amazing series, even though we’ve learned so much since it was made. Sagan has to be counted among the greatest thinkers ever.

    Posted by hambydammit | April 18, 2011, 6:56 pm
  3. What do you make of the fact that some of the worst violations of reproductive rights in modern times took place not in a God-bothering right-wing theocracy but in a left-wing officially (even if not militantly, at least compared to the former USSR) atheistic state: Communist Romania? Not only abortion but contraception prohibited, taxes on couples without children… I guess if I had lived there I would have had to kiss my one-child-by-choice lifestyle good-bye.

    Don’t get me wrong: I don’t like God-bothering theocracies either. But to say that they’re the only source of women’s oppression isn’t the whole story by any means.

    Posted by Emilia | April 19, 2011, 9:36 pm
  4. Emilia: Thanks for the comment and question.

    I haven’t said that religions or theocracies are the only source of women’s oppression, and wouldn’t say such a thing. That’s daft. But it’s also not a defense for the things done by theocracies.

    To answer your question, communism — especially as espoused by the Soviet Bloc — was as much a religion as Christianity in some very important ways. The “ultimate authority” was unquestioned and unquestionable. The tenets were pretty much faith based. (They were certainly not grounded on scientific reality.) Blind obedience was required.

    I wouldn’t go so far as to call communism a religion. That’s subverting the common usage of the word. But if you’ve read much of my blog, you know that FAITH is the demon behind religious ills. It’s also the demon behind communist ills and Nazi ills. When we blindly follow a leader, or an ideology, or an invisible friend, and ignore evidence that we’re in the wrong, very bad things happen.

    Posted by hambydammit | April 20, 2011, 3:26 pm
  5. Oh no, I’m by no means defending theocracies (ex. Ireland up to the 1970s, when there was a battle to permit contraceptives even for married couples). However, perhaps the focus on theocracies as the ONLY source of women’s oppression can divert attention from other repressive regimes, such as Communist Romania. Also, the term ‘theocracy’ is sometimes tossed around too casually. For example, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been accused of being a hardcore pro-lifer determined to keep women barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. In reality, though, Harper has refused to re-criminalize abortion and even voted against a bill that would have made it a crime to ‘coerce’ a woman to have an abortion (a very vaguely defined bill introduced, I’m sure, to try to criminalize all abortions).

    I think it’s a human tendency to look to a leader, whether a religious leader, political leader, etcetera, or to an ideology for guidance. For some people, belonging to a group gives them a sense of purpose in their lives. So they tend to treat that leader as a god, or representative of a god, on earth. For instance, in the 1960s there was a book called The Population Bomb that predicted that the US life expectancy would plummet, that the Great Lakes would disappear, etcetera. Few of these predictions occurred, but I think people considered the book literally infallible, so they just “postponed” the tragedy (just like the Jehovah Witnesses keep postponing Armageddon). So I agree that even non-‘religious’ideologies can end up having the very same effect as religious doctrines.

    Posted by Emilia | April 21, 2011, 12:51 am
  6. Thanks, Emilia.

    I think you’re pretty much spot on with most of what you said. The only thing I would say is that I seem to spend the lion’s share of my time arguing that religious governments are a problem in the first place. Many people are quick to defend them or the religion, as exemplified by the delegates at the recent Jimmy Carter Center conference.

    So I don’t think there’s a problem of focusing solely on religious governments. I think there isn’t enough focus on them. (Of course, I’m advocating focusing on the religion/ideology itself, and that’s pretty controversial.)

    Also, I’m not really too concerned with whether a government is “technically” a theocracy. I often refer to America as one, and technically it’s not. The thing is, Christians and Christianity have insinuated themselves into the government so much that there are laws on the books with specifically Christian inspiration.

    Is that a theocracy? No… but it’s having essentially the same effect. Particularly with regard to marriage and women’s rights.

    Posted by hambydammit | April 21, 2011, 7:21 pm

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