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God's Politics


‘Child Brides: Stolen Lives’ on NOW Tonight (by Julie Polter)

posted by God's Politics

Mamta, a winsome, wide-eyed girl of 12 moves through her daily chores in a poor household in India. Although still a child, her life has little play, and she will too soon be bearing the full responsibilities and burdens of an adult woman: Mamta was married at the age of 7. At puberty she will quit school and move to the house of her husband, who she’s had no contact with since her wedding night five years ago.


You can meet Mamta in a special hour-long broadcast tonight of the PBS weekly newsmagazine NOW. In Child Brides: Stolen Lives, NOW senior correspondent Maria Hinojosa takes viewers to Guatemala, India, and Niger to explore stories of early marriages and to show how people are campaigning to end child marriage in many of these communities – sometimes at the risk of their own lives.

On a trip to Ethiopia last year, I saw firsthand the devastating ripple effects of child marriage on individuals and on an impoverished country. Millions of girls around the world are forced into marriages long before they are grown. They are usually deprived of schooling, virtually powerless when the husband or his family is abusive, at high risk for HIV/AIDS infection from their older, sexually experienced husbands, and face disability or death for themselves and their babies when they become pregnant before their bodies are ready.

The NOW broadcast is a great opportunity to learn more about child marriage and why it’s so important to stand up on behalf of these children and support community-based efforts to end this practice. Child marriage legislation is currently before the U.S. Congress – to learn more, visit the International Center for Research on Women Web site.

Julie Polter is an associate editor of Sojourners.



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Eric

posted October 12, 2007 at 7:50 pm


Julie – Thank you for bringing this to our attention. This is something not normally focused in the sphere of human rights issues and it’s important!



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Moderatelad

posted October 12, 2007 at 9:56 pm


Someone has challenged me as I have not commented about this article and been critical of other articles. Not sure what to say about this one. It was good reading but was more like a PSA for this program that will air on PBS.
To be truthful – I find the topic to be shameful and knowing that little girls are deprived of their childhood because of what we would call ‘pediofiles’ in this country is WRONG.
I actually had the stones to say this back in my college days at the U of MN in a large group class of 80+ students studing cultures around the world. The professor called me a bigot and a racist and that my ‘white christian beliefs’ were the cause of most of the 3rd worlds problems. So – I change my retoric and wrote my papers, entered into discussion sometimes and Aced the course.
Then I wrote a letter to him, cc the dept chair and told him that if he would reverse all that I had said and written he would have a better idea of who I was. I also congratulated him and winning a seat in the state legislature for the Dem Party from his area. (I never did ‘cc’ the dept chair – just thought it would have been fun to see his face when he read what I had to say and think that his boss saw the samething)
SO you see – this is why I thank Mondale – Humphery – Anderson and the DFL in MN for making me the conservative I am today.
Blessings –
.



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Deryll

posted October 13, 2007 at 7:11 am


[SO you see - this is why I thank Mondale - Humphery - Anderson and the DFL in MN for making me the conservative I am today.]
lad
No, I don’t see and how is it wrong to know what is happening to these little girls?
I am thankful for PBS and Ms Polter for helping us know. I believe it shameful and wrong to not want to know about and work for the end of child marriage.



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MJCIV

posted October 13, 2007 at 12:27 pm


It becomes a question of cultural norms vs. universal human rights. Are there such things as universal human rights, or it the whole concept simply an example of Western cultural imperialism (as has been charged by many in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa)?
In my mind, forcing 12 year old girls into lives of servitude and pregnancy is wrong: period. Color me an Western imperialist…or perhaps Western civilization–for all its warts, wrinkles, shadows, and failures–has grasped something about the human condition that other cultures have not.
To paraphrase Winston Churchill, the only thing worse than Western civilization is all the alternatives.



