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« Reply #45 on: February 05, 2008, 01:52:33 AM »

It is a disgrace that so many of you are so bent (wether realised or not) on racist predispositions and or feelings of superiority that my statement has invoked such useless fuming.
Forgive me, but I can't help but wonder at your words.  How does praising the glories of your Ethiopian homeland and calling Westerners barbarians not voice a racist disposition and feeling of superiority on your part?  By the way, who's fuming?
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« Reply #46 on: February 05, 2008, 02:47:51 AM »

Nektarios,

Quote
You did not refute anything.  A refutation would have been providing something substantial saying that the US State Department and the named NGOs are incorrect in reporting that FGM occurs among Christians and Muslims.


When did I ever suggest that I had any contention with that idea that Christians may practice female circumcision? Don't you think I implicitly admit that it happens when I say things like:

Quote
First of all, Copts who practice female circumcision would be a fringe minority...

They can't be a fringe minority if they don't exist. Please think more carefully before you respond because I really don’t want to waste my time dealing with such silly mistakes.

What I refuted was the idea that the claims and data presented in that document support the idea that female circumcision is an expression of popular piety amongst Coptic Christians; the only thing that the document supplied supports is the idea that Christians practice it. It does not support the idea that it is popular amongst Coptic Christians let alone popular amongst Coptic Christians on account of religious piety.

Quote
Which will only be an effort in futility as evidenced by your participation in various threads on evolution. You apparently reject reason and science if it conflicts with your prejudices and ideology.


You apparently have reading comprehension difficulties or you are deliberately being deceptive; or a mixture of both. My point in the evolution thread was to demonstrate that the Church Fathers’ cosmology would not be altered by consideration of modern scientific theories or the demands of logic since their exegetical method was based on discerning the skopos of "supernatural" revelation. I strictly refrained from expressing any personal view in regard to how I conceive the role of science and reason in the matter, or how it should shape our approach to the Fathers, nor will I explore that subject since it is a red-herring.

Enough of the ad hominems, and please either address my refutation of your attempt to use the document from the US State Department to support the notion that female circumcision is an expression of popular piety amongst Coptic Christians, or find me a better source to consider.

Quote
Which still leaves my main point that in a few decades western funded NGOs have done more to combat these practices than 2000 years of Christianity.

The only NGO that a lay Copt would take seriously is the Church which has made a concerted effort to root out such practices from the lives of those fringe Coptic Christians of those poorer rural areas who may still pursue such practices for social and cultural reasons.

Quote
Going back to the original point of this thread, Amdetsion claimed some great and wonderful traditional African morality - my counterclaim is that there are serious problems in his romanticized society and that the West isn't nearly so evil as he claims it is. And since you both live in Westernized nations, you've already voted with your feet and implicitly agree with me.


Please quit with the red-herrings. I am here only to contend with the idea that female circumcision is an expression of popular piety amongst Coptic Christians. I have a problem with you trying to tell me, my father, mother, priest, and friend of the Coptic Orphans program, what is popular piety in the very community that we are part of and that we have extensive and versatile first-hand experience of, based on a weak induction of the assumptive generalisations of cultural anthropology.
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« Reply #47 on: February 05, 2008, 03:34:39 AM »

Awwwwwww! Look everyone!

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« Reply #48 on: February 05, 2008, 03:52:08 AM »

EA,

Just to shorten this a bit and clarify:

I think that the reports I linked made it amply clear that the highest religious officials in both Christianity and Islam are opposed to FGM and teach that it has doctrinal basis in neither Christianity nor Islam.  I have not ever said that FGM is part of the "official" doctrine of either the Coptic or Ethiopian church. 

I also think we have very different views as to what constitutes popular piety.  I see this more as a study in anthropology rather than religion per se.  So to use a more neutral example, I'd consider antisemitism to a part of Polish Catholic popular piety despite its condemnation from all official levels within the RCC.  The same goes with syncretism between Catholicism and Voodooism that is common in Latin American Catholicism, but is again condemned at all official levels of the Catholic church.  To a point, I think we are talking past each other on what constitutes popular piety and to a point we never will be able to discuss this since we approach the matter from such radically different Weltanschauungen.

