Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Education for Girls

Our hearts were kidnapped on April 14th along with nearly 300 Nigerian School girls who are being held captive by an Islamic militant organization known as Boko Haram.  The world is crying out for their release and there have been many protests, and cries from the leaders of all major countries are putting pressure on the Nigerian government to do more to bring them home.

Why were they abducted in the first place?  The term “Boko Haram” means “Western Education is forbidden.”  This group believes that girls should not be in school but should get married instead.  They teach that Western education corrupts the moral values of Muslims, especially girls.  

Not long ago in October of 2012 a Pakistani teenaged named Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by Taliban extremists who had banned girls from attending school.  Amazingly she survived the ordeal and addressed the United Nations at a youth conference last year.  She said “I am here to speak up for the right of education for every child.  I want education for the sons and daughters of the Taliban and all terrorists and extremists.(

How sad that young girls receive an education at the risk of their lives in many parts of this world.  This basic right to education that we take for granted here in the United States is deemed a dangerous thing by many in oppressive societies.  It is “dangerous” because education opens the minds of people and equips people for advancement and independence. 

I am proud to be a United Methodist where some of our earliest international mission work involved the establishment of schools for girls.  Faithful 19th century women missionaries started schools in Singapore, India and Korea.  Still today many of these institutions continue to thrive as the health of any nation depends on the empowerment and advancement of all people, including the women.  I am happy to see United Methodists speaking out against the abduction of these school girls and keeping this issue in front of our legislatures as part of our social witness.

Those of us who have had education need to find ways to pass that gift along to others through our time and treasure and we should speak out for those who are unable to attend school and are being persecuted when they do.  As Jesus said “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” (John 8:32).  Let us work for the liberation of the minds and souls of people. 

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