The Fight against Widow Burning

sati-mitul-vyasSati, an ancient Hindu custom practiced in parts of India until 1829, was the focus of William Carey, Christian missionary. In this practice, a recently widowed woman would immolate herself (burn herself alive) on her husband’s funeral pyre.  We are appalled at such a practice.

Carey, a preacher and social reformist battled the ancient custom, seeking respect and fair treatment of these marginalized women. They had no choice in the custom. It was Carey’s relentless 25 year war against Sati which finally led to the famous Edict in 1829 banning widow burning.

A few critics condemned Carey for entangling himself in cultural issues. He was denounced by some Christians for spending time doing anything other than preaching the Gospel. But Carey stood for justice and God’s Word in regard to the treatment of women. Thankfully, he had an impact.

There are issues in our American culture that, in my opinion, scream for our focus, as much as Sati did for Carey. There are societal matters that have become political – but at the root they are basic human justice issues. One such example is abortion.

While some believe that abortion is taboo for public discussion, I believe that a battle must ensue. In the spirit of William Carey, those who believe in justice for all people must begin to speak out and act out on behalf of these marginalized people. Too many babies have been killed and too many mothers have been destroyed. Taking the life of an innocent child may be acceptable in our society, but it is an atrocity that must be addressed – and stopped.

Hopefully, one day, people will hear of our custom of killing babies and be appalled. Hopefully, this atrocity will end.

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