Although you claim it is a red herring, the initial post and context is important to keep in mind for this discussion.  I didn't think this thread would unfold the way it did, but my initial point was to question the assumption that "traditional African morality" was somehow more moral than the West.  I questioned that assumption by showing data that seem to suggest that an unchristian practice is relatively widespread in the three African countries in which there is a major Orthodox presence, making the point that the West has no monopoly on sin.     

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« Reply #49 on: February 05, 2008, 04:03:58 AM »

Awwwwwww! Look everyone!

Oh, they are gorgeous, George. Are they yours? Or should the question be, are you theirs?  Grin
« Last Edit: February 05, 2008, 04:04:44 AM by Riddikulus » Logged

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« Reply #50 on: February 05, 2008, 06:38:53 AM »

Oh, they are gorgeous, George. Are they yours? Or should the question be, are you theirs?  Grin

They're friends of the two cats that own me.
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« Reply #51 on: February 05, 2008, 06:44:44 AM »

Nektarios,

Your clarification was not at all necessary. I perfectly understand that popular piety does not equate to official doctrine/policy; if my bringing up Pope Shenouda’s position on the matter has confused you, just ignore it. I initially brought it up as a side-remark so as to make clear what the authorities teach nevertheless, and I mentioned it again in my second response for the sake of emphasising that as far as Coptic religious attitudes, whether lay or clerical, to female circumcision are concerned, the opinion of His Holiness, which is a negative one at that, is the only one that has been mentioned.

I don’t think we’re talking past each other; but maybe we are. As far as I understand it "popular piety" simply refers to the way in which a certain community popularly expresses the doctrinal and/or moral and/or spiritual aspects of their faith. In the end, their religious attitudes are relevant. To suggest that female circumcision is an expression of popular piety amongst Coptic Christians is, as far as I understand, to suggest that the common Copt expresses the religious moral obligation to keep chaste by practising female circumcision, irrespective of whether official doctrine/policy commands/approves or prohibits/disapproves of it.

Quote
So to use a more neutral example, I'd consider antisemitism to a part of Polish Catholic popular piety despite its condemnation from all official levels within the RCC.

And I assume that these anti-Semitic Polish Catholics believe their views to nevertheless be in a sense morally/doctrinally supported or justified by their faith, hence why their anti-semitism is “popular piety” and not simply “popular belief” or “popular politics.”

If you still believe we are talking past each other I would appreciate that you stipulate your definition of popular piety.
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« Reply #52 on: February 05, 2008, 06:57:31 AM »


They're friends of the two cats that own me.

LOL - I'm repeating myself, but they are gorgeous!
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« Reply #53 on: February 05, 2008, 11:35:06 AM »

George, you have the right idea.  Here is one of the four feral cats that decided to make my house home:
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« Reply #54 on: February 05, 2008, 11:43:22 AM »

Here's Lizzie, my fiancee's owner:
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« Reply #55 on: February 05, 2008, 05:59:31 PM »

It’s sad, and a shame, that the above posters would choose to pursue such troll-like behaviour. I think I have a right to scrutinise and demand evidence for a ludicrous and inherently offensive generalisation about my community which has so far shown to be based on nothing but hot air. No one has the right or reason to be rude about it or make fun of it; it’s not warranted, immature, and not to mention very uncharitable.

I won’t respond any further unless and until Nektarios gives evidence for his claim as he promised he would earlier, or unless and until he at least gives me his special definition of "popular piety" which apparently means something different to what it commonly does. I hope he is man enough to recant the statement in question otherwise; or, he can stay on the troll bandwagon which I think speaks volumes about his integrity in this discussion.
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« Reply #56 on: February 05, 2008, 08:41:52 PM »

It’s sad, and a shame, that the above posters would choose to pursue such troll-like behaviour.
They're just kitty-cats.

I think I have a right to scrutinise and demand evidence for a ludicrous and inherently offensive generalisation about my community which has so far shown to be based on nothing but hot air.
You're assuming that people actually listen to Nektarios, or that the diversion was somehow designed to condone his claims.

