As many readers will know, the government of Afghanistan has recently passed a law that is being almost universally condemned as the “rape law”, for forbidding wives to refuse to have sex with their husbands (except for some rare conditions), and forbids a woman to leave the home without the permission of a male relative. Granted, this law is designed to apply only to the minority Shia population, but the very act of passing such a law illustrates the intolerant barbarity that still exists in that country. Apparently, the Afghan constitution, which guarantees equality for women, isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, as it also allows the Shia to have their own separate family law based on religious tradition. And we all know how tolerant traditional religion is of women who assert their rights – just ask Joan of Arc. Mohammad Asif Mohseni, obviously a cleric who holds the traditional value of that old-time religion very dear to his heart, insists the law can’t be changed now that it was rushed through the Afghan Parliament.
Despite this medieval system of “justice”, about 300 Afghan women turned out to protest the law – not all of them Shia, as it is obviously the women who hold the balance of common sense over there. As their reward for such bravery, this forward looking country, or rather the men of this country and a few forward thinking women, threw rocks at them.
Kumbaya, my lord, kumbaya…
So, another demonstration of how a return to religious values would not only be ill-advised, it would be downright deadly for women – not just in the Mid-East, either. The Catholic Church would gladly see thousands of women die rather than permit them to have life-saving abortions, or allow them to use condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS in Africa. Evangelicals would prefer that we leave our faith in their god rather than seek the advantages and life-saving necessities of modern scientific medicine.
What sense does that make? How can the pelting with rocks of young women be justified in the name of some twisted idea of tolerance? Is this the type of thing we need to turn our backs on to keep from offending the true believers?
If so, count me out. I have no desire to be tolerant, if the price is counted in human lives.