America's deeply held religious beliefs
I was reading the updates from The Friendly Atheist when I came across this particular story. Now first I want to point out that the acceptable age of marriage in both the US and Australia are the same with 16 year-old's being able to marry with parental consent but there is something unique to the US that would allow this situation to play out vastly different.
Terry Firma refers to the perpetrator as "Mr. Mo" so I will also use that moniker to refer to this guy.
Now here in MURCIA we give deeply held religious beliefs special treatment. We even allow businesses to have religious beliefs and we protect those beliefs as if they were held by a person. Recently Michigan passed a bill that gave people's "deeply held religious beliefs" preference over doing your fucking job. Now as I have learned in the past only time will tell how discriminatory the Michigan law will be but it in fact does allow for many discriminatory actions simply based on ones "deeply held religious beliefs".
Now Mr. Mo has this deeply held religious belief that he can and should marry this young girl. He was determined enough to question many religious leaders about marrying them. The parents (or pimps as Terry accurately referred to them as) gave their consent about this arrangement too. I'm unsure as to whether the 12 yo was complacent but in either society she can't consent in any case. Given that we are so lenient in the US to deeply held religious beliefs would this be allowed to fly?
In years past, I would have vehemently said "No this wouldn't not be acceptable here" and I would have thought that was pretty standard for a modern free society. How things have been going here in the US though, I am left in a state of being unsure as to whether this man would be prosecuted as he should be. My guess is that these decisions, being hobby lobby and the Michigan bill, are really only meant to be applied to christian beliefs and not any others because you know... #MURICA.
Dangers of "Deeply Held Religious Beliefs"
If you're not aware of the dangers of giving such beliefs any precedence or modern goddamned society, then I would suggest you start thinking like an engineer. Engineers and other applied science fields have to think of security as one of the top priorities when designing a system of any kind. You must consider the implications of rules that you put in place and consider how they could be circumvented or used in ways that they were not intended. One cannot always predict how someone will penetrate the system and do unauthorized shit that's why every system has an EVOLUTION (or a visible change over time) as new security holes become apparent.
Currently in our legal system we have no such thinking that is going on and no active revaluation of security holes that pop up. The way the American Legal system works is that laws are passed and then how we apply these laws determine the nature of those laws. They are subsequently further defined by other cases that get brought up. So while there is a system in place to eventually correct discriminatory laws, these laws destroy lives.
The Michigan law has the ability to kill members of the LGBT community just because someone has a "deeply held religious belief" that members of that community should die and burn in their own version of hell. It has the ability to prevent someone getting a much needed blood transfusion just because the EMT or Nurse is a Jehovah's Witness. The Hobby Lobby decision allows a business to deny much needed mental healthcare because the business is consider to be a Scientologist. If these points don't disturb you about america, they should. This means that if a Muslim has the deeply held religious belief that he should be able to marry a 12 yo girl with her parents consent, then his religious beliefs should trump everything else.
Right now I'm shaking my head at America and I'm sad that I'm unsure if we would stop child marriages due to religious beliefs.
Think Skeptically. Stay Godless.