No one has the right or reason to be rude about it or make fun of it; it’s not warranted, immature, and not to mention very uncharitable.
When people make unfounded claims, it's like accidentally breaking wind in a social situation; most of the time, it's best just to move on and ignore it. The kitty diversion was not meant to belittle. I have been on this forum for three years, and although I've seen Nektarios change his opinion on things, I've never been able to get him to retract a false generalization or apologise for it. Have you seen what he has stated about what he calls "ethnic" Churches in the past? It just doesn't matter EA. People are always going to say false, generalizing things about us- and if they're the kind of people who would say those sort of things, then they will say them no matter what you do.

I won’t respond any further unless and until Nektarios gives evidence for his claim as he promised he would earlier,
I can tell you now, it ain't gonna happen! The "evidence" doesn't exist.

or unless and until he at least gives me his special definition of "popular piety"
That's easy: "every cultural practice Nektarios considers foreign and inferior". Wink
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« Reply #57 on: February 05, 2008, 09:22:49 PM »

I think I have a right to scrutinise and demand evidence for a ludicrous and inherently offensive generalisation about my community which has so far shown to be based on nothing but hot air. No one has the right or reason to be rude about it or make fun of it; it’s not warranted, immature, and not to mention very uncharitable.

The books that I have read that have specifically mentioned this are: Ancient Taboos and Gender Prejudice: Challenges for Orthodox Women and the Church by Leonie Liveris which accepts the general statistics that FGM is very common among people of both Christianity and Islam in Egypt.  The more general reading that ties FGM into attitudes of female purity and chastity is The Female Circumcision Controversy : an Anthropological Perspective by Ellen Gruenbaum.  I scanned some other books at the library today (why I didn't post this morning), and the rates of FGM and that it occurs among both Muslims and Christians in Egypt, Eritrea and Ethiopia wasn't disputed by any of them.  If you can cite any academic research that contradicts these conclusions, I'll do my best try to obtain it and read it.

To clarify: are you disputing that FGM is present in about the rates in the earlier linked reports?

Your clarification was not at all necessary. I perfectly understand that popular piety does not equate to official doctrine/policy; if my bringing up Pope Shenouda’s position on the matter has confused you, just ignore it. I initially brought it up as a side-remark so as to make clear what the authorities teach nevertheless, and I mentioned it again in my second response for the sake of emphasising that as far as Coptic religious attitudes, whether lay or clerical, to female circumcision are concerned, the opinion of His Holiness, which is a negative one at that, is the only one that has been mentioned.

Mentioned in one of the linked US State Department reports was that there had been instances of Coptic priests refusing to baptize girls who had not undergone FGM.

Quote
As far as I understand it "popular piety" simply refers to the way in which a certain community popularly expresses the doctrinal and/or moral and/or spiritual aspects of their faith. In the end, their religious attitudes are relevant. To suggest that female circumcision is an expression of popular piety amongst Coptic Christians is, as far as I understand, to suggest that the common Copt expresses the religious moral obligation to keep chaste by practising female circumcision, irrespective of whether official doctrine/policy commands/approves or prohibits/disapproves of it.

We are operating under different definitions then.  I'm using a much more localized example.  Rural Coptic community X practices FGM means that in rural Coptic community X, FGM is part of local popular piety not that among all Copts is FGM practiced.  I apologize, that I did not make that clearer before and if it looked as if I generalized the entire Coptic community.  The reason why I would still call this popular piety is that this pre-Christian, pre-Islamic custom is often given ex post facto justification through appeals to Christianity or Islam - even if it is more of a cultural rite rather than a religious rite.  An example of this in Christian communities can be found in this pdf in their descriptions of Ethiopia and Eritrea. 
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« Reply #58 on: February 05, 2008, 10:03:30 PM »

Mentioned in one of the linked US State Department reports was that there had been instances of Coptic priests refusing to baptize girls who had not undergone FGM.

Somehow that doesn't sound right to me, and not just because the Church condemns it.  Don't the Copts, like the Armenians and other Othodox, baptize babies?  Whenever I have heard stories of FGM, the girls are always older, like between eight and twelve.

I'd like to think US State Dept. reports are well researched, but maybe some of the things they write are are based on second or third hand rumor.  You wonder who some of their sources are.
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« Reply #59 on: February 06, 2008, 03:46:55 AM »

You're assuming that people actually listen to Nektarios, or that the diversion was somehow designed to condone his claims.

