Archives for posts with tag: religion

It is common to see an article related to women’s rights, or a lack there of, in the news and rss feeds today; so-called “honor” killings, female genital mutilation, sex trafficking, and child marriage are all common place in regions such as the Middle East, Africa, Southern Asia and Eastern Europe. Some of these horrible crimes are also prevalent within Central and South America along with the heinous crime of rape, incest and child molestation. Often such crimes are kept quiet or swept under the family rug.

Even in developed nations there are individuals and groups of people that still adhere to such “traditions” as if their beliefs gave them rights over the law. It is pitiful to see such prevalence of abuse of women and girls and the detrimental effect it has on entire societies and nations. Time and again a key factor in the advancement of a nation or its people depends so much on the status of women and girls within that society. Or one could say that a key indicator of an advancing nation or an advanced nation is the status of women and girls within it.

But within states where the subjugation of women is written into law as it is practiced, how often do we make an excuse such as that it is their “culture” or “religion” or “tradition” or simply “their country”? Is it really the choice of the women and girls involved in such practices? The answer is a resounding NO. There are so many movements and so many causes that we do not give direct support to, that fight for the emancipation and equal rights of the female sex within these cultures and societies. Only recently has there been a focus on law enforcement against sex trafficking and a much needed increase in funding to fight the traffickers in some parts of the world. Thanks to heroes, such as Siddharth Kara whose efforts to expose the prevalence and weaknesses of the sex trafficking business, I believe, have been vital to combating it.

What about the “honor” killings, the lack of education, and child marriage when it comes to young girls? Why would we support nations that make allowances for, or barely prosecute men who would kill or imprison a woman for the “crime” of being gang raped? I believe that we, the citizens of the developed world, have as much an obligation to promote and fight for the freedom of all women, not just all men.

This is one of the reasons I served in the military, and fought in Afghanistan; the freedom of women throughout the region and the world should be considered as noble a cause for intervention as the freedom of ethnicities and tribes from the oppression of a regime. If we have stood idly by as millions of women have been brutalized in the name of culture or religion and yet supported small militant groups of the marginalized minorities in the name of freedom, then I am ashamed.

So often I look at what we have sacrificed for so many years and yet the same horrible abuses of women and girls goes on. Many of these abuses or even a secondary status for women are written into the laws even of the very countries that we went to free from “oppression.” We cannot allow ourselves the excuse that it is their culture any more than abolitionists of mid 19th century America could make the excuse that it was the culture of the plantation owners to keep slaves.

It has been shown time and again that for a country, a society or a people to advance, women and girls must be given equal status, control over their bodies, access to education, and must be protected under the law from the abuses of men and the “cultures” that would enslave them.

-Mike

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Paraphrasing:
“If your reason for avoiding evil is a fear of a god’s wrath or your reason for being good is to please him to earn some reward than neither of those are noble reasons at all.”

To further elaborate:
Even if you believe in a god, it seems to me a very shallow set of morals if you cannot see any reason to avoid hurting others or doing good without that god’s express command…
Perhaps one should consider how one would act without religious guidance or belief in order to measure their level of ethics, and I think most would find that much of what they hold to be good or worth doing is, to some degree, innate in their character.
There are as many natural explanations for ethical behavior as supernatural. And I perceive that it is better to have or develop some standard of ethical behavior that you would adhere to without supernatural beliefs, should the time come that your belief system no longer holds any relevance to you…

Welcome to The Thinking Activist!

I am just a guy, with a handful of passions. There are a few things that I believe are fundamental issues to our nature, our civility and our humanity. Our progress and survival as a species and our development as a civilization hinges on the positive changes we make now; we must learn to look ahead, to consider the impact we have both within our lifetime and for centuries to come.

In this blog we can explore a variety of concerns and consider the best solutions – it is worth nothing to discuss an issue without also considering realistic AND compassionate solutions. It is my intent to share information and be an advocate for positive progress and I welcome any new information that might change our view on any subject.

I believe in being principled but I do not believe in absolutes. No one can lay claim to an ultimate truth but we can always improve ourselves, the lives of others and the world around us.

Mike