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squeaky

posted October 13, 2007 at 12:29 pm


Awwww, Moderatelad,
Here’s an article you actually agree with and are concerned about, and you still couldn’t resist getting in a jab or two at liberals! Sigh…
In contrast to what you said about your class–if I had taught that class, I would have had several class debates on that topic, and your voice would have been heard, not stifled. That issue of morality and cultural traditions is an important issue, and a difficult one, and too bad your prof didn’t explore it. Furthermore, a friend of mine who lives in Montreal and who is as liberal as they come, is really conflicted by how the Hacedic Jewish women in her neighborhood basically have no rights and are not allowed to explore who they really are as people. they are bound by tradition (such traditions are almost always far more stifling for women than for men). We discussed this briefly, and although she honors the tradition of other cultures and revels in the multitude of cultures she interacts with in her city, she finds it very difficult to honor those traditions that are stifling and abusive.
As for the child brides–it isn’t just in other nations where this is a problem. Until I read it, I thought the article would be about the Mormon cults in Utah and Arizona that force their teenage girls into marriages with older men, sometimes men in their 40’s and 50’s. This is their religious freedom, they will argue. Freedom to rape young girls is not a freedom that is defensible by freedom of religion.



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kevin s.

posted October 13, 2007 at 2:00 pm


“Here’s an article you actually agree with and are concerned about, and you still couldn’t resist getting in a jab or two at liberals! Sigh…”
And you begin with a jab at Moderatelad.
Paul speaks boldly about the marriage bed as a place of mutual satisfaction. Any time it is not treated as such (abuse, rape, child marriage etc…), we can easily sense that God does not approve.
I don’t see this as a cultural issue, but a sin issue. Without God, why not sexualize women at the earliest available opportunity? We have no standard to dictate otherwise at home or abroad.
I’m glad that people are aware of the problem, and that our congress is condemning the behavior. Unfortunately, we are unable to make other country’s laws for them. Hopefully, we can move forward in a way that addresses the underlying issue, and let these poor girls know that God reigns supreme over cultural dictat.



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squeaky

posted October 13, 2007 at 2:36 pm


Is that a jab? I think it is an important observation that Moderatelad can rarely ever just simply agree with any article, even when he actually does agree with it. Since Moderatelad agreed with the article, he had to resort to an outside source to find a way to get a jab in at liberals. I take no issue with his anecdote about his experience in a class, and I expanded on his experience by relating a similar one I have had. Had he stopped there, a much more healthy discussion would have ensued. However, his last comment was just a jab at liberals, and not counterproductive if his goal was to further the discussion–in fact, unless Humphrey, Anderson, Mondale, or the DFL was the prof for his class, the comment really has nothing to do with his point, does it? All that comment did was put people on the defensive, even when there is actually a healthy discussion that can occur. Now look at your comments above–you agreed with the article and introduced your perspective, and you did not make any jabs at political ideologies that you disagree with (do you see how out of place it would have been had you done so?). See how refreshing that is? See how more likely it is to spur further discussion? This is all I’m saying.



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kevin s.

posted October 13, 2007 at 3:08 pm


For the record, Humphrey did quite a bit to rescue the party from the hardline communists, formulating a coalition (the DFL) that also began to rid our state of its profoundly anti-Semitic past. At a national level, he took relatively hawkish stances, and suffered for his support of the Vietnam war.



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Anonymous

posted October 13, 2007 at 4:17 pm


To paraphrase Winston Churchill, the only thing worse than Western civilization are all the alternatives.
Posted by: MJCIV |
That is a great quote . For all the baggage people put at the foot of Western Civilization , the freedom it offers , the continued pursuit of Human Rights and Equality , a little acknowledgement of its good points is not flag waving , its just common sense .



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Mick Sheldon

posted October 13, 2007 at 4:30 pm


Squeaky was there just not a editorial by Sojorners from a Christian Minister in India saying white Christians here were an embarrassmebnt to Christ ? Or was that just Bush and the evangelicals were fools for supporting him ? Now we have a blog from India that is an embarrassment to India . I suppose if you were on a blog where they blamed that Indian Minister for this you might get the point of Mod somewhat .
I guess you need to be on a blog where every other editorial condemns some people for not doing enough , or for what they are doing . And then consider yourself more or less somehwre in that in that group being criticized , and know you are doing everything you can , plus having little or no say anyway and wondering what they are talking about ?
The lowering of the agee of consent takes on other issues also . The homosexual lobby in England for instance lobbied for it and got it lowered in England .
This of course goes beyond that . We are dealing with another religion and a complete different way of looking at things In India . How do we change this ? The Gospel would help , but I did not see any answers . It is sad . We had a polygamist trial not too lond ago that sounded similiar to this stuff .