People do listen to Nektarios. I find his perspective on things interesting, even when I don't agree. He has a tendency to overgeneralize; this is his flaw. Others have different flaws. But we're a community and we all do things that annoy one another. That doesn't make any one of us so worthless that nothing we say merits others listening to us.

Quote
People are always going to say false, generalizing things about us- and if they're the kind of people who would say those sort of things, then they will say them no matter what you do.

Who is the us you are referring to here?
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« Reply #60 on: February 06, 2008, 06:07:49 AM »

Who is the us you are referring to here?
There's no "them". There is just "us".

Or is this merely lip service:
we're a community
?

we all do things that annoy one another.
Which is my point.

That doesn't make any one of us so worthless that nothing we say merits others listening to us.
Saying isn't being.
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« Reply #61 on: February 06, 2008, 08:32:13 AM »

Ozgeorge,

Your empathy and patience are much appreciated. I am embarrassed, but nevertheless more than pleased to realise that I so significantly misinterpreted your intentions. I sincerely apologise for being so quick to judge; you deserved the benefit of the doubt.

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« Reply #62 on: February 06, 2008, 08:46:47 AM »

Nektarios,

Quote
The books that I have read that have specifically mentioned this are: Ancient Taboos and Gender Prejudice: Challenges for Orthodox Women and the Church by Leonie Liveris which accepts the general statistics that FGM is very common among people of both Christianity and Islam in Egypt.  The more general reading that ties FGM into attitudes of female purity and chastity is The Female Circumcision Controversy : an Anthropological Perspective by Ellen Gruenbaum.


Thank you. I will check them out on Monday.
 
Quote
To clarify: are you disputing that FGM is present in about the rates in the earlier linked reports?

No I am not. I am disputing that any reasonable inference about female circumcision being an expression of popular piety amongst Coptic Christians can be inferred from the statistics and data given in those earlier linked reports. I gave a detailed outline as to why.

Quote
Mentioned in one of the linked US State Department reports was that there had been instances of Coptic priests refusing to baptize girls who had not undergone FGM.

At face value this may seem like it suggests something about these priests' religious perspectives on female circumcision, but a more critical reading of it clearly shows that that is not necessarily the case. That these priests (of whom I wish were given a little information--numbers, locations etc.) require female circumcision to be performed prior to baptism does not suggest why they require it per se (whether for religious, social, or cultural reasons) but only when. We are told that, for whatever reason they may require it, it’s something that they require to be done before baptism because church policy prohibits circumcision in general to be performed after baptism. In fact, there is really no suggestion at all that these priests require it to be performed per se in the first place; it could very well be the case that these priests are personally against female circumcision, but knowing it to be the custom of a particular town, and not wanting to interfere with that, seek only to ensure that the practice is done prior to baptism rather than after.

Quote
We are operating under different definitions then.   I'm using a much more localized example.  Rural Coptic community X practices FGM means that in rural Coptic community X, FGM is part of local popular piety not that among all Copts is FGM practiced.  I apologize, that I did not make that clearer before and if it looked as if I generalized the entire Coptic community.

So we are not operating under different definitions at all, but rather, you are now restricting the application of that definition to rural communities. That seems like a more plausible suggestion to me in light of what I know, but one I still need to see evidence for.

Quote
The reason why I would still call this popular piety is that this pre-Christian, pre-Islamic custom is often given ex post facto justification through appeals to Christianity or Islam - even if it is more of a cultural rite rather than a religious rite. 


And I would agree that that would classify as “popular piety,” (it is perfectly in line with my previously stipulated definition of the expression) but I still need to see evidence for the idea that a) female circumcision is “popular” even amongst Coptic Christians in rural areas, and then b) that it is popular on account of religious piety. The document you referenced us to does not evidence that, and time will tell whether or not the other sources you have just referred me to do.
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« Reply #63 on: February 07, 2008, 12:58:41 AM »

Somehow that doesn't sound right to me, and not just because the Church condemns it.  Don't the Copts, like the Armenians and other Othodox, baptize babies?  Whenever I have heard stories of FGM, the girls are always older, like between eight and twelve.

