Thursday, March 03, 2011

Some values are more equal than others.

From NATO’s Civil-Military Fusion Center’s Afghanistan Review:

The proposed takeover of women‟s shelters by the Afghan government garnered further media coverage this week with women‟s advocacy groups such as the Afghan Women‟s Network requesting a consultation process for the proposed changes (see 16 February CFC Afghanistan Re-view, Socio-Cultural Development section). The Afghan Women‟s Network explained to Tolo News that the new regulations create restrictions on who can access the shelters. Furthermore, shelter providers cautioned that there were “reports of violence and discrimination against women in protection centres controlled by the government”. In an official statement, the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, urged Afghan officials to allow civil society to continue operating women‟s shelters in the country, while also establishing a joint mechanism for implementing protection guidelines and monitoring. Refuting claims made in the media, Afghan President Hamid Karzai explained that the proposed takeover of women‟s shelters would not affect all existing centres, according to Agence France-Presse. He indicated that only those shelters found to be in violation of government policies and/or accused of corruption would be affected by the new legislation, suggesting that only one or two shelters are still under investigation.

A couple of things about this.

In the U.S., and, I presume, the other Western democracies, feminists agitate for more government involvement in things like women’s shelters, whereas their Afghan sistren are fighting to keep their government’s hands off of such shelters.  Which tells you most of what you need to know about America’s and Afghanistan’s relative points on the axis between women’s liberation and family stability.

Unsurprisingly, I believe the United States lies too far toward the wrong end of that axis.  And while it’s not my country to worry about, one could fairly say that Afghanistan lies too far toward the opposite end.  But at least the Afghanis are asking the right questions.

But that’s not really my point.

The point I want to make here is this passage makes clear that at various levels – media, NGO’s, UN and NATO pressure, etc. – the Afghan government is being held to a standard of Western liberalism that is not organic to the country.  The international community has chosen to impose its values.

Yet where is the corresponding pressure to require of Afghanistan religious tolerance?  Where is the pressure to allow Afghan’s to choose to follow Christ?  Where is the expectation that Afghanistan’s Christians be allowed to open churches without fear of arrest, let alone terrorism?

The answer is nowhere.  And that was a policy decision made by the coalition forces – that’s our government – that, again, tells you most of what you need to know about the people making these kinds of decisions on our behalf.


Justin said...

Although it is certainly not their intention, I might suggest that female empowerment is exactly the right and necessary first step towards opening the country for the spread of religious freedom.

Dr. Φ said...

and yet i'm hard pressed to think of any precedents. Iran has fairly liberal female policies with no religious freedom.

Elusive Wapiti said...

"The international community has chosen to impose its values."

Spreading mercantilist feminism at the point of a gun. Gotta love it.

Also, Justin, the religious freedom they're evangelizing for appears to be of the secular humanist variety.