EDITOR’S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each week from various Southern Baptist-related entities, and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.
Today’s BP Ledger contains items from:
WORLD News Service (2 items)
Growing ‘subterranean dissent’ from Darwinism
NEW YORK (WORLD News Service) — Stephen Meyer, one of the founders of the intelligent design theory, spoke at a Socrates in the City lecture in New York Sept. 12, explaining his newest book “Darwin’s Doubt” and the latest in scientific debates over the origin of life. The room was packed with New Yorkers in snappy evening wear, as well as the famous journalist Tom Wolfe, in his signature white suit.
Intelligent design (ID), counter to its popular portrayal, is not an idea from “insecure religious fundamentalists,” Meyer said, but the scientific theory that all the data in the universe points to “a mind not a material process.”
Meyer, head of the Discovery Institute, believes that mind is the Christian God, but he said as ID spread in the scientific community, scientists are developing different intelligent design–based theories. He said the purely materialistic view of the world, which has ruled the scientific community since the 19th century, is beginning to break apart.
“There’s a huge disparity between the public presentation of evolution [in the media] and what’s going on in the peer-reviewed scientific literature,” Meyer said. He noted that in the last few years six new theories have been introduced in evolutionary biology.
“It’s a story that hasn’t been told,” Meyer said. “There is a growing subterranean dissent from Darwinism.” The growing knowledge about the complex engineering of cells and circuitry in animals, he said, is “what’s generating a lot of skepticism.”
As this subterranean dissent grows, Meyer said it would be “imprudent for our side to be pushing intelligent design into textbooks.”
“We want our scientists working on the science instead of getting drawn into [court] cases like Dover where you have the absurdity of a judge deciding what is science,” Meyer said. “There are too many scientists doing science from this perspective to keep it out of schools. I’d prefer for it to happen organically.”
In the Dover case, a school board attempted to add intelligent design to its curriculum, and a judge ruled that was an unconstitutional establishment of religion in schools.
India’s Female Holocaust
WASHINGTON (WORLD News Service) — Preema, a young woman from a rural village in southern India, is the 12th daughter born to her parents. Yet, she has no older sisters. Each time Preema’s mother became pregnant and gave birth to a girl, she and her husband killed the newborn — disappointed it hadn’t been a boy.
After 12 births, Preema (not her real name), was the only girl they allowed to live.
The young woman’s story was part of testimony offered Sept. 10 by Jill McElya, co-founder of the Invisible Girl Project, to a U.S. House subcommittee hearing on “India’s Missing Girls.” The gruesome practice of sex selection by abortion and infanticide is rampant in India, driven by a strong cultural preference for boys. The problem has only gotten worse in recent years.
Rep. Chris Smith, R.-N.J., an architect of U.S. anti-trafficking law and the chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, presided over the hearing. “By shining a light on what is happening in India with its missing girls, we hope to move forward towards a world where every woman is valued and deeply respected because of her intrinsic dignity, and where every child is welcome regardless of his or her sex,” he said in an opening statement. By the time the hearing concluded, it was clear that although the participants agreed “gendercide” in Asia is a major human rights problem, they couldn’t agree on how the United States should address it.
India’s 2011 census indicated the scope of the problem: The country has about 37 million more men than women, the result of millions of baby girls being drowned, strangled or aborted. “We are dealing with a sex selection that has become a genocide,” said Sabu George, a member of India’s Campaign Against Sex Selection, who testified at the hearing. George has fought sex selection and infanticide in India since the ’80s, and said in the past decade alone, Indian parents eliminated 6 million girls before birth: “This is much larger than the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust.”
In India, a girl’s parents are expected to provide a generous dowry to her future husband. Since many families are poor, they view boys as assets, girls as liabilities. Although a son will grow up to care for his parents when they become old, a girl will leave home, often in her teens, to join her husband and in-laws.
