Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Lizzie Schofield Ignoring Facts and Reasoning - Child Brides

Lizzie Schofield of Pfander Films really tries her best to shoehorn religion (well, Islam) into the factors behind child marriage although the ICRW, who know much more than her about the topic, don’t put it down to any religion. But hey, Lizzie has an anti-Islam agenda and even has the effrontery to claim she's doing such (i.e. her propaganda)for the sake of the child brides:

What are the contributory factors in child marriage? According to Girls Not Brides, poverty, lack of education, cultural practices and gender inequality are the problem. What about religion? Girls Not Brides doesn’t mention it, though there are (coded?) references to “patriarchal values.” The ICRW states “no one religious affiliation is associated with child marriage. Rather, a variety of religions are associated with child marriage in countries throughout the world.” Hang on: isn’t that a bit vague? Don’t we owe child brides something a bit more specific than this? Especially when the rest of their website crackles with statistics.

“If present trends continue, 150 million girls will be married before their 18th birthday over the next decade. That’s an average of 15 million girls each year.”

For the sake of 150 million girls, shouldn’t we also do the neglected work of scrutinising the religious reasons that might also contribute to this practice? Or are we too afraid to?

I'm on the same ICRW page as Lizzie. She either overlooked an important point or two or just didn't read it fully. Along with the ICRW stating no religion is to blame, which to her credit she acknowledges, the ICRW mentions countries/regions of various majority religions which have high child marriage rates or which have seen a decline based on educational initiatives.

Countries with the highest prevalence of child marriages are concentrated in West and Sub Saharan Africa according to the ICRW. Liberia (85% Christian), Uganda (85% Christian) and Cameroon (70% Christian) are all in Unicef's top 6 for women aged 20-24 who had their first birth before the age of 18.

Notice, all these countries are CHRISTIAN majority nations!

It kind of stops Lizzie in her tracks! But she's doing it "for the sake of" all these girls, right? Wrong, she appears to be circumnavigating the facts and the experts on the ground in an effort to spread propaganda for the sake of her agenda – an anti-Islam agenda. Sad.

Clearly it's poverty which is directly proportional to higher prevalence of child marriage. Lizzie would have accepted this if she chose to simply take the ICWR at face value rather than entertaining a wild Jay Smith-esque conspiracy theory of the researchers being afraid to list Islam as a factor!

Folks like those at Lizzie's Pfander Centre for Apologetics are residing in bubbles of Western liberalism and seem to equate British laws with Christianity. Yeah, like gambling, sex-before-marriage, adultery, divorce and gay marriage are all Biblical! And to shove the proverbial pin into Pfander Ministries's bubble, I’ll tell Lizzie that Britain’s age of consent of 16 is not Biblical – the Bible allows sex before the age of 16. Are you shocked and horrified? If you are then you’ve been living in that bubble, welcome to a world of clarity. Biblical age of consent is puberty.

Something else which Lizzie has not factored into her views:

Girls living in poor households are almost twice as likely to marry before 18 than girls in higher income households. More than half of the girls in Bangladesh, Mali, Mozambique and Niger are married before age 18. In these same countries, more than 75 percent of people live on less than $2 a day. [ICWR]

In her attempt to shoehorn Islam in as a factor, Lizzie (predictably) goes on to talk about the marriage to Aisha. She then gets to her crescendo where she suggests Christianity as a "solution" to child marriage.

Well this imaginary solution hasn't worked for the Christians in Uganda, Liberia and Cameroon. Clearly Christianity isn't taking anybody out of poverty so they can have the luxury of marrying their daughters off at more advanced ages.

Here's the thing, not everybody lives in a region of the world where we are free from poverty and have educational programs for males and females so they aren't left with the sole option of marrying daughters off early.

To be truly loving and thoughtful one needs to look at the context and recognise female infanticide and infanticide in general is more prevalent in poverty stricken regions as a "means" of restricting poverty in one's family.

Typically, in many cultures this would mean the male child is favoured over the female (as the male is more likely to be employable). Child brides are part of this poverty restricting option. If one imposes a Western standard on other regions which enjoy diametrically opposed socio-economic climates is in effect pushing people to infanticide (especially female infanticide) as the prospect of feeding and clothing daughters until 16, 18 or whichever arbitrary age the West impose on the said country is seen as bleak if not impossible for many.

This is why child marriage happens, let's be brutally honest. For many it’s literally a choice between child marriage or child (female) infanticide.

A faith which restricts marriage to a certain age (16 or 18) as Lizzie's Westernised form of Christianity seems to be doing (although Biblical Christianity does not) is pushing poorer people further towards female infanticide. Such a religion cannot be considered to be relevant to every culture and region. In fact, it can be argued that it is cruel to try an enforce those liberal values on to poor people in West and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Christianity in an earlier form (before the invention of Westernised/liberal Christianity) never had such a restriction. In fact its consent age is similar to that of Islam and Judaism

Here's a piece on Prophet Muhammad's marriage to Aisha. 

Lizzie and others who operate as "evangelists" would be better advised to spend their energy in helping to reduce poverty around the world rather than abusing the plight of these people through  obnoxious propaganda tactics.