Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Abu Ghraib

Joel Belz did not go far enough in his May 22, 2004 editorial in World Magazine, not even in the subtitle, which would better read, "Abu Ghraib is the fruit our culture has spent MORE than a generation preparing."

I would add another question to those he proposed: "What boneheaded decision-making does it take to fall back on the politically correct policy of assigning any young man—even one who is discreet and wise—the task of serving as a guard in a prison holding hundreds of women?" That is, of course, exactly what we have done, in America, as long as I can remember. We ignore the resultant rapes and abuses of women by male prison guards, to the point that we have become jaded and the topic has become too passe and cliche-ridden to bother speaking of any more.

Despite that, in our attempts to be oh-so-politically correct, we in America put male nurses in charge of comatose, helpless, and disabled women patients, and then we hire male gynecologists to treat the inevitable venereal diseases and pregnancies that result from those rapes. Once in a while, like in the case of a husband who was angry about being billed for an abortion when he hadn't even visited his comatose wife in over a year, there is some fleeting mention of this "problem", but no one dares suggest the obvious, but politically incorrect, idea of protecting women patients from male nurses and orderlies. Even more so, no one seems to worry about how we can keep our male soldiers (who are trained to chant "This is my weapon, this is my gun; one is for shooting, one is for fun") from raping fellow soldiers and the women they are supposedly "liberating".

This is not a problem that arose in just our generation.

But now, to make matters worse, we have become a culture where porn is mainstream, where a male entertainer can show up at an awards show with two scantily clad women on dog leashes---and the only public criticism that ensues is directed against feminists for not "getting" the "sexy fashion statement".

As one woman commented in an online discussion, "The pictures [from Abu Ghraib] didn't shock me at all. I think that's maybe because I see much worse on my boyfriend's computer when I walk into the room. I just don't get why it's 'sexy' when the naked bodies are women, but it's shocking and abusive when the naked bodies are men."

It may be politically correct to focus on the woman prison guard while trying to ignore (or attempting to diminish as "hijinks") the groping of Islamic women forced into the horrible indignity of having to disrobe in front of male prison guards. However, we as Christians should have the sense of integrity and justice to put this latest scandal into its true cultural and historical context. We should not be intimidated by political correctness and tradition. We need to begin asking, "What boneheaded decision making does it take to put a male in charge of defenseless women and when are going to stop letting foxes guard henhouses?" Then, perhaps, we can deal with the ethics and wisdom of putting women prison guards in charge of men.

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