According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Lost Girls of China and India

Why so many baby girls are being killed in the world's two largest countries.

Amy Julia Becker

In India and China, the world’s two most populated nations, parents have chosen to abort hundreds of millions of baby girls.

According to Samanth Subramanian, writing for The National, “Indians are aborting more female foetuses (sic.) than at any time in their nation's history, with the practice growing fastest in the more affluent states. . . . There are now 914 girls for every 1,000 boys under the age of 6.”

Furthermore, the BBC News reports that in India, “activists fear eight million female foetuses may have been aborted in the past decade.” In addition to a large number of abortions using so-called “sex-selection,” the infant mortality rate is higher for girls than boys in India, probably due to a combination of neglect and infanticide.

This gender disparity has posed social problems for decades. In 1994, India's legislators made it illegal for ultrasound technicians to reveal babies’ sex in India, yet the disparity between births of girls and boys has only increased in recent years. The laws on the books are rarely enforced and pose minimal consequences, but even for doctors who obey the law, the problem remains. World Magazine recently reported on a hospital in Morena, a rural area with 825 girls to every 1,000 boys. The editors wrote, “The hospital insists it strictly obeys the law against using sonograms to reveal the gender of a baby. . . . The sex ratio at birth at [Dr. R.C. Bandil’s] hospital is as high as 940-945.” In other words, even when baby girls aren’t aborted, they die young: “An exhausted mother who faces neglect, poor nutrition, and blame for producing a daughter is likely to pass on that neglect, social workers say. For an infant, that can mean the difference between life and death.”

An even greater gender disparity exists in China, where “the ratio is 837 girls per 1,000 boys.” According to an Economist report last year, “The destruction of baby girls is a product of three forces: the ancient preference for sons; a modern desire for smaller families; and ultrasound scanning and other technologies that identify the sex of a fetus.” Furthermore, at least in India, parents still often pay a dowry when their daughters get married. Girls cost more and produce less. Ultrasound technology and abortion allow them to be treated as commodities, discarded like defective widgets on a production line.

In addition to the obvious and egregious ethical problems posed by widespread abortion and infanticide of baby girls, the Economist spells out pragmatic problems for such an imbalanced society: “the cumulative consequence for societies of such individual actions is catastrophic… In any country rootless young males spell trouble; in Asian societies, where marriage and children are the recognised routes into society, single men are almost like outlaws. Crime rates, bride trafficking, sexual violence, even female suicide rates are all rising and will rise further as the lopsided generations reach their maturity.”

The Economist cites South Korea as the only nation where the rates of sex-selective abortions have decreased dramatically: “In the 1990s South Korea had a sex ratio almost as skewed as China’s. Now, it is heading towards normality. It has achieved this not deliberately, but because the culture changed. Female education, anti-discrimination suits and equal-rights rulings made son preference seem old-fashioned and unnecessary. The forces of modernity first exacerbated prejudice — then overwhelmed it.” In addition to suggesting that China change its one-child policy, The Economist suggests a series of other measures to effect change: “encourage female education; abolish laws and customs that prevent daughters inheriting property; make examples of hospitals and clinics with impossible sex ratios; get women engaged in public life — using everything from television newsreaders to women traffic police.”
 
A fundamental Christian claim is the inherent worth of every human being. In Roman times, Christians contributed significantly to the end of infanticide. Contemporary notions of human rights alone are not the key to cultural change, nor is an appeal to the social necessity of men and women. Christians and non-Christians agree on the importance of changing attitudes toward women so that sex-selective abortions and infanticide cease, and a combination of governmental programs, law enforcement, and other social measures should help such change occur. Yet Christians have a key ethical foundation to offer to effect such cultural change. From Genesis 1:27 — “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them — ” to Psalm 139:13 — “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb" — Christians can attest that every human life is a valuable one with inherent dignity and worth regardless, of gender, race, age, or ability. The foundation on which gender equality lies is neither modernity nor pragmatism, but rather the truth about who we are as bearers of the imago Dei.


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