Thursday, September 2, 2010
There is indeed a war going on in Afghanistan. In fact, there are two. One is being fought with bullets, bombs, and boots on the ground. The other war (the one with more lasting importance) is being fought in an entirely different theater. In this other war, the real enemy of the Afghan people is sin and darkness. Perhaps the most vile expression of this is their treatment of women and boys. A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle (of all places) exposes the fact that Afghanistan is a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah. This strict Muslim country has “become the [homosexual] pedophilia capital of Asia”. Joel Brinkley notes:
“For centuries, Afghan men have taken boys, roughly 9 to 15 years old, as lovers. Some research suggests that half the Pashtun tribal members in Kandahar and other southern towns are bacha baz, the term for an older man with a boy lover. Literally it means "boy player." The men like to boast about it.”
Brinkley’s piece, which is at times very hard to read, uncovers a dark side of Afghanistan’s already seedy culture. We know about the Taliban and the opium trade; we’ve heard the stories about the treatment of women. However, most people were oblivious to this. And we’re not talking about an isolated incident:
“In Kandahar, population about 500,000, and other towns, dance parties are a popular, often weekly, pastime. Young boys dress up as girls, wearing makeup and bells on their feet, and dance for a dozen or more leering middle-aged men who throw money at them and then take them home. A recent State Department report called "dancing boys" a "widespread, culturally sanctioned form of male rape."
Our troops, no matter how successful, will not eradicate this evil. This is not an economic, political, or social problem. This is a sin problem. In a classic example of humanistic assessment of a sin problem, the story continues:
“Sociologists and anthropologists say the problem results from perverse interpretation of Islamic law. Women are simply unapproachable. Afghan men cannot talk to an unrelated woman until after proposing marriage. Before then, they can't even look at a woman, except perhaps her feet. Otherwise she is covered, head to ankle.”
Were this the case, one would expect pedophilia to be non-existent in the permissive, semi-pornographic west, where women routinely put their bodies on display. However, this is not the case. Homosexuality is an abomination that has existed throughout much of human history (see Gen 19; Lev. 18; Rom 1, etc.), and the Bible makes it clear that it is not the byproduct of modesty (no matter how draconian the form). These men are not deprived; they’re depraved (Rom 1:26–27). This is evidenced by the fact that they continue the practice after marriage:
“Even after marriage, many men keep their boys, suggesting a loveless life at home. A favored Afghan expression goes: "Women are for children, boys are for pleasure." Fundamentalist imams, exaggerating a biblical passage on menstruation, teach that women are "unclean" and therefore distasteful. One married man even asked Cardinalli's team "how his wife could become pregnant," her report said. When that was explained, he "reacted with disgust" and asked, "How could one feel desire to be with a woman, who God has made unclean?"
While some will merely chalk this up to “strict religion,” I beg to differ. Compare this worldview with that of the Bible. Would this man come away with such an attitude after reading Song of Solomon, for example:
“You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride; you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace. How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than any spice! Your lips drip nectar, my bride; honey and milk are under your tongue; the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon. A garden locked is my sister, my bride, a spring locked, a fountain sealed. Your shoots are an orchard of pomegranates with all choicest fruits, henna with nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense, myrrh and aloes, with all choice spices— a garden fountain, a well of living water, and flowing streams from Lebanon.” (Song of Solomon 4:9–15)
I could quote more, but I think you get the point. Not all religions are created equal. The oppression and exploitation of women is a real problem in the Islamic world, and neither our bombs, bullets, nor our “Democracy” will stem the tide. These issues will not go away with the death of a few “radicals,” or the election of “moderates” who have grown up in this spiritual sewage and learned to turn a blind eye. This is a problem that requires something more powerful. Afghanistan needs the gospel of Jesus Christ!
The real battle in Afghanistan will rage long after hostilities have ceased. As the apostle Paul noted:
“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.” (2 Cor 10:4–6)
The story concludes on a crucial note, “Addressing the loathsome mistreatment of Afghan women remains a primary goal for coalition governments, as it should be...But what about the boys, thousands upon thousands of little boys who are victims of serial rape over many years, destroying their lives - and Afghan society.” The long-term impact of such practices is already clear. This is a culture in bondage to sin. The next generation is being forged in the crucible of war, drugs, and sodomy. Regardless of how many “free elections” they have, Afghanistan’s future is bleak.
Biblical Christianity offers a clear alternative:
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” (Eph 5:25–33)
“Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” (1 Pet 3:7)
It is no coincidence that predominantly, the worst treatment of women on the planet is taking place in the Islamic World. Unfortunately, the world’s answer is to make attempts to equate Islam and Christianity as though the two are equivalent morally, and to kowtow to Muslims for fear of retribution (see here, for example). As a result, the very important discussion about the way the Bible has transformed civilization for the better has been all but silenced.
Nevertheless, we must continue to proclaim the truth. We must continue to herald the gospel to those in the Muslim world. They must know that Christ offers the forgiveness, hope and transformation they seek but cannot find. The Bible also offers a clear assessment of and answer to the sin of homosexuality. Unfortunately, while America has built an imposing military arsenal, we have decided to disarm when it comes to the spiritual side of this battle. In fact, we have our own Kandahar (i.e., homosexual hotbeds like San Francisco and New York, and organizations like the North American Man/Boy Love Association, etc.).
Remember, ours is the Country where GLSEN founder, Kevin Jennings, promotes and advances this kind of sin, then gets to work in the White House (see here). We’re the Country whose President was the keynote speaker at one of, if not the largest homosexual fundraiser in the world where he apologized for not moving faster to fulfill the promises he made to them on the campaign trail (including gay marriage, repealing don’t ask/don’t tell and DOMA, enacting hate crimes legislation, ENDA, etc.). I say this, not to change the subject, but to demonstrate the great irony. If one rejects God’s word as it relates to homosexuality, on what grounds does he object to the activity in Afghanistan? Moreover, once we have started down that slippery slope, how long will it be before we become so calloused and jaded that we are no longer burdened by stories like this one?
As we continue to pray for our men and women in uniform, let us not forget to pray for those brave souls who love our Lord, and love the Afghan people by fighting the unseen battle there. Pray for the families of missionaries who lost their lives there recently, and others who remain. And “pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:2) There is hope for Afghanistan. His name is Jesus; “he will save his people from their sins.” (Matt 1:21)
For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in TRUTH
-3 John 3,4 ESV