This morning’s Boston Globe has an opinion piece on what pretty much all of us agree is one of the greatest scourges in the world today: the continued existence of slavery. The notion that one human being can own another is one of the most repugnant conventions in human history, and the fact that most of the world has repudiated and outlawed it is one of the greatest accomplishments of the modern age.
But one can’t simply condemn slavery without mentioning the religious aspect of it. As the author notes, all three of the world’s largest religions — Christianity, Islam, and Judaism — all tacitly endorse slavery in their sacred texts. That is a huge obstacle to overcome, as many of those of baser instincts will use that to justify their behavior.
What the author fails to mention, however, is that that particular battle is two-thirds won. Christianity has been anti-slavery for about a century, and Judaism for far longer. In fact, the only religion currently being used to justify slavery is Islam.
Note that the examples Dr. Brooten cite are all involving Muslims. Muslims taking slaves, Muslims selling slaves, Muslims owning slaves, Muslims exploiting slaves.
At the end, though, Dr. Brooten’s biases come out. Not only must the out-and-out abolishment of one human being owning another be abolished, but we also must rework the labor market, “reproductive rights,” our criminal system, and even “reparations” for past offenses.
Apparently to Dr. Brooten, the fact that “(w)omen’s access to reproductive health services varies by race and economic status” is just as offensive and horrific as Saudi royalty’s tendency to abuse, mistreat, rape, and even kill their servants.
I don’t know if Dr. Brooten sincerely believes that these are all of equal offensiveness, or if she’s just afraid of mentioning the elephant in the room — that Islam is the only religion currently being used to rationalize slavery.
And I just don’t really care.