Girls as payment in Afghanistan: When religion fails to act

Protestant denominations have a liturgy concerning the confession of sin, and it contains a line that goes something like this: “Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we have sinned against you and against each other, in thought and word and deed, in the evil we have done and the good we have not done…”

I was reminded of this when I read today’s NY Times article on the Afghan pracice of baad in which girls are used as payment for various offenses. The particular case study in the article concerns a girl who was kidnapped by a band of armed thugs unhappy about her uncle’s marital infidelity.

Importantly, the article notes that the practice of baad existed before the advent of Islam, and that “most religious scholars” deem the practice illegal under Islamic law.

But this got me to thinking: what sort of religion becomes widespread – indeed, becomes the dominant belief system – yet fails to stop such heinous practices as the delivery of girls into slavery and forced marriage? What good is a religion if it allows these sorts of things to continue over hundreds of years?

Some religious beliefs certainly can positively motivate their adherents, and sometimes do so quite strongly. For instance, there are many religious charities doing the hard work of compassion. But Islam, in particular, seems to have got it all wrong. It is passionate about subduing women. It wants to destroy apostates, and it reviles freedom of speech.

And if that’s just the message of a few fringe fundamentalist sects, then moderate Muslims need to be speaking louder. They need to show us what their religion is doing to affect positive social change.

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3 Responses to Girls as payment in Afghanistan: When religion fails to act

  1. I agree. The moderates must always speak up when the more zealous are going against the gist or point of a message.

    In another example, the Westboro fanatics need to be put into their places by Christians everywhere.

  2. L.Long says:

    And this activity is a surprise? Why?
    These people are still living in the middle ages and still follow a delusional religion which supports their culture. The sale/trade of girls has been going on since? Well forever. Study the history books and Anthropology 101. It is only when secular movements occur to make equality laws do the ‘religious’ step in and start pushing for it and taking the credit for ending a practice.

    As far as westboro is concerned they are at least honest about their religion unlike most moderate xtians that just make stuff up and ignore the parts they don’t like. Yes they are arseholes but no different then other xtians – just honest and open on what the buyBull really says….which also talks about trading in girls and treating them as property.

  3. LL Long, you are the typical anti-theist/atheist/non-believer I am accustomed to interacting with on various forums and sites in the past. I have found that I wasted many hours of my day attempting to get through to people with your point of view on the bible/Jesus/God/Christianity;

    I now very much regret “casting my pearls before swine…” and don’t intend to engage in this again in the future; nevertheless, you are more than entitled to your own opinion, as am I, and thank God that we are.

    Somehow, I think the two of us will survive having very little in common or the desire to find much if anything at all that we might share.. (chuckle)

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