Archive for the tag “Marty Duren”

Broadening the discussion on injustice

Have you seen Gary Haugen’s new book, The Locust Effect? It gets down to a thorny issue at the heart of the constant battle against poverty.

marty-durenMarty Duren writes at Kingdom In The Midst:

A recent interview in Christianity Today hit me between the eyes. Why We’re Losing the War on Poverty featuring Gary Haugen of the International Justice Mission is a blunt evaluation of our efforts to fight injustice, specifically sex trafficking. Haugen, a former DOJ and UN investigator, says:

You can look to the struggle against slavery in the 19th century, to the struggle against child labor, to the civil rights movement. In each, the church had a critical role in not only being an advocate, but also deploying specialized expertise and skills in the work of justice. At the turn of the 20th century, the amazing police reform in New York City was influenced by a Presbyterian minister, Charles Henry Parkhurst.

Throughout history are hidden other stories of Christians taking up their biblical, prophetic role—not of seizing governmental power, but of using their power as citizens and their moral voice to ensure that the state’s power was used to protect the weakest. In Scripture, God’s people exhort the rulers, the authorities, to exercise their power with justice. The fight for law enforcement is now being engaged in the developing world. The violence manifest in the developing world is actually against the law.

The problem is not that the poor don’t get laws. The problem is that they don’t get law enforcement. There is a functional collapse of law enforcement systems in the developing world; the poor are left utterly vulnerable to violence. This is another historic opportunity for the people of God to be on the side of justice in very practical ways.
[…]

When people think of poverty, they tell you what they see: the shacks, the dirty water, the hungry families. Those are all the visuals that immediately come to mind.

What they don’t see are the assaults, the slap across the face, the rape, the torture by police, and the extortion. It’s intentionally hidden by the perpetrator. The victims are scared and ashamed, and it’s difficult for them to speak. People don’t talk about the things they don’t have solutions for. People working in the development field and in poverty-fighting or public health don’t often come from law enforcement.

The primary fields of IJM’s work are international, thus Haugen’s comments are drawn from Third World experiences. This leads CT’s Timothy Morgan to ask “What can the average American Christian do about violence against the poor thousands of miles away?” The missing element is this: these abuses of power, up to and including law enforcement, are not limited to the third world. They are prevalent in the United States.

A January 27, 2014 article out of San Diego reports Sex Trafficking Overtakes Drug Trafficking As Gang’s Top Cash Source.

San Diego’s rival street gangs like the BMS, the Neighborhood Crips and Brim have put aside their differences over turf and drugs, and have struck up alliances to sell women and girls, some as young as 12.

“They’re absolutely a syndicate,” [FBI Special Agent Robert] Howe said. “We have noticed an increase in the sex trafficking piece over the drugs. These criminal enterprise street gangs have realized the profit margins are so much bigger.”

It’s a cash-rich business for pimps because the girls and women can be sold and resold daily.

“You have a product that you don’t have to keep in inventory,” San Diego U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said. “You don’t have to purchase it. You don’t have to wait for the money to come back on this product and then buy it from the supplier. You are not as exposed as you are if you are caught with drugs to being caught with a woman or being a girl.”

Of course this is maddening and heart-breaking at the same time. These stories could be told millions of times a day. But, as a friend asked, “What can we do to change things?”

I’m feel sure Wilberforce asked himself the same question.

What hit me between the eyes is how IJM engages those in authority. They challenge the justice system by rousing community leaders to action.

The decades long evangelical strategy toward societal change has been the attempt to reform political systems. Voter drives, running for office, boycotts and the like have all been used as pressure tactics. Many of these have been at the national level over court rulings, appointees, and congressional bills. Perhaps we have overlooked going to our local council member, mayor, deputy mayor, or county commissioner, having a face-to-face conversation then publicizing the results.

I have a blog. If I were to meet with a public official over an issue of homelessness or child abuse then write a report of that meeting, it brings a different kind of pressure than, “I’m not voting for you.” Incumbents rarely have anything to fear. But if the conversation changes all around them, they have to listen.

Maybe all you have is Facebook. Use it to change the way the conversation is presented.

If we continue with the same strategy we will likely see torturously slow results. Voting out one band of self-serving politicians in favor of another profits nothing. The milk is still spoiled. Instead, let’s ignore party affiliations and keep the pressure on regardless of who holds office.

When men treat women as objects …

objects for saleA core dynamic of injustice is objectifying others, seeing them as means a means to your end — failing to see them as being like ourselves: human souls cherished by God. Men are particularly guilty, and never more so than the way they regard women. Whether it’s the women we encounter every day or the women and girls whose sexualized images we see in the media, we seldom stop to ask ourselves if we would want to be used/treated the way we are using/treating them. The majority of males in America are emotionally and spiritually crippled by the everyday porn the consumer culture constantly throws at them, and women suffer even more, in a myriad of ways, because of men who treat them as objects to be used and consumed.

Marty Duren offers some excellent thoughts at Kingdom in the Midst:

The movement to liberate women from the supposed shackles of male oppression in the U.S. celebrated the right of women to assert themselves, to use their feminine wiles to their lasting advantage. “If you have it, flaunt it,” was expressed by more than one approving feminist.

But a not-so-funny thing happened on the way to, or perhaps as a result of liberation: objectification.

One end of liberation has clearly been a loss of respect. Men have certainly lost respect for women, but women have also lost respect for themselves. When primary expressions of liberation include women making objects out of themselves someone needs to ask, “Is this all there is?”

… Most do not see most objectification for what it is. However, the attitude is the same even if the end result is not. That we oft mistake it for beauty speaks as poorly on the viewer as on the victimized.

… Objectification and exploitation can only be stopped by men, because in almost every case men are the end users. Men fill the brothels, men descend upon the Super Bowl host city to pay for the opportunity to exploit women and girls for the night, men fly into cities like Atlanta, Georgia to attend “parties” where they’ve paid for the opportunity to rape girls, many of them drugged into compliance. Men pimp, men coerce, men kidnap, and even when women are in the line of exploitation it is often because they have victimized previously. Men can stop this. Men must.

The differences between the woman in the revealing swimwear, drunken coeds on Girls Gone Wild, a prostitute, a stripper or a sexually exploited child are only in the extremes and opportunities. The mindset is the same. Objects have no opinion, no right of refusal, no humanity, no femininity. Like a tire or a piece of lumber they are only good for as long as needed, then discarded. Human waste.

Read the rest of this excellent post by clicking here.
Related: Marketing and our Messed Up Priorities: How We Got it Wrong with GoDaddy

If treating women as objects is a core dynamic of injustice, a key principle for multiplying justice is allowing God to transform the way you regard and interact with women. When a man banishes evil, selfish thoughts and begins to relate to women the way Jesus did, the Almighty will awaken the giant that sleeps within him. Here’s a resource from Kenny Luck that could transform men and launch a justice revolution in your church and community.

‘Perfect love’ overcomes LGBT protest

Marty Duren writes at Kingdom in the Midst:

Recently the FIRE Church in Concord, NC, was to be the object of a protest by a local LGBT group. The protest, however, was abandoned when members of the LGBT community experienced “perfect love” from the church.

Read Marty’s post by clicking here.

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