More equal than others
Posted by Nick Milne on April 1, 2011
This is a note to certain (not all) atheist/progressive/liberal/etc. ideologues who have in their anguish warned against some sort of impending theocracy in one or both of the North American countries.
Putting aside the fact that there is no such impending theocracy, it’s worth knowing that not all theocracies, however inadequately described, are created equal. The world is Diverse, after all, and this has Implications.
Say what you will about protestant fundamentalists, or dominionists, or “Taliban Catholics” (what absolute bullshit), or whatever you wish to call them, this can hardly be described as being among the things that they typically do:
Hena Akhter’s last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl.
Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh’s Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public.
Hena dropped after 70.
I would like to note at once that the staunch endurance of 70 lashes is something that even the most robust sailor in Nelson’s navy would have admired, though by no means have wished upon himself. A 14-year-old girl who could endure such punishment is no unremarkable person.
But it doesn’t matter, now; we will hear no more from her in this life. She is dead.
Hena Akhter’s great moral failing was to have been brutally raped by a man – a cousin of hers – three times her age. The initial response of the family member who discovered this happening (another woman, incredibly; the wife of the man doing the raping) was to drag Hena away and beat her in vengeance for her “adultery.” Shortly afterward she was put to death.
There is no excuse for this. There is no possible justification. There is only the glad recognizance of the reality of Hell and an awareness of the fact that actual people will actually go there – and thank God for that. The tendency of certain moderns to discount the possibility of Hell and to cast doubt on its legitimacy as a doctrine seems to bespeak an unbelievable ignorance about what people are actually like, and what they absolutely deserve as a consequence. I have said elsewhere that I believed in God’s Wrath before I ever believed in His Mercy, and even now I think this is a distinction that is not properly appreciated by the world at large.
I am glad to report that the Bangledeshi public are as outraged about this as you or I might be, and all involved are now facing the full weight of the law (such as it is). Especially worthy of condemnation – perhaps of actual execution – are those “doctors” who conducted an “autopsy” on Hena’s body and determined that she had somehow died of suicide.
Some cultures simply are better than others; some moral outlooks simply are more laudable. Do not pretend that all is relative and unimportant. As long as such disparities exist, there is an unquenchable and immortal war between them, and you will be called to account, someday, and asked which side you upheld.
Do not err on the side of ignorance, or on the side of ease. Evil is evil even if someone is doing it because he believes it’s right. Know this.