Humane: Do Some Good
Your belief system can be a powerful force for good - or - for evil. Is your belief system built by you or have you allowed someone else to build it for you?
None of us are born with a ready-made set of beliefs embedded on our hearts. However, we do come equipped with a moral code instilled in our humanity, that code that prevents most of us from committing anti-social behaviors like murder, thievery, and violence. We build our belief system on those basic principles. Timeless adages like, “Do no harm”; “Protect the weak”; and one of my favorites that shows good old horse sense: “Leave the wood pile higher than you found it”, steer our lives toward spreading goodwill and preventing conflict.
Yet, we humans continue to foment evil acts, ignoring our common moral code.
The Economist ran an article on October 18, 2014 entitled, To Have and To Hold, in which you will find modern-day religious reasons for enslaving fellow humans, especially women and children. What’s most interesting, however, is that the reasons are based on ancient religious writings, some of which are taken straight from the Bible. In fact, the article starts right off by quoting a passage from Deuteronomy 20:10-20. Here is an excerpt:
THE holy book is clear about what to do when you capture a city: “Put to the sword all the men in it”. As for the women and children, “You may take these as plunder for yourselves.” This is pretty much the advice that the fighters of Islamic State (IS) seem to have followed in the Sinjar area of northern Iraq, peopled largely by members of the Yazidi faith, that the jihadists seized last month. Reports by the UN and independent human-rights groups suggest that the invaders executed hundreds of Yazidi men and kidnapped as many as 2,000 women and children.
Any doubt as to the fate of these captives was dispelled by the latest issue of IS’s glossy English-language online magazine, Dabiq. An article titled “The Revival of Slavery Before the Hour” details religious justifications for reintroducing a practice that ended in all but a few Muslim countries more than a century ago. It claims not only that the Koran, the sayings of the prophet and traditional Islamic law all endorse the enslavement of infidel women captured in wartime, but that the abandonment of this right has caused sin to spread; men are easily tempted to debauchery when denied this “legal” alternative to marriage.
Better yet, the article grimly enthuses, the prophet himself foretold that one of the signs of the Hour—the end of the world—was when “the slave girl gives birth to her master.” This obviously means that concubines are needed to breed soldiers for jihad. Therefore, explains the writer, the victorious warriors of Sinjar divided the Yazidi women and children among themselves, “after one fifth of the slaves were transferred to the Islamic State’s authority as khums”, ie, the share of booty surrendered to early Muslim commanders.
Did you know that modern-day slavery exists in every corner of the world? You might say, “But I never see any slaves. Where are they? Certainly not in my town!” Well, you might be surprised to know that slaves are suffering bondage right here in America. You won't see them trudging down the street in chains, but please know that thousands are behind closed doors in homes, businesses, and hotels.
Please visit the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center if you’re ever in Cincinnati, Ohio. You can learn about our nation’s history and what’s going on right now with slavery in America and around the world. If you’re not in the Cincinnati area, you can make a virtual visit to their End Slavery Now project and find out how you can identify modern-day slavery and help to prevent it.