Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Question of Rape

I think the government has a real problem here. Not that I disagree with the idea that when a woman says 'no' that should mean 'no'. But when you add the ingredient of drink to the mix it changes things. In a perfect world sex would always be a wonderful thing. But the world is not perfect and sex that comes out of pub nights is more often than not sordid and miserable whether consensual or not.

The difficulty with this kind of law is that it is not enforceable. It's the word of one against the word of another. And what criteria can a jury possibly have for ascertaining the 'truth' of the matter. I believe that for the most part juries will not be keen to send a man to prison for 'rape' in this situation. Or will the government have rape divided into categories: first degree, second degree, third degree and what will the penalty be.

What will happen is that rape trials will again put the woman in the dock and this time it won't be pretty. The fact is that men as well as women go on the prowl -- unfortunately there are a lot of women that don't seem to understand that that is in fact what they are doing. A woman/girl doesn't wear sexy clothes -- short skirts and plunging necklines -- because it's virginal. They want to be provocative, alluring, tempting. Come on -- take responsbility for yourselves. This is playing with fire. I've seen young women in bitterly cold weather walking down the street in skimpy clothing, boobs hanging out flaunting their 'assets', full of drink like a parade of what's on offer. The men/lads aren't wearing coats either, but they are at least covered up. Who can blame them for thinking 'no' means 'yes'.

In the past juries have had difficulty sending men to prison for rape because the sentences were too severe. For this reason penalties were lessened in order to obtain convictions. This attempt to legislate what is not legislatable will in very likely make all rape convictions more difficult. Could women then be prosecuted for provocation without cause?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Personal Reflections on Religion Today

Events of the past several years seem to indicate that religion causes most of the grief in this world of ours. Why is it that keeps us at loggerheads -- often violent, if not murderous -- when the tenants of most of the worlds religions teach love, peace and tolerance? Why is it that we must believe there is only 'One True Way' and it is 'My Way'.

I am a Christian and was brought up in a family that went to church every Sunday and my parents have always worked hard to live by their beliefs. There was a time when my father was very rigid in his theology, but he never believed that non-believers were condemned in some way or in some other way were not 'worthy' as Christians or non-Christians. It was interesting to see him change much of his theology as he grew older. I never would have believed that he would have come to accept the idea of women priests in the Anglican Church -- but he did. His theology came of age with age.

But it is much easier to be open-minded about different cultures and beliefs when separated by space and time. When I grew up it was rare to be exposed to different ethnic cultures. The first Muslim I ever met was an Afghan exchange student when I was a teenager, and it neve entered my head to think about what religion he might have been. He was just someone interesting from a long way away. Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, even Judaeism where I grew up, were not issues that were of any importance to us. The religious issues we concentrated most on had to do with Protestants and Catholics and since I grew up in a very Anglo-Catholic household, Catholicism was not an issue for me -- other than to insist that Episcopalians were indeed as catholic as the Romans and that the Pope was the Bishop of Rome!

In high school I became very interest in Islam and I wrote a paper about it. It was my ambition to become an expert on the Middle East and to work for the United Nations. In those days Islam was still called Mohammedism -- at least it was where I came from. In those days I didn't think about the issues that I think about today, particularly the issue of women, not did I not consider the issue of women in Islam, I didn't consider the issue of women in the context of any religion.

It constantly seems to me that the battles that have been fought over religion both verbally and physically are the same: Muslim fights Muslim; Christians denigrate other Christians; Jews cannot agree with each other any more than any other group. I have a real problem with narrow minded Christians that believe in a narrow-minded God. I have a problem with Muslims that talk about 'Jihad' but object to the word 'Crusade' -- it's all violence. I have a problem with Israelis that took hold of Israel using terrorist methods.

And as with many other things it is the loud mouths that we hear, not the soft-spoken. It is the fury that makes the news and shatters our worlds with unspeakable deeds. But it would also behoove us to remember that the fury, the roar of aprobium was born of the silent, quiet, greed of the insidious and powerful. It is born of global corruption that has no religion and which is Godless. It gave birth to unsacred riches, which blind us and tear us apart.