Inspiration for songs can come from many places; it's nice when inspiration comes from a loving or some other uplifting source but often it comes from a place of sadness or outrage. A story in the news last week reminded me of a song I wrote a few years back that is as relevant as ever.
The song is FGM (Take the Knife Away) and was on our "Out of Many, One" CD. You can hear this song here streaming on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU3popU1eqc&index=46&list=PL7-2FnjsTc1SK-B2GADW7YCNfulb5iqKT . It is also on my band's (UniversalDice) web site http://www.universaldice.com and on Spotify and many other sites.
The story that arose last week was the first potential prosecution in the U.S. for the practice of Female Genital Mutilation. Rather than go into details, you can read the story at http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/14/us/female-genital-mutilation-case-detroit/index.html .
This case involves a Muslim community but this practice is far from universal among Muslims. In fact it is also prevalent in Ethiopia which has a large Christian population and even existed among Christians in pre-revolution America but the most common thread is religiously or ideologically inspired repression of women. Since the surgery is typically performed on minors unable to give informed consent, it is a form of abuse, indoctrination and assault. Instead of being a form of religious freedom, forcing this surgery on a minor is the opposite of freedom for that minor. I would argue that performing unnecessary surgery of any type, especially one where the intent is to limit or destroy the ability to enjoy sexual relations as an adult, is perverse and should be illegal around the world. Instead, in some communities, it is the expectation.
I would hope that most who read this would never condone such an act but I think there is an additional thing to consider; the idea that it is a form of religious freedom for adults, even parents, to force a religious practice on minors or to indoctrinate them into a religion. That is not religious freedom; instead, children should be exposed to the evidence and their ability to reason should be nurtured so that when they become adults, they can make good choices. That is the lesson we can all take from this.