Equality From the Beginning
Women in western countries can’t begin to appreciate the debt they owe Judeo-Christian values. While there are always improvements to be made to the human condition, for males and females, in the earliest pages of the Bible, God established the equality of sexes. In the very first chapter of Genesis God said He created male and female in His own image and charged them both to have dominion over all things on the earth.
Throughout time, mankind has deviated from honoring this divine assignment in many ways. Often it has been the religious establishment discriminating against the daughters of Eve, but regardless of the acts of man, God has continued to honor women. His regard for women is recorded in the Bible – throughout His relationship with His chosen people and the beginning of the Church Age. This tradition of the equality of the sexes is the platform on which women in western cultures stand, even as they turn away from other traditions of the Bible.
Women in western countries march in the street for their rights and for the rights of women everywhere, but sometimes they seem unaware of the privileges they already enjoy. They stand under clever signs created out of the bounty of their education with their hair blowing in the wind, each wearing whatever their personal taste dictates. They drive themselves to the protest in cars they bought with loans in their own name. If they are married, they chose their own husband or significant other. If they are women of faith, they may practice their own religion rather than following what their father or husband believes, with little fear of retribution. Women in The Middle East and Central Asia often dare not even dream of these freedoms.
While some of the critics of western policies point to generous laws in third world countries, which promise paid leave when a child is born or quote constitutions which specifically name women as equal under the law, many of these brave benefits and laws are merely window dressing for countries which still hide their women behind a veil or allow honor murders and genital mutilations. The words of the laws and the constitutions in no way reduce the burden of subjugation most women in The Middle East and Central Asia suffer.
The subjugation of women in many The Middle East and Central Asia countries is so entwined in the male-dominated culture that it really doesn’t matter what UN Treaty a country votes to accept or what their constitution says. The women there are second class citizens with no hope, no rights, and no privacy. If a daughter is slain for the family’s honor, according to religious traditions the government recognizes, what mother considers maternity leave a fair recompense for her loss?
The Muslim faith, the foundation on which these cultures are built, has a tradition of Sharia Law – a law focused on absolute obedience to a strict code of conduct. The literature of Islam assigns a second class role to women and tradition shoves these women even further into the background. They are completely under the control of the men in their lives, and for most living out this tradition, it is not a benevolent stewardship.
Stuck in Tradition
For too many women in The Middle East and Central Asia, it really doesn’t matter what the laws say, because these women will never hear a whisper of any political laws offering freedom. They will only know the religious impediments imposed upon them. From an early age, they are closeted with the other women in the household. If they receive any education at all, it is the bare rudiments. As soon as possible they are taught their chores and begin a slave-like existence. Marriages can be arranged and performed long before puberty. Even if the marriage is not consummated, they may go into the house of their husband to serve their mother-in-law, the same way they served at home, but with harsher taskmasters.
It is into this atmosphere satellite broadcasting has been introduced. Families that once knew nothing about the world beyond their village suddenly have the opportunity to see beyond the borders of their country. Much of the programming is in foreign languages the viewers don’t even understand. They merely like the noise and pageantry playing in their living room. If there are programs in their own language, chances are they are programs of religious and political indoctrination. GHM can show you footage of small children marching in a circle, singing of the beauty of martyrdom to Allah.
Imagine the wonder of these women who tune into our programs, aired in Azerbaijani, Uzbek, and Turkmen. Beautiful, well-groomed women with smiles on their faces, talk about a God who loves women as much as He does men, and who not only offers the hope of heaven, but the assurance of it – without the need to suffer a martyr’s death and in dying take innocent lives. How can an oppressed woman ignore this evidence of a life beyond her own? The smiles alone are a testimony of the fact that there is a life beyond what these oppressed viewers can even imagine.
Help Reap the Harvest
You can partner with Global Heart Ministries to fulfill The Great Commission in this generation in The Middle East and Central Asia. Together we can bring the light and the truth of Jesus Christ right into the living rooms of every deceived child, every oppressed woman, and every hurting home. This is our message. This is our call.
We invite you to join this vision as a volunteer, a prayer warrior, or a financial donor. Contact us today by phone or email. Let us know how you’d like to partner with us as we reach out to the Most Unreached Regions of the World.