Tag Archives: Religion

The Exodus International Apology

 I first heard about the public apology from various Christian posts on Facebook, so as Facebook goes, I had no idea what was true and what was not.

There are many parts to the apology that I have to agree with.  The Church should never have condoned members shouting “sodomite” at anyone who was gay.  The Church should never have persecuted people because they are gay.  The Church should never have condoned the bullying of people that some of its members could not understand.  People have died over the “love” that some members of the Church have shown to the LGBTQ community.

Never in a million years would I intentionally hurt another person. Yet, here I sit having hurt so many by failing to acknowledge the pain some affiliated with Exodus International caused, and by failing to share the whole truth about my own story. My good intentions matter very little and fail to diminish the pain and hurt others have experienced on my watch. The good that we have done at Exodus is overshadowed by all of this.” – Alan Chambers

All who are Christians should embrace this part of the public apology and let that guide them in all future actions.

“More than anything, I am sorry that so many have interpreted this religious rejection by Christians as God’s rejection.  I am profoundly sorry that many have walked away from their faith and that some have chosen to end their lives. For the rest of my life I will proclaim nothing but the whole truth of the Gospel, one of grace, mercy and open invitation to all to enter into an inseverable relationship with almighty God.” – Alan Chambers

 I differ on the notion of “inseverable”, but the message that we need to start out with is that of grace, mercy and the open invitation to all to begin a relationship with the Living God.

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Female Genital Mutilation in the US

This is an interesting article on a topic that more people should be speaking out against, but I am guess that since it deals with Islam that people will choose to ignore it as not to offend anyone.

Female genital mutilation on the rise in the United States

Western news articles about female genital mutilation routinely assert that it is solely a cultural practice, not justified by any religion. Yet again and again we see Muslim clerics justifying it, and it is sanctioned in Islamic law.

“Circumcision is obligatory (for every male and female) (by cutting off the piece of skin on the glans of the penis of the male, but circumcision of the female is by cutting out the bazr ‘clitoris’ [this is called khufaadh ‘female circumcision’]).” — ‘Umdat al-Salik e4.3, translated by Mark Durie, The Third Choice, p. 64

“Islamic law permits by definition, by prophetic statement and by practice female circumcision” — Australian Imam Afroz Ali

“Female genital mutilation on the rise in the United States-report,” by Lisa Anderson for TrustLaw, March 11 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):

NEW YORK (TrustLaw) – The ancient, brutal practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), once considered primarily a problem of the developing world, is a growing threat to girls and women in the United States, according to a new report.

The United States has longstanding laws against the practice of FGM on U.S. soil and in January, passed a federal law against sending young women outside the country for so-called “vacation cutting”. However, girls living in America increasingly are at risk of the procedure both at home and abroad, according to research by Sanctuary for Families.

The New York City-based non-profit organisation, which specialises in gender-based violence, said up to 200,000 girls and women in the United States are at risk of FGM and that the number is growing.

“People in the United States think that FGM only happens to people outside of the United States, but in all actuality, people here all over the country have been through FGM,” said Jaha, 23, formerly from Gambia and now a survivor and advocate against FGM.

“Kids that were born in this country are taken back home every summer and undergo this procedure,” she was quoted as saying in the report.

The study cited analysis of data from the 2000 census that found between 1990 and 2000 the number of girls and women in the United States at risk of the procedure – which involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia – increased by 35 percent.

SADNESS, EMPTINESS

Most prevalent in immigrant African and Middle Eastern communities, FGM generally originates in the belief by some cultures that it preserves a girl’s virginity before marriage and discourages her from promiscuity after she is wed. In many communities, a girl is deemed unfit for marriage if she has not undergone FGM.

The report said FGM has been performed in the United States by health care providers who support FGM or do not want to question families’ cultural practices.  

Whether performed covertly on U.S. soil or in ceremonies held in ancestral homelands during school vacations, the procedure often is done by traditional practitioners using crude implements, such as razor blades and broken glass. They often operate in unsanitary conditions, far from medical facilities, without anaesthesia, antiseptics or antibiotics.

The physical and psychological effects can be devastating and even fatal. FGM can cause severe pain during sexual intercourse, haemorrhage, shock, complications in childbirth and fistula. It can also lead to depression and anxiety.

“FGM has affected me emotionally throughout my entire life. Those terrible moments stay with me and I just cannot forget them,” a 53-year-old woman named Nafissatou, originally from Guinea, told researchers.

“When I went to the hospital to give birth to my children, my experience with FGM was what I remembered most. Every time I shower, I think about it. There is a sadness and emptiness I fell every day because of what FGM took from me,” she said.

LACK OF PROSECUTIONS

The United Nations last December called for a global ban on FGM, but, as with laws in the United States, implementation is extremely difficult and, to date, prosecutions have been rare.

The United States has had a law against FGM since 1996 and 20 states have passed their own statutes. But, according to the report, as of 2012, there have been no prosecutions under federal law, and only one criminal case has been brought forward under a state statute.

One problem is that families in the United States, even those who oppose FGM for their daughters, often find themselves under severe pressure from their extended families to subject girls to the procedure.

Another obstacle is a lack of reporting of FGM either by victims, girls at risk or their families. Part of the reason may be due to ignorance of the law, the report found.

“However, reasons for underreporting likely also include reluctance on the part of the girl or her family to come forward, precisely because they know and fear the legal penalties for doing so,” it said.

“Many girls fear that innocent family members, especially their mothers, will be considered complicit in their family’s efforts to force them to undergo FGM, or worry that if they report their relatives, they will be arrested, prosecuted, and possibly deported,” it added….

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