The U.S. Supreme Court could be on the brink of overturning Roe v. Wade – the ruling that legalized abortion in America – and that raises a topic many want to avoid.
"What is a human life worth?"
To some, not much.
Pre-birth sex selection in India could result in nearly 7 million more girls being aborted by 2030. Organized "death squads" in Brazil deliberately murder children living on the streets. Babies and young children in Uganda are routinely sacrificed for "financial blessing."
In Iran, where my organization SAT-7 USA provides educational and Christian television and online programs, the value placed on women's lives is disturbingly cheap. There's an epidemic of so-called "honor killings" of women and girls, and the legal system does little to protect them.
Child Bride Beheaded
Child bride Mona Heydari was beheaded by her husband, Sajjad after she fled her forced marriage. A gruesome video posted online recently showed Sajjad smiling as he carried her severed head in the street. The viral video sent shockwaves through Iran. Yet honor killings continue unabated.
Heavily influenced by sharia law, the country's courts largely turn a blind eye to honor killings that occur when male relatives accuse a woman or girl of bringing "dishonor" on the family. This includes disobeying their husband or father, rejecting a marriage proposal, asking for a divorce, or becoming a Christian.
In neighboring Iraq, Christian convert Iman Sami, the 20-year-old daughter of a Muslim cleric, was allegedly murdered by her family in March after she posted a TikTok video of herself singing Christian songs.
It's reported up to 450 such murders take place in Iran every year, although the real number is likely much higher. According to "The Lancet" medical journal, more than 8,000 honor killings were reported in Iran between 2010-2014.
Honor Killings Surging
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a women's rights group, highlighted shocking examples of honor killings last year, amid a "catastrophic rise" in numbers:
● A 27-year-old woman was kidnapped, raped, and strangled after turning down a suitor
● A 22-year-old woman was soaked in gasoline and set alight by her father after she told him she wanted to remarry
● A 14-year-old child bride was strangled by her husband, a cleric after he heard rumors about her
● A young woman was stabbed to death by her father for coming home late
This has to stop.
It's incredible that such a barbaric practice is allowed to go on.
Giving Voice, Bestowing Value
SAT-7 is much more than a television network. We are a media ministry. Our interactive live shows and online platforms give viewers across Iran, especially women and girls, a voice – and, in doing so, we bestow on them the value they are routinely denied.
Through our social media channels, such women have an uncensored public platform to speak out on social issues and taboo topics such as honor killings, providing hope and encouragement to others.
Most importantly, local presenters who speak the Iranian language make God's love visible to them every day.
Captivated by this "living gospel," their true value comes into the light.
What is a human life worth?
God didn't avoid the question. He put it on full display at the cross for the entire world to see.
Dr. Rex Rogers is president of SAT-7 USA, a multi-media ministry that reaches people across the Middle East and North Africa in several local languages.
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