Friday, October 07, 2005

Be a Man! Work for Gender Equality

Just read a morally enraging piece by Daniel Pipes about "Sex Tourism" in India involving young girls. One of the things that I've always appreciated about Baha'i teaching on the necessity of gender equality is that men have a religious and moral responsibility to promote it. It is not just a passive acceptance that women are our equals, but active involvement in transforming the social order that is required. It is also not simply a case of political correctness or conforming to post-modern or "Western" social norms. For a Baha'i man it springs from his love for God and is an act of obedience. Sadly, that the men in the article are manipulating "loop-holes" in religious laws to justify their behavior speaks to the Baha'i view that traditional religious institutions are in a state of decline just as great as secular institutions. Such systemic, religiously sanctioned hypocrisy is one of the reasons that at the very moment in human history when the positive influence of religion is most needed, many people have ceased looking to religion for spiritual or moral guidance regarding the challenges of the day.