Photo source: Reuters, via Vatican Radio
We call it “modern slavery.”
“It” is the business of buying and selling people.
Pope Francis hosted a group of religious leaders from many faiths who signed a pledge against modern slavery. Signatories included representatives from the Shai and Sunni Muslims, Buddhism, Orthodox, Jewish and Anglican faith traditions.
I once did something similar to this. I hosted a luncheon for Oklahoma’s faith leaders, including many Protestant denominations, Orthodox, Catholic, Buddhist, and Muslim.
I think that something like this could really change things, but it takes going forward. One event, one signing or one document, won’t do it.
I am proud of Pope Francis for taking this first great step and for uniting the leaders of these faiths in this call for an end to human trafficking It is the essential first step to this change.
From Vatican Radio;
(Vatican Radio) An unprecedented gathering of religious leaders from all corners of the globe took place in the Vatican on Tuesday for the signing of a joint declaration against modern slavery. Pope Francis joined Anglican, Orthodox, Jewish, Shia and Sunni Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist representatives in the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, together with two young trafficking victims from Mexico and Ghana. Philippa Hitchen reports…..
No-one knows the exact number of men and women, boys and girls who are trafficked into prostitution, forced labour or the trade in human body parts. Some estimates put the figure as high as 35 million, but as one participant pointed out, it’s not the numbers that matter as much as the fact that every single one of those people could be your brother or sister, my son or daughter.
When the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby first met Pope Francis in 2013, they identified the scourge of human trafficking as one of the most urgent priorities for both of their Churches today. Less than a year later, the ecumenical Global Freedom Network was set up to try and harness the commitment of believers around the world for practical action to eradicate this modern slavery by the year 2020.
This gathering of religious leaders in the Vatican today represents around 90 percent of the world’s population and the declaration they signed commits their communities to working together for the freedom of all people and an end to this lucrative trade in human life. In his words to the group, Pope Francis called it an absurd evil and a crime against humanity….
Following the teachings of the Catholic Church means that you will always be on the right side of history, which is the side of human dignity.
The core assumption of abortion is that the laws we write have the power to determine who is human.
It leads to the secondary assumption that if our laws say that a whole segment of the human population is not human enough to be worthy of the most basic human right of all human beings — the right to life — then that is, because the law says it, true.
This is a lie, and on this lie abortion builds its house.
Human trafficking is like sex-selected abortion in that it gets caught up in the culture wars. This video shows the Catholic Church’s clear stand against human trafficking.
Do you read the stories?
Christians burnt alive, beheaded, stabbed, crucified, shot, gunned down. Christians tortured, imprisoned, raped, sold into slavery. Christians unable to work, forbidden to worship, forbidden to train new priests. Bibles, crucifixes, religious medals banned.
Have you lived the discrimination?
Christians mocked, ridiculed, belittled, slandered. Christians constantly forced to defend their faith in the face of aggressive jerks who feel an entitlement to force their way into private conversations, push themselves onto web sites and chat rooms to denounce the faith and belittle anyone who has the temerity to refer to Christ in public.
Have you seen the bigotry?
Christianity and Christ Himself, belittled, slandered, mocked, reviled and constantly lied about in a repetitive way by people who evidently feel an entitlement to leapfrog into any discussion or situation and unburden themselves of their verbal offal.
Have you seen this? Are you aware of it? Do you understand what it means?
We are at a fulcrum. If we do not stand for Christ now, here, in America, there is a tsunami of persecution out there under the water, waiting for all Christians, everywhere, including here.
It is time, it is past time, for us to stop sniping at one another over our narcissistic God ownership issues.
I am a Public Catholic. People who hate Jesus, or people who hate the Catholic Church, often seem to view me as the receptacle for their hatred and spleen. I think I may have heard every repetitive, factually inaccurate bit of pamphleteering claptrap anybody ever used to attack Christianity, Jesus, or the Catholic Church. I’ve heard it all. Several times a week. For years.
I do not reply in kind. I try to answer what are unreasonable attacks with reason. I use facts against lies. I do my best to answer gently and to keep on answering, even if it means I have to say the same things over and over again.
I never, ever, ever try to poke holes in other Christian’s beliefs. I do not feel called to deliver long-winded analyses as to why their particular denomination is wrong. I don’t do it because I think this kind of behavior is both nonsensical and destructive.
I am going to say this as clearly as I can:
There is only one Jesus.
We are all brothers and sisters in Christ.
I’ve said before on this blog that I think that if we had the power to judge, no one would ever go to heaven. We’d all condemn one another to hell. I believe that’s the truth of it.
We are fallen people, living in a fallen world. These attacks on one another at a time when we need to unite and stand together are a symptom of the burden of original sin that we all carry. They are, to be blunt, the devil’s work, his weapon against us that we use on one another. If we are arguing over these silly things with one another, we are also wasting time, energy and intellect that we could be using to speak for Christ.
Almost all the attacks on the Catholic Church which I have to deal with are based on claims that are factually untrue. The same goes for the many attacks that I hear against Christianity as a whole and Jesus in particular.
I believe that in both instances — the attacks on the Church, and the attacks on Christianity — the people who do it are really acting out their own narcissism. If they were even slightly interested in the truth they would have checked these things out themselves.
Christianity is aggressively attacked all over the world, including here in America. It is ignoble that we are arguing over whose church is the best while Christians are dying for Jesus in Africa, the Middle East, Indonesia, and parts of Asia.