I'd like to think US State Dept. reports are well researched, but maybe some of the things they write are are based on second or third hand rumor.  You wonder who some of their sources are.

It is possible to carry out FGM among infants: the last paragraph of this WHO webpage notes that it is indeed possible to circumcise at less than two weeks old and is common in some locales. 

Also looking through the WHO pages on FGM, the claim is made that both Muslims and Christians practice it despite religious leaders condemning it.  If you add up the numbers of non-Orthodox in the three African nations with a historical Orthodox population and compare the rates of FGM in these nations, it still adds up to high rate. 

I still need to see evidence for the idea that a) female circumcision is “popular” even amongst Coptic Christians in rural areas, and then b) that it is popular on account of religious piety. The document you referenced us to does not evidence that, and time will tell whether or not the other sources you have just referred me to do.

I have posted from the US State Department, referenced WHO statistics, referenced anthropological works that all agree that FGM occurs among Orthodox Christians.  The one book I referenced about the practice in general deals with the idea of popular piety, but my guess is that it won't be enough for you.  But, for me the agreement of most of the major NGOs that work with FGM, anthropologists who study it etc. is enough.  I think I've presented my point and it would probably be best to bow out of this thread. 
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« Reply #64 on: February 07, 2008, 02:27:09 AM »

There's no "them". There is just "us".

Or is this merely lip service:?
Which is my point.
Saying isn't being.

I'm sorry, I am honestly having a hard time following you, probably because I am working so many hours these past two weeks....my point was it seemed to me (my interpretation) that you were saying that Nektarios is not part of "us."

What did you mean by "saying isn't being" (honest question, I really am trying to follow you here).
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« Reply #65 on: February 07, 2008, 02:40:18 AM »

What did you mean by "saying isn't being" (honest question, I really am trying to follow you here).
What we are (and consequently, our worth) is not determined by what we say.
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« Reply #66 on: February 08, 2008, 02:24:22 AM »

I thought it should be noted that female circumcision as a cultural right in Kenya was one of the factors that led to the formation of the Kenyan Orthodox Church, an Eastern Orthodox Church with ties to the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria. 
Quote
In 1929 the Kikuyu of the Central Province of Kenya had formed two educational associations in protest against a missionary ban on female circumcision. Education in Kenya at that time was almost entirely under the control of foreign missions. The missions, led by John Arthur of the Church of Scotland Mission (CSM) announced that their African "agents" (who were mainly teachers) must sign a written declaration denouncing circumcision and membership of the Kikuyu Central Association (KCA), a body opposed to colonial rule (Natsoulas 1988:220).5 This had led to the formation of the Kikuyu Karing'a Educational Association (KKEA), and the Kikuyu Independent Schools Association (KISA), which sought to establish schools outside the control of foreign missions. Up till then all the schools in Kenya had been church schools, and so these bodies, having started schools, looked for a church. Bishop Alexander seemed to offer a solution, and the president of KISA wrote to Alexander, asking him to return to Kenya (Githieya 1992:156). Alexander replied, and also wrote to the Orthodox bishop of Johannesburg, asking for a letter of introduction to the Orthodox priest at Moshi, Tanganyika, and expressing an interest in a merger with the Greek Orthodox Church in South Africa (Githieya 1992:158).

Full article here.

In regard to female circumcision, I definitely don't condone it and find it very sad.  On the other hand, there are layers of complexity that I believe are revealed in the article above.  That is, the issue of female circumcision has been used as a means of subjugation of people in Africa by white supremacists. 
The tactic is simple: find a cultural practice that can be attacked on moral grounds and then use it as a way to misdirect people from seeing the criminality of the institutional racism, violence, oppression and domination that is necessary to maintain control of the conquered.  All kinds of acts can be justified under the guise of "civilization".  Do the western powers really "care" so much about the young girls, or are they just letting their own activists cry foul so they can respond with a brute force of their own and be perceived as heroes?
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« Reply #67 on: February 08, 2008, 03:13:37 AM »

In regard to female circumcision, I definitely don't condone it and find it very sad.  On the other hand, there are layers of complexity that I believe are revealed in the article above.  That is, the issue of female circumcision has been used as a means of subjugation of people in Africa by white supremacists. 
The tactic is simple: find a cultural practice that can be attacked on moral grounds and then use it as a way to misdirect people from seeing the criminality of the institutional racism, violence, oppression and domination that is necessary to maintain control of the conquered.  All kinds of acts can be justified under the guise of "civilization".  Do the western powers really "care" so much about the young girls, or are they just letting their own activists cry foul so they can respond with a brute force of their own and be perceived as heroes?

