Badger mail

Badger mail: A ling comment on Chad

Hello Badgers,

I just wanted to comment on episode ‘Rantzerker 64: Women of the World, Western Women Pity You.’

I’ve been to Chad, I spent a month there for my internship in Bible College back in ’08. I celebrated Christmas there so I can answer Bono’s question that they do know it’s Christmas time.

I traveled there with my dad’s cousin who lived in Chad for 40 yrs, he worked as a coordinator for schools and was a wealth of information on the situation in central Africa.

To respond to the videos claims, I have no clue where they cooked up those stats. (If you don’t remember it said 90% of girls are married off between 9-12 yrs old) According to UNICEF, 68% of women are married by 18 and 29% are married by 15.

(Source here: http://www.girlsnotbrides.org/child-marriage/chad/ )

Now I asked about child marriages and I was told that it does happen but it’s not legal. They also don’t issue birth certificates to most people so no one really knows their age and they don’t have a strict concept of adolescence like we do where we label you a teenager from 14-18.

When I first arrived we went to a small shop near the mission compound and I was introduced to a 17 yr old who’s family owned the shop. He proudly told us that he was recently married and his wife was expecting.

He asked me how many kids I had where I told him I was unmarried. He smirked, rubbed his chin and said ‘That’s a fancy beard for a single man’.

I was 23 at the time and my school friend thought it was so funny that he brought the topic up to everyone we met. He was engaged so it gave him an immediate out. People were shocked and wanted to know why a white man would be single at 23. Bare in mind white means wealth so if a man has the means why wouldn’t he get married?

That is an amusing anecdote I figured would be relevant. We traveled to a number of Bible colleges and all the students were married regardless of age.

Now for the issues facing boys and men. Among the social, economic and political problems, there was one issue that most missionaries and the church was concerned about was the rite of passage rituals. Apart from the Animistic roots the church opposes there are a number of claims of sexual abuse and physical abuse that went on during these rituals.

What they would do is all the boys within a certain age would be rounded up and taken out into the bush for several days. There a man in a costume would test to boys so they would become a man. While he had the costume on he could do whatever he wanted and they boys had to do what he said.

Now I am not sure if the abuse was common or just a small few isolated incidents that Christians decided to blow out of proportion but the problem is that many Chadians are aggressively defensive, often to the point of violence, about the ritual.

My understanding was that when Chad became an independent country there was a Nationalistic movement that emerged. It was a pro-African cultural movement and the one thing that was embraced was the rite of passage. There was conflict between the government and Christian Chadians as the government made the ritual mandatory but eventually dropped the issue. Though they didn’t make it easy on Christians who refused.

And when I say ‘often to the point of violence’ Im not exaggerating. There had been numerous reports of assaults on church leaders and other tribes members for allegedly meddling in the affairs of the ritual.
Two weeks before I had arrived in the city of Lai one of the larger tribes had their rite of passage and a mob of young men were roaming the streets attacking anyone who was not of their tribe. A pastor was beaten in his home that night.

I just wanted to share that and I have to say I really appreciate what you guys do. As we know men generally don’t like talking about their problems or even acknowledging them.

Right now feminism is becoming trendy in the Western Church as popular church leaders are starting to push for it. It is largely a reaction to the hyper-conservativism of older evangelicals but we are starting to see fainting couch feminism and ridiculous intersectionality take root.

Relevant magazine recently posted an article interviewing Christian Feminists like Rachel Held Evens about faith and Feminism. They have since posted feminist inspired articles like one about the growing acceptance of casual violence against women saying that the X-Men Apocalypse poster was connected to this issue.

All of this annoys the hell out of me because they have replaced one hyper-reactionary political movement for another. When the emergent church started it was a movement to modernize the church and get away from hyper-conservative leanings. But instead, they just dove head first into intersectional feminism without asking if they should.

Matt

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmailby feather