Thursday, June 05, 2008

Western Values at Stake

A French court decision reduces women to the status of chattel:
The bride said she was a virgin. When her new husband discovered that was a lie, he went to court to annul the marriage — and a French judge agreed.

The ruling ending the Muslim couple's union has stunned France and raised concerns the country's much-cherished secular values are losing ground to cultural traditions from its fast-growing immigrant communities.

The decision also exposed the silent shame borne by some Muslim women who transgress long-held customs demanding proof of virginity on the wedding night.

In its ruling, the court concluded the woman had misrepresented herself as a virgin and that, in this particular marriage, virginity was a prerequisite.

But in treating the case as a breach of contract, the ruling was decried by critics who said it undermined decades of progress in women's rights. Marriage, they said, was reduced to the status of a commercial transaction in which women could be discarded by husbands claiming to have discovered hidden defects in them.

We need to make room in our increasingly diverse Western world for the religious sensibilities and customs of others. But there is a limit. Centuries of hard-fought gains in civil rights by women should not be given back in the name of religious tolerance.

2 comments:

ProgressiveChurchlady said...

A friend of mine who was born/raised in Indonesia asked a group of us neighborhood moms who walk together whether she was "damaging her daughter" because she was playing very physical sports. Her concern was that if her hymen was ruptured during sporting games before she became married, she would be "damaged goods". Several of us have daughters the same age and were "Title 9 Girls". While trying not to look shocked, we told her it was perfectly OK for her daughter to participate in sports to gain courage/confidence/character/cooperative skills and that this was more important than her "presumptive nonvirginity".

I recently read a great quote somewhere by a woman feminist. It was a satire showing that thinking people really aren't that shallow so as to judge a person by physical qualities.

"When men marry, they want a virgin. When women marry they want..." (Not sure I want to say it here on the blog...but it has to do with the size and slang of a man's sexual anatomy...)

Anyway, the point is that we must encourage the world to move beyond artificial tests of morality, trust, loyalty, and fidelity, when chosing life partners. We can do better!

Joseph said...

If you own your body don't you have the right to rent it out in commercial transations?