A people who engage in such a heinous practice should probably not be regarded as competent to rule themselves. These people should be placed in the same category as cannibals and be treated accordingly.
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« Reply #68 on: February 08, 2008, 07:59:13 AM »

A people who engage in such a heinous practice should probably not be regarded as competent to rule themselves. These people should be placed in the same category as cannibals and be treated accordingly.

Ruled by the British?
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« Reply #69 on: February 08, 2008, 09:50:25 AM »

Awwwwwww! Look everyone!



I'm EofK and I approve this message.   Grin laugh
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« Reply #70 on: February 08, 2008, 01:44:07 PM »

Ruled by the British?

Works for me.
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« Reply #71 on: February 08, 2008, 02:29:24 PM »

Works for me.
It was tried and it didn't work.  Then again, the British have shown themselves to be too weak hearted even to maintain their own traditions (probably because they were obtained unjustly in the first place).
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« Reply #72 on: February 08, 2008, 04:09:59 PM »

It was tried and it didn't work.  Then again, the British have shown themselves to be too weak hearted even to maintain their own traditions (probably because they were obtained unjustly in the first place).

The British have served as a great civilizing force throughout the world, taking the message of Western Civilization and the enlightenment to the darkest and most depraved regions of the world.
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« Reply #73 on: February 08, 2008, 04:14:07 PM »

The British have served as a great civilizing force throughout the world, taking the message of Western Civilization and the enlightenment to the darkest and most depraved regions of the world.

Such as New York. Wink
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« Reply #74 on: February 08, 2008, 05:23:13 PM »

The British have served as a great civilizing force throughout the world, taking the message of Western Civilization and the enlightenment to the darkest and most depraved regions of the world.
Well I admit a limited point of view.  Being educated only in American and Australian schools.  Basically an English "education".  I have found as an adult that I am not satisfied with my education.  I find it to be brutish.  But it is a legacy of a brutish empire.  Ghandi schooled them pretty well though.  You are right to use the word "force" though I think.  Also choosing to describe them as "taking", very nice criticism of the British on your part.  Do you mean by that that they are taking civilization by force and bringing its message back home to the isles?
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« Reply #75 on: February 08, 2008, 05:27:36 PM »

Well I admit a limited point of view.  Being educated only in American and Australian schools.  Basically an English "education".  I have found as an adult that I am not satisfied with my education.  I find it to be brutish.  But it is a legacy of a brutish empire.  Ghandi schooled them pretty well though.  You are right to use the word "force" though I think.  Also choosing to describe them as "taking", very nice criticism of the British on your part.  Do you mean by that that they are taking civilization by force and bringing its message back home to the isles?


Brutish?  As opposed to, oh, I don't know, mutiliating your daughter so that she'll be sexually pure?  That sort of brutish?
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« Reply #76 on: February 08, 2008, 08:37:12 PM »

Brutish?  As opposed to, oh, I don't know, mutiliating your daughter so that she'll be sexually pure?  That sort of brutish?
Sexual purity? Is this why mothers circumcise their daughters?  I really don't know actually, because I've never met someone who does this.  I would hope that I would have the decency not to approach that subject with a stranger.  Regardless, I wouldn't go broadcasting it to the world to foster support for exploitation.  It's probably not even decent for us to even discuss such as private matter on a public forum.  The fact that we even know about a centuries old localized custom is a reminder of how the information was brought to us: imperial subjugation and propaganda.

Given the little information I have, I support the Orthodox churches that are educating people and actually helping them to be self-reliant without force.  In the long run, this provides a path allowing people to abandon the practice through their own will.  It is their business not mine. 