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squeaky

posted October 13, 2007 at 5:38 pm


Mick–erm…what?!?
I really don’t know what I said to bring about your response. Please reread my post. What, specifically, don’t you agree with? What are you responding to? This is the most random and mysteriuos attack you have made on me yet!



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Annie(UK)

posted October 13, 2007 at 5:49 pm


A few random thoughts on child brides.
Many scholars believe that Mary was only 14 when she was chosen to be the mother of Jesus. Most Protestants believe that after Jesus’ birth she became Joseph’s wife in the normal sense of the word and had marital relations with him from the age of 15 or thereabouts.
Throughout the Middle Ages in Christian Europe arranged child marriages were common among the Royal dynasties and feudal overlords to seal political alliances and secure land. The heiress Margaret Beuufort for example was married to her 1st husband at the age of 6 and became mother to Henry V11 by her 2nd husband Edmund Tudor at the age of 13.
Many of the early Puritans in New England took very young girls as 3rd or 4th wives when their older wives died of exhaustion, disease or in childbirth. The age of consent in Victorian England was 12 for girls and 14 for boys as I believe it remained in many of the Southern US States well into the 20th century. I understand that some of the Mormon sects in the USA also coerce very young teenage girls into marriage with much older men or close family members. Even Billy Graham encouraged his 3 daughters to marry very young (at 18) rather than allow them to obtain a college education.
This is not a case of Western Civilisation being
superior to that of the East but rather part of the long slow change in the developed, industrialised world where women have gradually obtained access to education, financial independance and a degree of choice in their personal lives. While we should certainly support education and choice for girls in less developed parts of the World, this must be done with sensitivity and humility, recognizing that we in the West do not have all the answers.
As for Winston Churchill, while he was a gifted orator and respected war leader, he was also a very privileged product and supporter of the British class system with anti-semitic, anti-catholic and strongly racist views. His ideas of “Western civilization” certainly didn’t extend to equality of access to health, education and opportunity even in post war Britain.



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MJCIV

posted October 13, 2007 at 8:07 pm


Did his ideas of Western Civilization exclude child rape? Yes? Well, then: my point is made. We in the West may not have all the answers, but in this particular instance–along with many others–we do.



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Annie (UK)

posted October 13, 2007 at 8:34 pm


I’m not aware that Churchill ever made any written or oral comment on what he considered to be child rape. Perhaps you coud give me a referance/source on his views to look up? The 19th and early 20th century British upper classes frequently abused their under age servants both physically and sexually as is well documented.



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N.M. Rod

posted October 14, 2007 at 1:15 pm


I have the distinct feeling that some folks feel they’ve been called upon by their ideology to simply disrupt and shut down this site from any useful discussion where people can come together.



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laura

posted October 14, 2007 at 5:54 pm


What in the world! I just read an account of a poor girl who was used by UNICEF as a spokesgirl and tv show… and is now on the verge of being homeless.
Excuse me, but I’ve never seen a better advertisement for UNICEF being a poor source of charity. Seriously, why would anyone give money to UNICEF… when this is how they care for this girl? She’s a poster child for UNICEF, imo, shouting loudly that this group doesn’t care for children.
That’s my opinion… seeing her plight… knowing she represented them… and they have failed to provide for her and her family’s economic needs.
She was used… and her needs weren’t met. I may not be as highly educated about their organization as they’d like… but I’m down-home, simple-hearted, from the country enough to know what I see.
That’s just wrong, imo.



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c kitty

posted October 14, 2007 at 8:36 pm


In my lifetime, rape has gone from something a female somehow “asked for”, something that brought shame to her, something that was just “boys will be boys” to finally a serious crime in this century, in this country. In the 80’s, when Modlad was in college, I listened to the lawyers I worked for make jokes about rape in front of a rape victim. You couldn’t be a victim and still be alive. And statutory rape was a crime that was never punished. We have come a long way in a short time. We overcame long-held cultural traditions that we came to understand were insidious.It took a lot of very noisy people to make this happen, too bad Modlad was so easily discouraged by a rather foolish professor.
I also do not understand the connection between that and becoming a conservative and blaming it all on prominent Democrats. Perhaps Modlad could get in the last word by raising his voice in support of women’s rights all over the world.



