Saturday, March 31, 2007

Cherry-Picking is my Religion

Another cool story from Germany. In this case, a female judge in Frankfurt (aka the ugliest city in the world) refused a Morrocan immigrant woman's request for a divorce on the grounds that her husband beat her, citing the fact that the Koran allows men to beat their wives.

OK, obviously this is an illegal ruling. Germany (unlike - ahem - some annoying countries) does not generally recognize cultural traditions in legal matters (unless they're Catholic traditions and it's in Bavaria). If the law in Germany says you can't beat your wife (which it does, especially if you're a "right-winger") - then you can't beat your wife, no matter how much time you spent reading the Koran on the jon.

All the same, there's a mean streak in me that wants to support this on the general grounds that people should have to face up to their own dumb decisions. If this woman is a muslim and has a muslim marraige (which she is, and did), and muslim marriages allow for wife-beating, then in some important sense she gave her consent when she adopted her silly religion and married according to its backward dictates. Because honestly - is there anything in the world more annoying than people who pick and choose bits of religions to believe in? So the Koran is God's Holy Law, dictated word-for-word to His Prophet - bucept for those parts I don't like - He was just kidding about them?

Now, if the lesson she's learned from all this is that Islam is dumb and backward and something she wants nothing more to do with - i.e. roughly Hirsi Ali's conclusion - then I'm right behind her. But if the lesson is "oh, gee, one or two things in this religion don't work out so well for me - but I still believe that Allah lives in the sky and writes bestseller self-help books that are near-absolute law," then she's a troglodyte and largely deserves her fate (illegal though it be - and should be).

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