don't have a problem with Islam--per say--because I don't live with it...thank Christ on a pogo stick! I resent it coming to places like England, Germany, Holland and even the United States and then its adherents complaining about us not being readily embracing of it. Likewise, I object to Christians going to developing countries and saying, "We'll build this well for you and give you a bowl of rice if you accept Jesus as your Personal Savior," too! Europe's just getting over its infection of Christianity (something we have yet to do here) so I'm a little less tolerant of people running away from their own countries where this shit is embraced like morning cereal and then complaining its not received with open arms by countries where women are allowed to drive, show their legs and actually date and marry outside of arranged deals. Sorry, Rug, but until Weesterners start flocking to Saudi Arabia and demand to be served alcoholic beverages in cafes, while men kiss women in the streets and start establishing churches of their choice freely, then I'm not embracing of Islam. Infact, I think all this religious hogwash needs to be tossed out of everyday life. Keep your churches, your synagogues, your mosques, your temples, etc. etc., etc., out of public life. I think it's time religion be treated as a pastime and not a way of life...for the betterment of us all and the survival of our planet!
Emphasis added by yours truly.
First off... there's a HUGE difference between embracing something and respecting it and being tolerant of it.
What someone else does of their own free will is none of my or anyone else's place to approve or disapprove of.
Yes, with women in certain Islamic countries, this raises the problem that they really don't have the opportunity to give consent any more than a rape victim does. This troubles me deeply, and I don't know what the answer is, but I know for certain it won't be coming from us!
We put on a good show, but we still get our knickers in a knot when a woman acts too "manly" (see Hillary) or a man too "womanly" (I think "hen pecked" and "sissy" are about the NICEST terms applied to such sad souls.)
Its only recently that women in our country could wear "men's" clothing or work "men's" jobs without serious approbation... and in some sectors of our country, these Neanderthal attitudes persist. Men by no means have anywhere near such freedom- those who dress or act in traditionally female ways are subject to almost universal derision and often physical violence. Feminism will not have run its full course until the negative attitudes towards traditionally female ways of acting, dressing, and living have been eliminated. Just look at all the vulgar terms for women and their reproductive parts... they're ALL insults, all deeply derogatory, especially when applied to a man. "She's got balls" is a compliment, while "He's a p-ssy" is an insult.
The very rural congregations I first served in the upper midwest still had men and women sitting on different sides of the congregation, women had only been granted the right to vote on... say... the color of the carpet months before I arrived, and they didn't have this right in many other neighboring congregations.
So when it comes to gender freedom and equality... we've gone from living in a house made of panes of glass to one made of glass blocks. We still have a LOT of work to do on matters of sexual and gender freedom!
The changes which need to happen in the more repressive parts of the Islamic world need to come from INSIDE. The best we can do is keep our clumsy hands out of it, and do our best to encourage and facilitate the efforts of those people inside those countries and cultures who want to bring about change. In this regard, I think Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia & its neighboring S.E. Asian/Oceanic countries are our best bet, along with MAYBE Turkey and the Islamic peoples indigenous to Europe in the Balkans (Kosovo, Albania, etc.) These countries have a well educated populace, have shown some signs of respecting women a little more than the Arabian nations, etc.
Next- another A-Men, Betty.
If people want to leave their homeland and take on a new one, they take upon themselves the obligation to conform to certain basic standards of their new nation. These usually include (or should)... speaking the national language, not mutilating the genitals of women, and so forth. Freedom of religion does not abrogate the law of the land!
And my last A-men for you Betty...
As a student of church history and former ordained operative, I think the Christian church started going to hell figuratively and literally when Constantine legalized and made it the state religion.
It is counterproductive, ill informed, and arrogant of us to pass judgment on entire nations and faiths. Islam is not a singular entity any more than Christianity is. Consider this news story from the AP
BAGHDAD (AP) — A roadside bomb killed three Shiite pilgrims Monday in the outskirts of Baghdad, while the death toll from a suicide bombing targeting pilgrims resting in a tent the day before rose to 56, authorities said. In all, extremists have attacked pilgrims headed to the holy city of Karbala three times in the past two days.
Guess what boys and girls... this is Muslims killing Muslims. They ain't all the same any more than we are!
The SHIITE Holy City of Karbala, click for full size, click link in news story to read about the city and the pilgrimage.