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Moderatelad

posted October 15, 2007 at 8:09 am


Posted by: c kitty | October 14, 2007 8:36 PM
I have said it before and I will one more time.
In my up-bringing in a conservative evangelical home. I was taught to respect people and their viewpoints. My Mom worked PT for many years so that she could be home with us kids before and after school. When my brother was into his secondary years – she started FT. She was a woman who got ‘equal pay’ about 3 years prior to it becoming law. She did it by proving to her boss that she could sell just as well as any man and that she was making more money for the company than most of the men in their employ. The could have her as an employee and comrade or as their competition at another company. They raised her pay and she did not have to threaten to burn her bra. My sister has broken the ceiling without the scream – rant and eave option being used. Just showing them what we can do for them in a number of companies. I have told my daughter to do anything she wants to do in life with one exception. She should never be one that ‘fills a quota’ because she will never been seen as qualified by her superiors and not qualified by her peers.
My Father taught us that you earn the right to be heard.
So – do I support womens rights – yes. Her right to an education, to a job, to life – liberty and the pursuit of happiness. To climbing the corp. ladder or to stay home and be the ‘Mom’ – they are all wonderful and honorable vocations.
So – here’s to women who make their own future and are out there changing our soceity for the better based on their education – talents – skills and abilities and not their gender – race or orientation.
Blessings –
.



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squeaky

posted October 15, 2007 at 12:21 pm


Moderatelad,
If your jab had anything to do with the article, it would be one thing, but it didn’t. That’s my point.
“OK – I can cut the ‘jabs’ if they will. ”
Or…you could take the high road…
Let’s all take the high road so we can have fruitful discussions…I pledge to do so even if no one else will…who will join me?



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Moderatelad

posted October 15, 2007 at 12:37 pm


Posted by: squeaky | October 15, 2007 12:21 PM
‘Let’s all take the high road so we can have fruitful discussions…I pledge to do so even if no one else will…who will join me?’
I will do my level best to join you, and if I fail squeaky – I give you permission to hold me accountable.
Blessings –
.



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squeaky

posted October 15, 2007 at 4:55 pm


But of course I will, Moderatelad =)
Cheers



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Alicia

posted October 16, 2007 at 2:01 pm


This discussion appears to have run its course, however, I just want to speak up in defense of Moderatelad’s post. The “it’s their culture and we have to respect it or we are racists or Western imperialists” is, to me, total nonsense.
All you have to do is use the example of the Old South before the Civil War (the culture of which was memorialized so famously in “Gone with the Wind”).
All cultures are worthy of respect and worthy of the attempt to understand them on their own terms. All cultural practices are not. Some are proven by “progress” however you understand the term to be brutal, unnecessary, backwards, and well-nigh meaningless (though they might have had meaning when they evolved).
The “peculiar institution” of slavery was one such practice. Honor killing, child marriage, FMG are similarly barbaric, brutal, and backwards practices today.



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Niki

posted January 10, 2008 at 6:17 pm


Who cares if faith is about believing in a higher power. It is certainly not about false gods. Its about God’s undeserved love and attention that we get through salvation and shelter under God’s wing. for the people who’s mother has bandoned him or her that believe that God is not omniscient that there is just something out there your wrong! ok, maybe God didn’t stop your mother from living but he is still looking out for you. And for those who believe there is no God, you are also wrong. who do you think created you? if God didn’t want your parents to have you then you wouldn’t of been born. Its that simple. And no i am not a puritian but i do believe that God is the only way you will get through life.



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Niki

posted January 10, 2008 at 6:24 pm


it pains me to say that within my first period english 11 class, that that my friend kevin believes that God isn’t omniscient that there is just something out there. it also hurts me to say that there is a fellow classmate named Joey who believes that there is no God or higher power.



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Niki

posted January 10, 2008 at 6:26 pm


PLEASE PRAY FOR KEVIN AND JOEY!



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