If the husband and his family are unhappy with the bride and her dowry, they might mistreat the girl or even murder her. (This month, statistics from India’s National Crime Records Bureau revealed one woman is murdered every hour in India over dowry disputes.) Wives who are unable to bear boys face further abuse, underscoring a cycle of violence against women in the country.
“I sit before you today 8 1/2 months pregnant with my second daughter,” McElya said. “As a pregnant woman, if I were in India, my in-laws would be pressuring me to have a [sex determination test].” Then she’d be “strong-armed” into aborting the baby if it turned out to be a girl. In one case, highlighted in the documentary It’s a Girl
In rural areas, many poor families who can’t afford a gender test resort to infanticide. In Preema’s village, boys outnumbered girls 8 to 1, according to McElya.
The gender imbalance has opened the door to a host of additional cultural evils, including human trafficking. Men who are unable to find wives often resort to buying brides from outside the country, or paying for sex at brothels. In some cases, they have taken up polyandry—sharing one “wife” between several men.
Although both dowries and sex selection are formally illegal in India, the experts at Tuesday’s hearing said officials have little motivation at the national, state, and local government levels to enforce the laws. Some leaders view the culturally ingrained practice as a convenient way to enforce population control.
Matthew Connelly, a history professor at Columbia University, said India’s sex selection epidemic was encouraged by the population control movement promoted in the 1960s by U.S. organizations like Planned Parenthood and Population Council. In written testimony provided to the hearing, Connelly said it was the head of Population Council’s biomedical division, Sheldon Segal, who “first instructed Indian doctors in how to determine the sex of a fetus, and he publicly advocated the practice as a means to control population growth.” In the ’70s, Indian doctors sterilized millions of people, financed by Western supporters. (China, which has tried to stop population growth with its one-child policy, also has a severe sex-selection problem.)
If the subcommittee hearing made the evil of gendercide clear, it was unclear what exactly should be done about it. George asked Congress to pressure the Indian government to stop targeting women for sterilization, and McElya said the United States should make aid contingent on the Indian government regularly reporting on its efforts to end sex selection. “There has to be a combination of political will and social demand,” McElya said.
However, Mallika Dutt, the founder of the human rights organization Breakthrough, said any efforts to address the problem should include support for women’s health and reproductive services, including contraception and abortion. That prompted a spirited challenge from pro-life subcommittee members. “I am steadfast about human rights being from womb to the tomb,” said Smith, explaining he saw a disconnect between opposing a woman’s choice to abort a girl, but supporting her choice to abort for any other reason.
Rep. Randy Weber, R.-Texas, asked Dutt if she would be okay with Indian women aborting boys as a way of correcting the gender imbalance. “You know, no one’s ever asked me this question,” Dutt replied, caught off guard. Without answering, she continued to insist all Indian women should retain access to abortion.
Rep. Tom Marino, R.-Pa., suggested any additional aid to India to fight sex selection could be a tough sell to the American people at a time of financial crisis. When India’s own government isn’t serious about addressing the problem, “How do we convince the people of the United States?”
CU students hear KBC president in chapel
By Linda Waggener
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. (Campbellsville University) — “When you have a passionate speaker like Dan Summerlin sharing the Gospel with you,” Campbellsville University President Michael V. Carter said, “it’s a good day.” Dan Summerlin, president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention and pastor of Lone Oak First Baptist Church in Paducah, was the guest speaker at the weekly CU chapel service Sept. 11.
Summerlin said he has a passion for higher education “because in order to change the world, students have to be educated before they can provide answers.”
Noting the theme for this year’s chapel series, “A Light to the Nations” (Isaiah 49:6), Summerlin told CU students to simply remember God’s mandate, to go to corners of the earth and reach out for Christ. He said we are all mandated to go and make a difference whether it’s a foreign mission or a community one.
He said the Lord loves to give us impossible assignments, callings that make us say, “Lord, that’s impossible.” Summerlin said the Lord knows that, but He can do the impossible through us.
“Be the light,” Summerlin said, “by the power of the Holy Spirit that lives within us.”