Imperfect choices

There was supposed to be a ruling this afternoon about the specifics of the Jeffrey Younger/Anne Georgulas custody case in Texas, but the judge has delayed the ruling until tomorrow. While largely being ignored in the mainstream media, on many other outlets, including Breitbart, where the article has garnered over 25,000 comments.

The case is important, not just because it deals with children and transgender ideology, but because it also touches on things like parental rights, freedom of speech, religious freedom, freedom of association, as well as the very 1984-esque concept of “wrongthink”.

It’s amazing, too, because in seeing the comments in a fairly mainstream outlet, the UK Daily Mail, even people who label themselves as liberal or very liberal think this is crazy because the child at the center of this controversy is only seven.

For the people on the comment boards who are defending the mother, one of the most common refrains is that the father, supposedly, is a liar and a fraud and has been involved in questionable activities, etc. They want to equate whatever failings of the father as justification that the mother is doing what is in the “best interests” of the child.

However, the thing is that no parent is perfect, and even in happy families, parents have failings. Some are greater than others.

The thing is that these children have two parents, both of whom are imperfect. However, the path that the mother, regardless of her intention, is almost guaranteed to do lasting physical and spiritual damage to her sons. The father, on the other hand, and regardless of his other faults, seems to want to take a more sensible tack in raising his children. When we are talking about the welfare of the children, then, he should be the preferred parent. This is what matters in child welfare and custody cases.

The choices laid out before us are often not perfect or easy. These two children have two parents who both seem to have issues. Regardless, a choice has to be made.

In many ways, this reminds me of the 2016 election. Many devout Christians have gotten all sorts of flack for voting for and sticking loyally by President Trump. However, very few of them will pretend that he’s a perfect person. That’s just silly. A choice was presented to us in 2016 between Trump and Clinton. And very many of us felt that to choose Clinton, regardless of her nice words and “experience” and all, would be a vote to go down a very dangerous path, and so ended up going with the other choice of Trump. In my opinion, he’s exceeded (my admittedly low) expectations. As for loyalty, though, if Trump’s performance hasn’t been good enough, as things are shaping up for 2020, again, everyone running on the Democrat side seems to be on the same destructive course as Clinton. For me, then, the choice is already clear, as imperfect as it may be – just like the choice in this custody battle ought to be.

In the meantime, PRAY!

Sacrificing children to the gods of the age

My youngest is two years old. She loves trucks and tools and blocks, and if something in the garage needs attention, she’s out there like a little mechanic trying, alongside us, to “fix” it. It’s sweet, and we’ve really lucked out here, too, because she loves to wear the “boy” hand-me-down pajamas with the forklifts, bulldozers, and what-have-you. I’m sure a lot of the “feminists” would be proud – she’s breaking through gender-norms or some such.

The thing is, though, that as much as she enjoys the “boy” stuff, she’s all girl. Having both male and female children, it’s quite interesting to see how this plays into how they encounter the world.

There’s a case in Texas that has gotten some national and international attention (particularly in Russia). I linked to the related crowdfunding appeal here: https://orthodoxhelp.wordpress.com/2019/10/08/save-james/. In short, it’s a case where the parents are divorced, and mom believes that one of the children was showing signs of being transgender at three – and she’s petitioning the court to have the dad’s rights over the children curtailed so that she has control to allow one of the boys to start “transitioning” to female. Dad is adamantly opposed, but seems to have lost his bid for conservatorship this week.

This is frightening on a number of levels. Yes, I know that there are people who really struggle with their identities, and that it is a long, grueling, and painful struggle. However, with children, the large majority who “take on” an identity of the opposite sex will grow out of it on their own before they hit puberty. Furthermore, in this instance, it seems like the child is happy being a boy away from his mother’s influence, but puts on the female persona around her – which is not the typical behavior of someone with “gender dysphoria”.

