Death and the Hijab

In the news is the trial(s) of the family in which the daughter (age 16) was killed by her father for not wearing a hijab. This essay puts this as in part an issue of the meeting of the rights of parents to exert their policy on their family. Now on the outset it seems clear that it is not right for a parent to kill their children as part of “raising them right.” But is this what Christians believe?

For there on the other side of the coin, is the case of St. Sophia whose memory and example is held up as exemplary and righteous by pretty much all Christians who reverence Saints (specifically Roman and Eastern rites). Absent the pietistic elements of this story, the gist of it for comparison with the above is that St. Sophia had three daughters, named Faith, Hope, and Love. In a time when Christianity was illegal they didn’t conceal their faith and were arrested and sentenced to death. The mother, Sophia, urged her daughters to not abandon their belief and they were killed right in her presence. She then was permitted to take them away, buried them, and died just days later praying at their graveside.

There is, of course, an important difference in these two cases. While both parents, Mr Parvez and St. Sophia approved of the killing of their child, Mr Parvez instigating the killing while St. Sophia encouraged her daughters to do nothing she would not be willing herself to do … and not deny their faith. However there are similarities. Both parents decided that the death of their child was righteous. Christians (and Muslims) look to martyrs as exemplars of their faith. Many, I would guess, wonder if faced with martyrdom how they might respond and hope that they would have the courage of their conviction to be named as such. However, as a parent, it seems a far different sort of courage to ask your 8 year old to walk the same plank (or as St. Sophia did, to walk it before you).

I’ve dinged the liberal/pro-abortion crowd for their discontinuity of stance in holding that the woman has the wisdom to choose when they, at the same time, deny that neither men nor women have the wisdom, for example, to do any number of other things, e.g., plan for retirement. Turnabout is fair play. The Christian right is inconsistent when we claim a mother can be praised for holding to her (and her children’s beliefs) in martyrdom while claiming that a family (or mother) does not have the right to allow abortion if that is consistent with their beliefs. The only stickler here, that I see, is that by and large it isn’t on account of any belief that children are aborted, but expedience, which to understate it, is not exactly the same thing.

Update I didn’t see the news story (or apparently read the post above closely enough) apparently the young lady is in critical condition not dead.

4 responses to “Death and the Hijab

  1. I’ve dinged the liberal/pro-abortion crowd for their discontinuity of stance in holding that the woman has the wisdom to choose when they, at the same time, deny that neither men nor women have the wisdom, for example, to do any number of other things, e.g., plan for retirement.

    It’s not a question of wisdom.

  2. JA,
    I see, you’d give women the right to an abortion while also thinking they haven’t the sense to know when it’s appropriate? That makes no sense.

  3. Obviously, I’m talking about women who are mentally competent to make such a decision. Like all medical decisions, the barrier for “mental competency” is set pretty low because we as a society are understandably reticent to make someone’s medical decisions for them. We don’t, as a society, trust that the woman will make the “right” decision, because there is no “right” decision. It’s her body, so it’s her right to choose. We have, however, decided to overrule her “wisdom” about at which point we consider the fetus/baby no longer abortable — whether we draw that line at viability or birth, at some point we do not “trust” her “wisdom.”

    Regarding retirement planning, it’s not a question of wisdom, either. As you well know, social security payments are not merely the lump sum earned by a person throughout his working life plus interest. It’s money from today’s earners going to today’s retirees. If today’s retirees had simply invested their money which went to social security taxes, some would have gotten lucky (or been unusually gifted) and ended up with more, most would have ended up with less, and a huge number would end up with much less.

  4. In other words, the debate about social security is really a debate about whether government is allowed to redistribute wealth by taxation. It has nothing to do with wisdom or trust.

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