Im confident good British readers understand that my comments werent aimed at them.  Now you may have the last word.
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« Reply #77 on: February 08, 2008, 08:48:30 PM »

Sexual purity? Is this why mothers circumcise mutilate their daughters?  I really don't know actually, because I've never met someone who does this.  I would hope that I would have the decency not to approach that subject with a stranger.  Regardless, I wouldn't go broadcasting it to the world to foster support for exploitation.  It's probably not even decent for us to even discuss such as private matter on a public forum.  The fact that we even know about a centuries old localized custom is a reminder of how the information was brought to us: imperial subjugation and propaganda.

Right, the old "I'm not my brother's keeper" line again.  After all, the fact something is a "private matter" automatically means that you need to close your eyes and ears and pretend ignorance.  Tell me, when you hear the next door neighbor beating his wife, will you also say that is a "private matter" and pretend ignorance?
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« Reply #78 on: February 08, 2008, 09:24:16 PM »

I thought it should be noted that female circumcision as a cultural right in Kenya was one of the factors that led to the formation of the Kenyan Orthodox Church, an Eastern Orthodox Church with ties to the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria. 
Full article here.


That is interesting.  If I understand correctly, the EO Church in Kenya was established partly to allow the people there to continue the practice of FGM.  I never knew this.  I guess it was part of a general reaction against colonialism.  This sheds light on GiC's comment in reply #19, above, the implication of which was that this vile, pagan practice is only found among OO "heretics," and thus technically not the responsibility of the EO.
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« Reply #79 on: February 08, 2008, 09:45:52 PM »

That is interesting.  If I understand correctly, the EO Church in Kenya was established partly to allow the people there to continue the practice of FGM.  I never knew this.  I guess it was part of a general reaction against colonialism.  This sheds light on GiC's comment in reply #19, above, the implication of which was that this vile, pagan practice is only found among OO "heretics," and thus technically not the responsibility of the EO.

While I think you've been here long enough to know that such comments from GiC should not be taken seriously, it merits repeating for those new to OC.net. 

I reason I did not mention the EO missions in Kenya is that they are so tiny and fairly new that it is difficult to really gauge what their actual practice.  From the Kenya section of the CIA World Factbook:
Quote
Protestant 45%, Roman Catholic 33%, Muslim 10%, indigenous beliefs 10%, other 2%

And considering that I'm somewhat of a liberal when it comes to Orthodoxy - I'm hardly the type to consider the OO to be "heretics."   
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« Reply #80 on: February 08, 2008, 10:27:53 PM »

The British have served as a great civilizing force throughout the world, taking the message of Western Civilization and the enlightenment to the darkest and most depraved regions of the world.

Rule Britannia, I say!  Grin

But all jokes aside and all things considered, the British Empire was a great and marvellous thing; but along with its greatness came cruelty and injustice - typical empire stuff, really. It's not any excuse, but show me any aspiring imperialists that are any different.
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« Reply #81 on: February 08, 2008, 10:30:15 PM »

Well I admit a limited point of view.  Being educated only in American and Australian schools.  Basically an English "education".  I have found as an adult that I am not satisfied with my education.  I find it to be brutish.  But it is a legacy of a brutish empire.  Ghandi schooled them pretty well though.  You are right to use the word "force" though I think.  Also choosing to describe them as "taking", very nice criticism of the British on your part.  Do you mean by that that they are taking civilization by force and bringing its message back home to the isles? 

If you think that one has the right to use force, why not the British forceably ending FGM? Sounds like a plan to me.
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« Reply #82 on: February 08, 2008, 10:32:13 PM »

Right, the old "I'm not my brother's keeper" line again.  After all, the fact something is a "private matter" automatically means that you need to close your eyes and ears and pretend ignorance.  Tell me, when you hear the next door neighbor beating his wife, will you also say that is a "private matter" and pretend ignorance?

Well, clearly as long as you aren't British, you can intervene.  laugh
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« Reply #83 on: February 08, 2008, 10:40:16 PM »

Rule Britannia, I say!  Grin

If we're starting the Great Game up again, I'll become a spy.  Might as well put my Russian to use.   Grin

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« Reply #84 on: February 08, 2008, 10:48:52 PM »

If we're starting the Great Game up again, I'll become a spy.  Might as well put my Russian to use.   Grin

You see how everything has a purpose?  Grin
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« Reply #85 on: February 11, 2008, 05:49:40 AM »

It is possible to carry out FGM among infants: the last paragraph of this WHO webpage notes that it is indeed possible to circumcise at less than two weeks old and is common in some locales.