The thing is, too, that the makers of television shows for kids and toys have been trying for years to break away from things being called “boys” or “girls”. Target and McDonald’s have both come under fire for toys labelled “boys” or “girls”. Right and left one hears about toy-makers being asked to make things less gender-exclusive, from the Easy-Bake Oven to little green soldiers.

Yet there is a duplicity about this. I’ve written a little bit about this before, again, in regards to my youngest, talking about how although she loves a typically “boy” show, and there’s a girl featured on it, there is no merchandising of that character. However, again, as a girl who likes “boy” things, she’s the type of girl who would be championed by the feminists.

The danger happens, though, when boys like the typically “girl” things. On one hand, they’re being taught that there are no “boy” or “girl” toys and that it’s a good thing to let little boys experience the more “feminine” things. On the other, when you do have little boys who then show affinity for the “girl” things, instead of it being taken in stride, the first thought is that somehow they must be gay or transgender or something. In the Texas case, the mother testified that she first suspected that her son might be transgender because, at age three, he picked the “Starfire” toy at McDonalds over the “boy” choices. I think my kids even have that toy, and if it’s the same one, Starfire is dressed as a ninja, all in black. Yes, there’s a shock of a pink ponytail in back, but for a little kid who probably thinks ninjas are cool, and that boy or girl doesn’t matter, why should this choice determine so much of the rest of his life?

Right now the West is being bombarded by a barrage of insanity under the guise of being sensitive to the LGBTQ+ crowd, and particularly in the last couple of years by the transgender “movement”. Yet when one looks at the mainstream media who are pushing this hard, it’s apparent that they don’t believe in the nonsense themselves – they’re still using standard pronouns on air, they still talk about political polling based on binary gender, they still talk about “men” and “women” and “boys” and “girls” without asking each person for affirmative consent on their preferred pronouns. (And, barring this consent, such as in the matters of small children, they don’t make an effort to talk about the child in a gender-neutral way.) Look at the Democrat forum on LGBTQ+ issues, where Kamala Harris announced that her pronouns were “she, her, and hers” and Chris Cuomo responded, “Mine too“. He felt free to do that because for so many “champions” of LGBTQ+ causes, it’s a joke; it’s not serious, they’re not serious about it themselves, but it’s a handy weapon to try to bludgeon the rest of us “rubes” with.

The judge’s final decision in Texas is due tomorrow. Just knowing that the jury ruled against the father is very discouraging for a lot of people, in particular because all he’s asking is that there be no medical intervention to transition his kid until the kid is old enough to have some idea of the ramifications. How is that not the most sensible course of action? The interesting thing is that there was a neutral advocate assigned to the case and the advocate’s thinking seemed to run roughly along the lines of the father. One would hope, then, that perhaps, considering the animosity between the parents, maybe the judge would rule that the advocate be party or have to approve any life-changing medical procedures for the boys.

Is it a long shot? Perhaps. But the thing is that even in the midst of the greatest discouragement, we are told not to give up hope and to cling all the more tightly to God. We do not understand the times or the ways, but with faith, He has a way of bringing miracles out of great evil. One of the reasons that the mother here can do this is because, at present, no state has any laws about the minimum age for a child to start “transitioning”. Maybe this case is a call for people to start contacting legislators to start writing some laws about this. Who knows. But I find it interesting – the family in Texas here is Orthodox, and the boy in question is named James after James, the brother of Jesus. The judge’s ruling is set for tomorrow, which also happens to be one of the feast days for St. James. Coincidence? Maybe. But for those of us of faith, let us continue on in prayer.

Tributes to the perpetrators of evil

I’ve been doing some family history research lately, and I happened upon a case where a distant relative seems to have been in a terrible state of mind, lured his ex-girlfriend – the mother of one of his children – to his house, killed her, set the house and other structures on his property on fire, then killed himself. What was left of their bodies had to be transported to another state for advanced DNA testing to try to identify them conclusively.

If I remember correctly, this happened in 2006. There’s still a news article related to this to be found, but the death announcement is long gone. Mind you, that’s all it was; I don’t believe that there was any sort of narrative obituary. In other words, this man’s family wasn’t going to pretend that he was a wonderful person.

This is in contrast to a couple of high-profile crimes in the last couple of years where the families of perpetrators of horrific crimes decided to run glowing obituaries of their loved ones. First there is this one, of a young man named Benjamin Morrow: https://www.ryanfuneralservice.com/notices/Benjamin-Morrow. The obituary starts out “Benjamin Douglas Morrow, age 28, went home to his Heavenly Father on March 5, 2018.” The entire obituary stresses this man’s “Christian credentials”, and paints him as a very nice guy. What the obituary fails to mention was that he died in an explosion tinkering with explosives in his apartment – what the intended use of them was is anybody’s guess. Not only that, but the explosives were deemed so unstable that everybody else who lived in his apartment building lost everything they had because the whole structure had to be burned to the ground in order to mitigate the risk of another explosion.

Another recent case of this happened just a couple months ago in Ohio, where Connor Betts, who gunned down nine people in Dayton, was glowingly remembered in an obituary written by his parents. (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/08/14/dayton-gunman-connor-betts-obituary-removed-from-website/2010108001/) In this case, the parents ended up removing it after community outrage. However, in this case, their son also killed his sister, and his parents also thought that it was somehow appropriate to have their funerals together, until, again, the outrage forced them to change plans.

No one wants to believe that they raised a monster. Most people don’t even want to admit that people they are friends with could do horrible things. It very much feels like an indictment of one’s self.

However, it is absolutely not appropriate to celebrate the lives of people who “went out” doing things that were malicious and downright evil. Sure, these are not the memories the parents have, and they will struggle for the rest of their lives trying to reconcile the innocence that they saw these children come with into the world with the malfeasance with which they exited. For themselves, they will be working on trying to balance those two realities for as long as they live.

However, in public, it is a slap in the face not just to those who suffered as a result of their loved ones’ actions, but to the community as a whole to pretend that these were somehow “wonderful” people. It is sickening because it serves as an attempt to redeem their character after dying committing horrendous crimes. It serves to say, “Hey, this person is just as much of a “nice” person as anyone else.” That is a lie. We are not judged on the basis of “nice”; we are judged on our faith in Jesus Christ, and how that faith led us to conduct our lives.

It is in the nature of an obituary to be selective about the facts presented. Often, there is as much to read into what doesn’t get said as to what does. If there has been a divorce, unless there are children from the marriage, that spouse often doesn’t get mentioned. If someone was not necessarily easy to get along with, people will do their best either not to say anything, or to find something else positive to say.

I remember being astonished, as a young child, when a family member who was known to be a difficult person died, and how all the family around seemed to have nice stories to tell involving this person. For me, there existed a disconnect, but it also helped teach me a bit about the human condition; that we all carry in us the good things and the not-so-great qualities as well.

However, in the in cases here in Beaver Dam and Dayton, the disconnect is too much; we understand that this is evil, and it was something planned and plotted and there is nothing to be gained in pretending that this wasn’t the case. If we lose that understanding, we end up with ridiculous situations like one recently in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where a cheerleading squad was denied the ability to present a tribute to a cheerleader from the squad who had been murdered in May by her ex-boyfriend, a football player from the same school. The school’s reasoning on this was they wanted to “remain neutral” on the issue, especially considering that the ex-boyfriend’s brother still plays on the football team. What the school failed to acknowledge in their “neutral” stance is that instead of being neutral, it drew a moral equivalence between the memory of the slain girl and the “right” of the family of the murderer not to have to acknowledge publicly what he did.

Acknowledging evil in ourselves and in our loved ones is an extremely painful thing to do. However, when we don’t acknowledge it for what it is, we allow it to grow. In the case of my distant relative, I think the family did the right thing insofar as they did not try to glorify this man’s life in an effort to “redeem” him for the action that caused his death. There used to be a good number of things that might lead a family not to post an obituary at all (children born out of wedlock, for example), but not only that, there were a number of things which would also make it difficult to be buried by a church (suicide is one that comes to mind immediately). I understand that much fewer people worry about their ability to be buried by their churches these days, but I do believe that part of the purpose of these rules was to reign in the very human tendency to moral equivalence, particularly when in regard to people we know and care about.

Joy as Necessity (Dancing in Iran)

As much as the Puritans had an outsized influence on American culture, I think that one of the primary things they erred in, theologically, is the notion that joy – or maybe intentional happiness – is somehow frivolous, and therefore sinful.

Joy is a necessity of life, and while it doesn’t necessarily mean that we are experiencing “happiness” all the time, it’s a sustaining force that allows us to draw from happiness something greater, something that give us hope and perspective when times are rough. People are not mindless drones, although work is an important part of life, the soul needs more than constant work, constant busyness, to be satisfied.

This is part of what makes this story so disturbing. According to the Center for Human Rights in Iran, the Education minister is cracking down on the school officials who allowed Iranian children to dance around to some music in school. https://www.iranhumanrights.org/2019/05/title-irans-education-minister-cracks-down-on-school-kids-dance-challenge/

From our perspective, it’s a sweet little video. Little kids bopping around, smiling and laughing, the way little kids do. They are experiencing one of the ways in which music touches the soul, that delight. Now, from what I can tell in the English translation, the song is far from profound, it’s meant to be more of a Eurostyle techno earworm to get people moving on the dance floor. “Shake it sexy” isn’t necessarily a phrase little kids ought to be familiar with, but that’s not what kids are doing here. It’s hardly the type of thing, with all the other serious problems Iran is dealing with right now, that needs officials up to the deputy speaker of Parliament considering a crisis worthy of investigation and punishment.

Official video of the song “Gentleman” by US-Iranian artist Sasy

The singer, Sasy, for his part, has not backed down either. It helps that he lives in California, but still, publicly standing up to Iranian officials on this matter is no little thing, and he ought to be commended.

God is Love, and in His love and in loving others, we find real, sustaining joy. Music is part of that expression, whether it be for love, for mourning, for silliness, for dance, and it is no coincidence that music is so often referenced in the Bible.

Hard-line Islam, on the other hand, shuns music. In some sense, like the Puritans, there’s kind of an idea that the soul doesn’t need joy, that one ought to operate, always, in a way that is contra to this. Yes, the Christian life, and in Orthodoxy, in particular, we are taught that we need to live in a manner that curbs the passions, but when we actually do this, it almost always brings to us a more joyful life. It is not a blanket prohibition on fun (which was a common criticism of Christians I heard as a kid).

We need joy. We need the times to be happy and the times to mourn. As the passage in Ecclesiastes says:

1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Chapter 3:1-8 (King James Version)

Even this mentions dancing, because it’s so important to the human condition, an expression of joy. May we all pray that the time for dancing in Iran be near!

If I’m not happy, then no one ought be happy

I think everyone, in the course of their lives, comes to meet the type of person who, when upset, not only lets everyone know that they are upset, but takes it as an affront if someone around them is happy and has the temerity not to be bowed by the upset person’s demands. Hopefully, you have not had to live with this type of person, as it’s an absolute nightmare. It’s tyrannical. One has to be constantly aware of the tyrant’s mood and mood swings. A wayward giggle, let loose in a moment of mistakenly letting down one’s guard, can be the impetus for a blow-up by the other, even if the momentary outburst of mirth had nothing to do with the person who is upset.

Bookworm over at Bookworm Room states the following in here most recent post “The LGBTQetc people I know are open about their hatred for traditional Christians and Jews because they view those religious traditions as homophobic.” This certainly may be true, to a large extent. However, I had two other thoughts that I think may also be valid here.

First off, there is Jesus’ promise of persecution to his followers – in John 15:18 for example, where “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” (NKJV). In a less religious sense, one could even propose that when one rejects what is represented by the Judeo-Christian God – Truth, Love, Order, to name a few – one must necessarily put themselves on the other side. And since people don’t want to think of themselves as “bad” people, those things that work to reveal that one is “bad” must be destroyed.

However, I think there’s something else too. I’m near to entering my fourth decade on this planet, and I really think that my generation was the beginning of the generation where “broken” childhoods became the norm. Of all my friends growing up, there were very few that didn’t have some sort of major trauma. It wasn’t just divorce, but divorce was often the beginning of it, but led to things like abandonment, neglect, and abuse. There was very little “safety net” of family, much less other social structures, be it church, social organizations, what have you. For the most part, the adults around us, when we were brave enough to say something, seemed to put their fingers in their ears and loudly repeat over and over again, “That can’t be true – your parents have to love you,” drowning out our voices. One of my teachers once asked our class – a very good class at a very good high school round about 1995 – how many of us lived at home with our married, biological parents. Out of the 28 or so of us, I think about three hands were raised. Of course, some of this can’t be helped. A couple kids did have parents who died. The vast majority of us were bearing scars of so much more.

The next door neighbor kids, for example… We kids knew to stay away from their dad, as he was a really mean guy. Eventually, the parents start having some troubles, and dad threatens mom with a gun, and were it not for mom’s brother and other family in the room, they were sure he would have killed her. The parents divorce, dad remarries and… second wife ends up murdered as they’re finalizing a divorce. Or a friend whose mother completely abandoned the family and whose father came after him with a samurai sword. Or even my own life where I lived in constant fear of one of the parental units, who eventually did snap, but faced very little in the way of repercussions; even when I dared to tell people what was going on, a common response was to assume that somehow I was being overdramatic, after all, “What kind of parent does that?” Hearing verse five of Don McLean’s song “American Pie”, when he sang “and we were all in one place/a generation lost in space/with no time left to start again”, it seemed as though he was better describing our generation than his.

Then again, that song really captures a lot of the chaos of the late 1960s, and this was the time in which our parents came of age. We were the first children of that, the children who were the victims of parents who had thrown off such “outdated” notions as duty and responsibility. Who were we, the children, to complain if all of these ridiculous choices they made hurt us the most? It’s not to say that people along the way haven’t always made bad choices, but it seems, for the first time, that we, as a society got to the point where it refuses to call out bad behavior about “small things” because of a crazy notion of “sounding judgemental” which morphed into not calling out bad behavior on “big things” because no one can draw a distinct line between the two.

As a result, from the kids born in the mid 1970s and sooner, a lot of us have grown up in miserable circumstances and with a really questionable sense of morality. I am sure we are a lot unhappier, as a group, than pretty much any generation (in the United States, at least) before us. It’s easy to make fun of us, particularly because it’s not like we went through a total war or famine or even material deprivation. But we grew up without those traditional “structures” – faith, family, civic pride, or what have you – that help give a person a sense that their life has purpose and meaning.

Yet, there are the people who still have that, and who still cling really, really tightly to these things. Religion is a HUGE part of that. Study after study has shown that, as a whole, actively religious people tend to be happier than non-religious people. It’s not that simply going to church makes one a happier person, but, in my opinion, that those that order their their lives around more permanent “structures” necessarily have a different perspective on life and generally don’t carry as much anguish, in particular in regard to whether this whole “life” thing can be explained as “Life’s a b****, and then you die.”

The thing is, for a lot of people then, because they are unhappy, almost unbearably so, those around them that are happier must be made to suffer. One very effective way to try to do this is to try to destroy that which makes the other happy, a function of envy. It’s like if one child receives a special present of a bicycle and another child is so angry that the bicycle does not belong to him, he’s got to break it beyond hope of repair to make the owner of the bicycle as upset as he is. And so, those institutions – church, family, civic pride – must be consistently attacked, “brought down”. The adherents must be made to see how “false” these things are, must be made to feel the pain of those who don’t have them to start out with… it’s revenge, but more than that, it’s white-hot rage of feral children against an unknown, uncaring, unfair, extremely cruel world. The LGBTQetc is a convenient premise, but even if it were “resolved” tomorrow, tomorrow already there would be another issue to use to try to tear down the “happier” people.

I think that what a lot of people miss here is that people who are happier generally build their own happiness. They learn to put their minds in a place where they can be satisfied with what they have, but also strive to make things a little better, not necessarily for themselves, but for their families, friends, and communities. The “structures” of family, faith, and civic service bind people together into cohesive societies, capable of weathering good times and bad. It is extremely difficult for those of us who really grew up without this to imagine, but these things are not exclusive to those “born with them”. Each one of us makes the decisions daily, the result of which becomes the threads of the tapestry of a life. I have seen friends of mine make horrible decisions and rail at “the system” for the consequences. But I have also seen people who have had really rough childhoods take a step back and really do better in their own adult lives. Without some sort of structure, though, this wouldn’t be possible, and the whole society would devolve into chaos. The good news is that there is hope for each one of us. 🙂

Is it Any Wonder Why the DNA Family Research Kits are so Popular?

For friends of mine in the “old country” genealogical research seems somewhat boring. After all, when your family has lived in the same village for hundreds of years, one really has a sense of family – your grandparents lived here, your great-grandparents lived here, and in one way or another, you’re probably related to everyone else somehow. (Or, when you talk about extremely isolated populations, such as the country of Iceland, where the native population is all related.) In this sort of case, the sense of family can almost be stifling. One friend of mine even commented that genealogical research is more of an “American” thing, due to there being interesting things to find.

Ancestry.com recently commissioned a poll of 2000 Americans, asking them questions about what they know about their families. Of the results, which were published in December 2018, the most shocking takeaway from the responses was that a full third of respondents didn’t know the names of all their grandparents.

Think of that. For me, it’s unimaginable, but at the same time understandable.

Now, they didn’t delve into the reasons of this, in the various articles I’ve read there’s a good bit of speculation. They talk about fewer relatives in general, who normally help preserve memories by means of oral history. The Atlantic actually tried to get a better grip on these numbers, and the people they talked to came up, basically, with the following.

1) Children often call their grandparents “Grandma” or “Grandpa” or some variant thereof.

2) Immigration and language patterns in the United States have shifted a lot; if you have children who live further from their grandparents and don’t speak the language their grandparents do, the relationships are probably not nearly as close.

3) The third, here, is euphemistically called the emergence of “a variety of family structures”. Included here are “single parenting, assisted reproductive technology, divorces, non-marital child-rearing, adoption, and blended families.” I guess “divorce” itself is too common, but I think it deserves mention as well, because even if the parents don’t begin new relationships, there’s almost inevitably a strict separation into the relatives which “belong” to each parent. Even I remember being small and having events, like birthday parties, where relatives on both sides of the family attended. For a child, especially, it helps create a large sense of “family”; after a divorce, normally one parent has physical custody longer than the other, events are planned according to when parents “have” the kids, each according to his or her time with the children. In the best-case scenario, you have parents who can do something together with their children, but still that coming together of families wouldn’t occur. And so, rather than the sense of family being stifling, it disappears almost completely.

I remember the mantra of the 1980s, “It’s better for the kids to live with parents who are happily divorced than unhappily married.” But with the attitudes that marriage doesn’t mean anything, not only do you have a breakdown of the traditional, nuclear family, but those bonds which children would typically have with their extended family are also more strained, or even broken, through no fault of children or of their extended family. Yet we see over and over and over that people have an almost innate need to find their family, their “tribe”, if you will, even if when they were happy as an adopted member of another family. Therefore, as this “belonging” has been robbed from the last couple of generations in such a terrible way, it makes perfect sense that so many people are seeking to find that place, their family, even when the path to this is through such means as at-home DNA analyses.

Daily Mail Hit-Piece on Religious Practice

The Daily Mail, a newspaper from the United Kingdom, and one of the most widely-read online newspapers in the world, recently posted the story of an Indian girl by the name of Aradhana Samdhariya, a 13-year-old who died, allegedly as the result of taking part of a religious fast. The article begins thus:

“A 13-year-old girl died in Hyderabad after she was forced to fast for 64 days as part of a community ritual of fasting during the holy period of Chaturmas.

The city police launched an inquiry into the incident after a child rights NGO demanded a probe.”

Chaturmas is a Jain period of fasting, but not knowing much about Jainism (about .4% of Indians identify as Jains), I have no idea what this fasting entails. Orthodox Christians, for example, often fast by reducing the amount of food eaten and eliminating certain foods, but it is almost unheard of to try to completely abstain from food during all the Orthodox fasting periods. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast completely, but only from sunup to sundown. Unfortunately, no explanation of what a typical fast for Chaturmas looks like is provided. In one book reference I found, albeit referencing Chaturmas in a Hindu context, it describes the Chaturmas fast as a period of cutting back, not necessarily of eating nothing for the entire period.

The article also says the girl was forced to participate by the family and community. However, in a Reuters article covering the same topic, it states that, according to the parents, the girl was a willing participant, and that she had completed a similar fast last year.

One huge discrepancy between the two articles is that the Daily Mail claims that the girl was only in the third day of the fast when her blood pressure dropped precipitously, and was then taken to the hospital, where she died. The Reuters article claims that everyone was already celebrating the end of the fast, which had been completed the day before the girl died. If the Daily Mail is correct, it is almost certain that another medical issue was at play here, as a healthy 13-year-old would probably be hungry from not eating anything for three days, but may even handle it better than an adult. As for the longer number, one has to assume that it wasn’t a complete fast, and without further information, it’s hard to make any judgement on what actually happened.

I also put the following things out for consideration: This girl lived in India. From the pictures, she was quite beautiful, and it looks as though her family treated her well. Consider, too, that in India, daughters are often considered a liability, and by their teens, many are working in terrible conditions trying to survive or have been married off. This girl was still attending school – a Catholic one at that – and was in the 10th grade. In this type of culture, had the parents not cared, why go through the bother and expense of educating her? Was no one at her school aware of what was going on? Again, this is a point where the articles differ, but the Daily Mail also claims that once the girl’s blood pressure dropped, she was taken to the hospital. If this was truly murder, as some have characterized it, why go through the trouble and expense.

The fact of the matter is is that this type of story is written and disseminated in large part to try to discredit religion and to ridicule those observing religious practice outside of designated places of worship. The Daily Mail piece is self-contradictory and poorly written, but serves as a place for commenters to denounce religion and congratulate themselves for being so ‘reasonable’ rather than religious. For this reason, I consider the article a ‘hit-piece’. Considering all the children in India who live in deplorable conditions, I have a hard time understanding why this case is garnering so much attention, including calls from an NGO to have the parents arrested for murder and their other daughters removed from their custody. The Reuters article even has a quote from an area politician. Call me cynical, but when the politicians get involved, it leads me to suspect that the uproar over this case may have more to do with certain Hindu political factions that are intolerant of minority religions in India more than anything else.

The sad thing is that sometimes children will die, some even in ‘preventable’ deaths. But even in the case of ‘preventable’ deaths, it doesn’t mean that a death was deliberate or could have been foreseen. This is a tragic story, yes, but hardly the outrage that many seem to make it out to be.

(As for outrage and barbaric practices involving children, check out this story pertaining to Ashura Warning: extremely disturbing images), also from India and reported by the Daily Mail as well as highlighting India’s minority religions, but which the Daily Mail has no ‘expert’ or politician denounce.)