The Backwards World of Religion03.31.09
(Massoud Hossaini / AFP – Getty Images)
I would like to attribute something this grossly offensive and obviously a clear-cut attack on human rights to the sub-sect of fundamentalist radicals within the Muslim community. But, when Hamid Karzai, the U.S.-backed, elected president of Afghanistan, a country that we invaded and “liberated,” forces legislation through that legalizes rape, I really can’t blame the fringe.
In a massive blow for women’s rights, the new Shia Family Law negates the need for sexual consent between married couples, tacitly approves child marriage and restricts a woman’s right to leave the home, according to UN papers seen by The Independent.
Yes, legalized rape. See, when it’s between a husband and a wife, the wife relinquishes her ability to say no. In Afghanistan, at least.
I’m beyond tired of hearing about all of these so-called “family” laws that claim to protect any aspect of the nuclear family unit, which, according to certain religions, is THE only way to have a family. We have plenty of these types of laws in America, too, so Afghanistan is not unique by any stretch. Ours come in the form of DOMA and numerous generically titled groups and lobbyists. I’m not saying that DOMA is equivalent to this Shia Family Law by any stretch. But that’s not to say that DOMA doesn’t egregiously discriminate and deny rights to a specific group of people based on religious rhetoric. The SFL goes even further to condone sexual abuse, which is too appalling to even capture in words.
This is a sad reminder of how far humanity still has to come as a species. It makes me glad that here in America we have knocked over some of these boundaries that seem so archaic to us now yet still exist in many other places in the world. But, at the same time, it also reminds me of how much work we still need to do here in the West. I hate having to always bring up that less than 90 years ago women didn’t have the right to vote. People of different ethnicities and races couldn’t vote less than 50 years ago. We needed a full-blown civil war in order to stop the practice of people owning people. Equality takes time and an immense amount of effort. We can’t go into a different culture and just impose our way of life onto them and assume that it will just stick. We need to continue to progress, better ourselves, and encourage widespread education.
The time for governing our lives based on ancient texts is over. It’s time for the Next Renaissance.