All this talk about Islam lately has made me want to join the conversation. Please let me know if I sound like a ****. I'd like to get it out of my system here, rather than spew more garbage in "the real."
For all the talk about how the parts of Islam that seem to run counter to women's rights, all I can think of is, "no matter how well intentioned, it's nobody's choice except for the individual women themselves." Rights are, at least in theory, not something that can be given or taken away by others.
So, if a Muslim woman chooses to cover her hair or face, then it has to be her choice. Not her family's choice. Not her husband's choice.
If a Muslim woman is afraid for her safety, and wants to go out in public only when a male escort is available, then that's her choice. It can't (shouldn't) be made for her.
When I hear comments about how not all Muslims are so restrictive, I always wait for the next few sentences. Either "I let my wife do this," or "I don't make my wife or daughter do that." The other side of the coin is "My husband or father let's me/doesn't make me..." That's infuriating to me.
Look, there is some absurdly terrible stuff in each of the Big Three holy books. There is a great deal of absurdly horrible stuff that has sprung up out of those books. But I will not judge whole groups of people based on what's written in those books. Because nobody. Christian, Muslim, or Jew can follow everything that's written in those books to the letter. People pick and choose. So-called "moderates" seem to take the positive aspects while leaving out the negative. Please note that I know "positive" and "negative" are very subjective, but I'm almost positive (heh heh) that you know what I mean. "The stuff about being kind to others is important. The stuff about stoning people who work on Saturday and curse at their parents? Not so much." So-called "extremists" do the opposite. "Yeah, there's a lot of stuff that says that we should be peaceful, but dammit, these parts say we can kill and **** these people and I would LOVE to do that!"
Modern Islam is, by and large, not nearly as moderate as Modern Christianity. Excluding the extremists (on both "sides,") Islam is more restrictive than Christianity.
Is every Muslim a terrorist? No. Are most? No. Are there still a LOT of things in modern Islam that people can (and should) take issue with?
Here's where I think I'm going to get in trouble. YES. I don't need to be AFRAID of Muslims to take issue with Islam, or even with individual Muslims. I don't think that (even having the option of) taking away individual rights should be accepted as a "cultural difference."
Oh, but wait, I've ignored the pedophile priests in the Catholic church, haven't I?
I'm sure this idea has been floated before, but I'll just toss it out there. I don't think that being a pedophile is something you can help. I doubt that many people just up and think, "You know what? I think I'm gonna **** kids. See how that works out for me." I'll bet that some people who start to get feelings that they KNOW they'll be condemned for try to hide it. But how? They could resist the urges. But as they get older, people will start to wonder why they rarely (if ever) date and why they aren't married. They could get married, but that might lead to problems down the line. So, they have to find a way that they can stay celibate and not arouse (hee hee) suspicion. And so, they decide, "I'll become a priest!"
And it worked for a long time, it worked! But repressing those feelings for so long...forever, people slip. And a lot of people DID slip. But, thinking it was an isolated incident, it always got covered up. That's the thing about cover-ups, rarely do people go around talking about them. So, it's possible that nobody knew the scope of the problem until it was too late.
Of course, by now, it's almost become a cliche. So, in all honesty, there are probably some people that have become priests JUST so they could molest children.
But, keep in mind, the Church doesn't try to say that what these people did was ALRIGHT. They don't say that they were doing God's work. The scandal is that it was covered up, not that it was approved. So, while the buracracy of the Church deserves whatever punishment it gets, it's not really a problem with the core theology of Christianity.