Clinging to our right to be shocked

May 7, 2014


Maybe it’s my age, or maybe it’s my dual clergyman-journalist career and my front-row seat to humanity’s seamier side. Whatever the reason, I skim the newspaper with flip-to-the-next-page eyes. It’s all so much evidence for the Christian doctrine of Original Sin, whether or not Adam and Eve were literal figures.

But then come those stories from Hell — stories so evil that not even I can sit still. Exhibit A: The Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad, a jihadist organization in northern Nigeria better known as Boko Haram, kidnapped about 300 girls three weeks ago  from a school and threatens to sell them into slavery. News of a second kidnapping is now hitting the airwaves and the Internet.

I could chalk this up to another day. Boko Haram massacred 59 school boys, many of whom were burned alive in a bus. I could even drift into an etymological debate. Some translate the group’s name as, “Western education is sinful,” but more educated linguists advocate nuance. “Western culture is Islamically forbidden,” is one possible rendering; “the Westernized elites and their way of doing things contradict Islam” is another.  Paul Newman discusses the complexities here

A worthy debate, to be sure — for which I am supremely unqualified. But I can decide whether I will allow events to hollow me of my humanity, and I hereby decide to cling to my right to be horrified. Slaughtering and kidnapping kids in the name of religion erodes our human core — and casual indifference makes me resemble a gnu watching a lion haul down a calf. CS Lewis was right: We are a “spoiled species,” but not so spoiled that we cannot feel revulsion. We hope.

I join with many others who are refusing to be drained of all their humanity. They are clinging to their right to be shocked. Witness the world-wide campaign, tagged #bringbackourgirls (my little addition: #andrememberthemurderedboys). One features Malala Yousafzai, the brave Pakistani teen whom the Taliban shot and wounded because she wanted an education:

bring back our girls











Some others:

bring back our girls 3












bring back our girls 2








and …

Michelle-Obama bring back our girls

, , ,

About Charles Redfern

Charles Redfern is a writer, activist, and clergyman living in Connecticut with his wife and family. He's currently writing two books, with more in his head.

View all posts by Charles Redfern


Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

One Comment on “Clinging to our right to be shocked”

  1. Adam Zetterström Says:


    What this is all about, to look down on western education and not to educate women, to kidnapp girls is only about full control over women so assholes can get married and legally have sex and that this excuse of a “man” can “breed” and have sons. It is the big EGO this men have and to be afraid how they can get married and have sex when they want if the wife is educated and has her own “will”. This is not Islam, it is not developed and afraid scumbags who are as developed as the age of 5, but now are “adults” in age and use Islam to find reasons to continue this very bad act, to secure there power over women. It is all about to “own what you want” and because we men have this sex drive we have, and also need to make our race continue existing, this men have just tried to protect there “rights” that they from the beginning did not have over women. In fact, the only way to be as an man, is to be an gentleman and to let every girl and woman study and have the same rights to exist and develop as men. Islam is not against it.
    To develop is to let go of power over woman and instead make a woman happy so she can love you and want you. To develop is to respect a woman and let her come to you when she want you. To be a good Muslim is to respect other people, other cultures and religions. It is not Allah who want you to control women and kidnap girls, or to kill civilized people, it is only you. You are on your own and Allah will not forgive you for what you did to all this girls just because you yourself think you had the right. We all need to develop together to find peace and you are only one of 7 000 000 000 people, over 200 different countries and 6000 different religions. We have to share this world and accept the differences between different people. And without western civilization, no cars, no trucks, no mobile phones, no tv, no radio, no satellites, no GPS, no medicin, no vaccination, no guns, no bullets, no calculators nothing you all use is developed by developed countries where men and women work side by side together.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: