Some of the posts on Facebook get so disturbing. This week a horrifying story about an 8-year-old girl being married to a man three times her age is everywhere. According to the data provided she died on her wedding night following the consummation of the marriage. The details are absolutely as appalling they sound. The article said there are 90 countries where it is not against the law to marry a child. They are culturally and religiously accepted as normal.
In this country we are tolerant and accepting of all religions. It is the foundation of our first amendment that protects freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly and petition.
Immediately that slope gets slippery.
Freedom of speech doesn’t apply to the idiot who yells “fire,” in a crowded auditorium. There can be dire consequences to the publication that prints lies. Religions that sanction polygamy or that promotes a political agenda find themselves in violation of some heavy state and federal regulations. The right of assembly is regulated and may be suspended under certain circumstances. Petitions seem to be the only right without exception unless it is a petition signed on the Internet. Also a contract to commit a crime is unenforceable.
It is unlikely that the founding fathers, on their best day, could conceive of the technology that has arisen since the industrial revolution. After all it was 240 years ago that the colonists issued its Declaration of Independence.
On my best day the closest I can come to conceiving the advances 240 years from now looks like a mental rerun of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon “The Jetsons.”
An entry on Smithsonian.com acknowledges that “Although it was on the air for only one season, The Jetsons remains our most popular point of reference when discussing the future.”
Flying cars and robot house-keepers sound like great fun but how can a world that technologically advanced condone the misogynist treatment of young girls in faraway lands and here. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
So once again the United States may be forced to serve as the police for other countries. And yet there are still places in this country where child brides and polygamist sects not only exist but flourish.
It’s hard to maintain my seat on this high horse of moral superiority when nearly these same sorts of crimes are committed against girls and women in this country.
According to family.findlaw.com in Texas, with parental consent and judicial order, girls as young as 13 and boys at age 14 may marry. Many states allow marriage for those younger than the age of consent due to pregnancy.
It is not by accident that most of the stories about child grooms don’t garner near as much press as there are reports of young brides. The arranged marriages of children are common in many countries due in part to rampant poverty. In many cases children who should be in elementary school are “married.” The cohabitation and consummation of these marriages is sometimes postponed until the youngsters reach their teens.
This according to the dailybeast.com perpetuates the cycle of poverty. Any chance for getting an education is gone as the need to support the family leads to menial labor and low-wages. Until our metaphorical skirts are clean on the subject of child brides and grooms we have no businesses interceding on the cultural practices of foreign nations. It is distressing to imagine these kids robbed of their childhoods under the guise of religious freedom.
The idea that the abuse of children in this country is so rampant and it is all but sanctioned by the state as freedom of religion is disgusting.
The trafficking and abuse of girls and boys for immoral purposes should carry the death penalty. Deviants who hurt children, women and men should not languish in prison for years as their appeals slowly make their way through the courts. A fast-track system, say five years, should be long enough to investigate the facts of the case for error.
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
Enjoy your weekend.