We're not interested in theoretical possibilities, we are interested in facts and reality. The same page you link to declares that "in Egypt, 90% of girls who had undergone female genital mutilation were between five and 14 years of age when subjected to the procedure." Gruenbaum (in The Female Circumcision Controversy) suggests that the age range differs across different cultural contexts. So no, you can't take the observation made in the above-referenced document regarding practice in Yemen and apply it to Egypt. It doesn't work like that. Gruenbaum notes that in Egypt female circumcision is most commonly performed amongst females in the 4-8 years age range. She notes Anne Jennings' report that some girls in southern Egypt underwent the procedure at age one or two. Let's see what we know about Coptic Orthodox Christian policy regarding baptism: 1) circumcision cannot be performed after baptism, and 2) females are to be baptised at 80 days from their birth. You can work out the math concerning the plausibility of the suggestion that Coptic Christian priests mandate circumcision before baptism, in light of the statistics presented in your own sources.

If you're still not happy, you need not be distressed because I already assumed the truth of the suggestion for argument's sake and argued how it still reveals nothing about female circumcision being a religiously motivated practice amongst Coptic Orthodox Christians.

Quote
I have posted from the US State Department, referenced WHO statistics, referenced anthropological works that all agree that FGM occurs among Orthodox Christians.
 

Nektarios, although it seems difficult for you, I would really like you to please try and focus with me here; that is assuming that such comments are the result of a lack of concentration rather than some foolish attempt to squirm your way out of the mess you’re in.

The proposition originally in contention was that female circumcision is popular amongst Coptic Orthodox Christians on account of religious piety. You implicitly modified that claim (significantly) two posts ago, so the proposition now in contention is that female circumcision is popular amongst rural Coptic Orthodox Christians on account of religious piety. Do you need me to explain how vastly such propositions differ from the proposition that female circumcision "occurs amongst Orthodox Christians"? Please stay focused: the onus is on you to prove that female circumcision is popular amongst (rural) Coptic Orthodox Christians on account of religious piety. I have already rigorously argued (see reply #41) as to why the document from the US State Department and the statistics presented therein do not support the proposition in contention (and those arguments equally apply to your modified proposition). Either address those arguments and explain why and how they are faulty or quit referring to the document from the US State Department.

Quote
The one book I referenced about the practice in general deals with the idea of popular piety, but my guess is that it won't be enough for you.

And my guess is that it wouldn’t be enough for anyone with at least half a brain. The one segment of this book pertinent to our analysis of the ludicrous claim you’ve made is the section in Chapter 2, entitled: “Circumcision in the Monotheistic Religious Traditions” (pp. 60-66). In this section we find a passing reference (and the only reference in this entire 242 page book at that) to Coptic Christians:
Quote
But, for me the agreement of most of the major NGOs that work with FGM, anthropologists who study it etc. is enough. 


Nektarios, sorry to break it to you, but NO ONE AGREES WITH YOU.  You are drawing an inference which these studies do NOT SUPPORT. Gruenbaum did not state, or even hint in the SLIGHTEST, that female circumcision is an expression of popular piety amongst (rural) Coptic Christians, and nothing she has reported supports such a notion. Give it up.
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« Reply #86 on: November 07, 2009, 01:24:25 PM »

The "chaste" element of this couple would never have been noticed in Ethiopia.

This is common.

Matter-of-fact this is common in most if not all 'traditional' African societies.

Yeah, if only we could aspire to traditional African morality Roll Eyes

Who was it who said "it takes a village to raise a child?"
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« Reply #87 on: November 07, 2009, 11:42:05 PM »

The "chaste" element of this couple would never have been noticed in Ethiopia.

This is common.

Matter-of-fact this is common in most if not all 'traditional' African societies.

Yeah, if only we could aspire to traditional African morality Roll Eyes

Who was it who said "it takes a village to raise a child?"
What's your point? And if you're going to resurrect a thread that is now nearly two years old, you'd better have a point to make.
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