Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Christian Evangelical Propagandizes Distortion of Bill in Turkey

A Christian lady called Lizzie Schofield decided to add an evangelistic tilt to a proposed bill in Turkey.

Lizzie's opening gambit betrays a simplistic and even misleading understanding of this bill, she writes, "A new law is being proposed in Turkey that will let men off assaulting underage girls if they agree to marry their victims"
No, Lizzie, you're misleading your readers here. – it is not about “assaulting” anybody. The bill specifically excludes those who used force:

The act cannot have been committed with “force, threat, or any other restriction on consent” to qualify for the pardon. [Source]

The Turkish PM was not targeting assaults but rather was focussing on couples. In Turkey when a couple have an "unofficial union" if the female happens to be under-age at the time of childbirth (presumably 18 as this is the age of consent in Turkey) her partner is sentenced to prison. This separates the father from his partner and new born. Not only this, it places an increased economic burden on the mother:

Yet the justice minister claimed campaigners were “distorting” the issue and denied the bill would legitimise rape.

“What we do is to find a solution to an ongoing problem, it is not to protect rape nor protect rapists,” he told state-owned news agency Anadolu. Instead, he argued the bill would help couples who have consensual sex when they are underage and want to marry.

“When a child is then born from this non-official union, the doctor warns the prosecutor and the man is sent to prison, putting the child and mother into financial difficulties,” he told the AFP news agency. Although the legal age of consent is 18 in Turkey, child marriage is widespread, particularly in the southeast.

So from my understanding, it seems a 20 year old male can be separated from his 16 year old partner and placed in prison based on a blanket age-of consent law (18) albeit it being a consensual relationship. This is the type of situation Erdogan's AKP political party seem to view as problematic, especially in rural regions where it is common for females to marry under the age of 18. There are various age permutations but the thrust of this bill was to ensure consensual relationships in rural areas were allowed to continue.

To even suggest the Turkish democratically elected party is going to let men off for "assaulting underage girls” is to effectively distort the bill - as the justice minister mentions. This extends way beyond distasteful propaganda narratives such as those which Lizzie is wading in. There's a lot more to it, let's try to understand a bit more rather than attempting to propagandize it for our own agendas.

The irony is, there are parallels with Lizzie's distorted take on the bill and Deut 22:28-29, which evangelicals believe is from Jesus (as the 2nd person of the Trinity doctrine). Here, it seems to be teaching a rapist is to marriage his rape victim and never divorce. Lizzie, read the NIV translation of Deuteronomy 22:28-29:

If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl's father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.
I’m not entirely sure why Lizzie Schofield of Pfander Ministries is not criticising her Bible rather than trying to "evangelise" based on a distorted view of a now scrapped bill in Turkish politics. I would also urge evangelicals like Lizzie to be responsible, if you write stuff that could make a particular nationality, ethnicity or religious group appear to be condoning rape of underage girls then you're involved in demonization of the said group - knowingly or unknowingly.