Millions of Christians will go to sleep tonight under the blood moon of Persecution. Christians in America allow Jesus to be mocked reviled and slandered and duck their heads in shameful silence. The courts push every mention of Christianity to the corners of life. The HHS Mandate puts the government itself in the business of forcing the church to abandon its teachings or face crippling government fines.
What does it take to get our attention?
If we don’t stop bickering among ourselves and stand for Christ as one redeemed Christian people, we may well be the generation that lets freedom of religion pass from the face of the earth.
It is time, it is past time, for us to grow beyond our narcissistic claims of God ownership on behalf of our various denominations. It is time for Christians to stand together.
One of my best friends is a former prostitute/drug dealer/drug addict/alcoholic.
Despite this, I don’t think she would be a star lecturer at Yale.
Prostitutes/porn stars/pimps are welcome to lecture at an annual Yale event called Sex Week. According to an August 21 article by Nathan Harden in The Daily Beast, prostitutes, porn stars and other sex industry promoters are not only welcome at Yale, their “lectures” are billed as “sex education.” The article, When Sex Isn’t Sexy: My Bizarre Education at Yale University, says in part:
And what do porn stars Sasha Grey, Ron Jeremy, and Buck Angel have in common? They are just a few of the many sex industry personalities who have been invited to lecture or “educate” Yale students in the last few years.
When the average person thinks of Yale University, sex probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Nevertheless, in recent years Yale has positioned itself as a leader in a radical new form of sex education, complete with sex toy pageants, porn star lectures, sadomasochism seminars, and fellatio demonstrations. What does any of that have to do with the mission of Yale University? That’s the question I set out to answer in my new book, Sex & God at Yale: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.
Based on Mr Hardin’s article, Sex Week sounds as if it’s all about porn star power and sex industry self-promotion. However, the event organizers do attempt to put an occasional gloss of balance on the proceedings.
For instance, Gail Dines, professor of sociology at Wheelock College, and Carolyn Bronstein, professor of communications at DePaul University, debated the issue of pornography with various sex industry representatives in 2011. Sex Week hosted another debate in 2008 in which Pastor Craig Gross who runs a support site for pornography addicts debated a pornographic film star.
My friend might be invited to debate a porn star in an isolated event demonstrating that all viewpoints are allowed. But I don’t think her overall message would be given any serious platform at Yale’s Sex Week.
The reason for my doubt is that she is a “fallen” prostitute.
She had an encounter with Jesus Christ. You know — one of those knock-you-flat-in-the-middle-of-the-road conversion experiences that prove to those who experience them that God is real, He’s here and He does care about us.
In one moment of grace, she lost her cravings for alcohol and drugs and became a new person in Christ. She “fell” from the glitzy glam of the sex industry straight into the boring straight life of love, fidelity, trust and giving to others.
It’s an old story; two thousand years old, to be exact. My friend the former prostitute is now an anti-prostitution crusader. She founded a ministry, All Things New, that is dedicated to rescuing women who are trapped in the degrading, destructive world of prostitution.
All Things New helps women escape from the pimps and porn-pushers who beat, sell, use and discard them like yesterday’s garbage. She shields women who have been trafficked, women who are running from pimps, women who have lived their lives as things to be used and abused for so long that they’ve lost all knowledge of themselves as full human beings.
She doesn’t require these women to convert, to profess Christ or to accept any faith. All that they need to get her help is a desire to get out. And they come. More than she can house, more than she can help; they come. Women who were grabbed off the street, those who were lied to and forced into prostitution then trafficked from one country to the next. Other women who slid into it voluntarily because a pimp they thought was their boyfriend seduced them, “groomed” them, then “seasoned” them into it.
If they let my friend near at mike at Yale a whole lot of ugly truth about what prostitution really is would come rolling out. Those who heard her would have three choices: Ignore her, shut her up or change their ways.
She would be a major downer at Sex Week, no doubt about it. But anyone who told the unvarnished truth would be. How many cheering studs would want to hear what “sex work” really is?
Do they want to know that according to the FBI, between 200,000 and 300,000 children in America are forced into prostitution at any given time, that the average age of these new recruits is 13? Do they want to hear that their life expectancy is 7 years?
How many lecture halls would fill with eager students if they heard about the beatings, the rapes, the murders, the dreadful fear of being caught talking to anyone but a john, the punishments for trying to escape? Who wants to know that by buying porn and backing prostitution they increase the market for international sex trafficking of women and children?
How much truth is actually spoken at Sex Week? Do they manage at this elite university to make the point that the sex industry is a glitzy front and promoter of a massive, world-wide violation of the human rights of half the people on this planet?
Not according to Mr Hardin:
Sex Week debases what was once a great educational institution into a base driver and promoter of darkest misogyny.
There is one issue that Mr Hardin raised in his article that Yale has noted:
Criticisms such as this must have taken a bite. Yale ended the sex industry’s corporate sponsorship of the event. However Sex Week itself goes on. I would guess that the Yale idea of female exploitation and misogyny masquerading as education and academic freedom continues along with it.
As for my friend, I don’t expect that a message like hers will be given serious consideration at Sex Week anytime soon. Her message is not what they’re selling.
She talks about the saving light of grace; about life and love, about living clean and whole in Christ.
What they’re selling, at $54,086 per year, is the pit.