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Honoring Abstinence vs. Honor Killings

What was New York Times blogger Judith Warner thinking when she compared evangelical fathers at a purity ball to an infamous Austrian rapist?

by
Aaron Hanscom

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June 18, 2008 - 9:10 am
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John Podhoretz called it the most repulsive blog item of the year. New York Times blogger Judith Warner shocked many last week when she compared “fathers, stepfathers, and fathers-in-law-to-be, at the ninth annual, largely evangelical ‘Father-Daughter Purity Ball’” to Josef Fritzl, the 73-year-old Austrian who held his daughter captive in a cellar for 24 years and fathered her seven children. For Warner, the difference between fathers attempting to preserve the innocence of their daughters and one of the most monstrous child abusers in recent memory is “only a matter of degree.”

What was she thinking? Later in Warner’s post, she does backtrack slightly by making it clear that there’s no “equivalency” between raping your daughter for nearly a quarter century and trying to ensure your daughter’s sexual abstinence until she weds. But as for those Christian fathers, she thinks there’s “a kind of horror to their obsession with their daughters’ sexuality.”

Even if one father’s moonlight walk along the lake with his daughters ranks high on the creepiness scale, is it really horrifying? If Warner was in need of some stories to make an analogy to the Austrian monster, all she had to do was open up any newspaper across the country last week. Unfortunately, there’s no shortage of adults who abuse children for kicks.

Two women arrested in ‘unbearable abuse’ of 5-year-old boy” was the headline in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday. Starkeisha Brown, a 24-year-old mother, is being held on charges of torture, while her 21-year-old live-in girlfriend faces charges of willful harm or injury to a child. The details are truly horrifying:

Police said the women routinely beat the boy, forced him to put his hands on a hot stove, burned his body and genitals with cigarettes, and often would not let him eat or drink.

At a news conference Friday, LAPD Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell said that because of the burns from the stove, the boy no longer can open his hands.

In Macclesfield, NC, a 13-year-old boy died after being tied to a tree for two nights last week. His father and stepmother have been charged with his murder. The details are truly horrifying:

Edgecombe County Sheriff James Knight said the boy’s wrists and ankles were bound with plastic ties and that he was also tied to the tree with some other material. Although a rope was seen dangling from a tree in the yard outside the house Friday, he wouldn’t confirm whether that was used to tie the boy.

Investigators found bruises on the boy’s wrists and ankles, Knight said, declining to comment on whether other marks were found on his body.

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