By / Sep 4

Editor’s Note: Due to the nature of this bill, there is sensitive language in the article. 

On Aug. 31, the California State Assembly passed Senate Bill 145 with a vote of 41-18, following the State Senate where the bill passed 23-10. The vote largely passed along partisan lines. The bill’s passage rightly sparked concern and headlines in multiple news outlets across the country.

What would the bill do?

Currently, California’s Sex Offender Registration Act requires a person convicted of certain sex crimes including rape, indecent exposure, and sex offenses involving a minor, to register as a sex offender for varying lengths of time. The current law in the California code does, however, give judges discretion in cases involving a young adult convicted of statutory rape where “vaginal intercourse” took place and the victim was between the ages of 14-17. In other words, judges in California may presently decide not to require offenders to register as “sex offenders” in certain cases involving heterosexual intercourse with a minor. In such cases, a judge can decide whether to require the young adult to register as a sex offender in the event that the offender is within 10 years of age of the victim.

This new bill, SB 145, seeks to amend the California Sex Offender Registration Act to extend judicial discretion to include young adults convicted of statutory rape where “anal or oral sex” took place, extending the judicial discretion provision to include homosexual sex acts. The bill would exempt from mandatory sex offender registration, “a person convicted of certain offenses involving minors if the person is not more than 10 years older than the minor and if that offense is the only one requiring the person to register.”

Why was it offered?

The bill’s author, California State Sen. Scott Wiener (D–San Francisco), contends, “SB 145 puts an end to blatant discrimination against young LGBT people engaged in consensual sexual activity.” Further, Weiner argued, “This bill is about treating everyone equally under the law. Discrimination against LGBT people is simply not the California way.”

Why is this legislation harmful? 

Adults having sex with minors is never permissible. If the aim is equality, then current California law should be amended to ensure that “vaginal intercourse” with a minor is grounds for mandatory sex offender registration. This bill goes in the opposite direction, jeopardizing the safety of children by upending the basic moral code of society that minors should always be protected from exploitation. This situation reveals the already alarming legal discretion given to judges when ruling on a case of heterosexual abuse. Gov. Newsom should not only veto this new legislation, he should clearly advocate for the underlying statute to be strengthened in an effort to prevent the abuse of minors. A person guilty of statutory rape should be required to register as a sex offender. 

What can Christians do?

While this bill was only passed in California, Christians from all states would be wise to know the fate of SB 145. All Christians should pray for the state of California and its leaders. Pray for the government to embrace its duty to protect all its citizens, especially children. By passing this bill, California lawmakers are not protecting children but exposing them to harm and exploitation. With the bill now sitting on California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk, Christians in California should call their governor to advocate that he veto the bill.

By / Aug 17

A year ago this month, Islamic State (also known as IS, ISIS, or ISIL) began a systematic program of capturing women and girls for the purposes of rape, forced marriage, and sexual slavery. Yesterday, the New York Times brought renewed attention to the war crimes in an article examining how IS enshrines a theology of rape.

Here are five facts you should about how IS views and justifies the practice of sexual slavery: 

1. IS considers rape of sex slaves to be a form of worship — In the New York Times article, a Yazidi girl was was enslaved by IS claims:

“Every time that he came to rape me, he would pray,” said F, a 15-year-old girl who was captured on the shoulder of Mount Sinjar one year ago and was sold to an Iraqi fighter in his 20s. Like some others interviewed by The New York Times, she wanted to be identified only by her first initial because of the shame associated with rape.

“He kept telling me this is ibadah,” she said, using a term from Islamic scripture meaning worship. 

2. IS has an eschatological justification for sex slavery   

Islamic State publishes a glossy propaganda magazine called Dabiq. In the October 2014 issue, IS included an article titled “The Revival Of Slavery Before The Hour,” which explains the justification for sex slavery.

In Islamic terminology the “hour” refers to the Day of Judgment, a time of reckoning either for an individual upon death or on mankind. According the article, IS asked its own Sharī’ah (Islamic law) scholars to render a verdict on whether the Yazidis could be enslaved. They determined that “enslavement of the apostate women” was not only justified by the Quran but was a sign prefiguring the Day of Judgment.

3. IS condones the rape of young girls — Last fall the Research and Fatwa Department of the Islamic State (ISIS) released a pamphlet on the topic of female captives and slaves:

"Question 13: Is it permissible to have intercourse with a female slave who has not reached puberty?

"It is permissible to have intercourse with the female slave who hasn't reached puberty if she is fit for intercourse; however if she is not fit for intercourse, then it is enough to enjoy her without intercourse."

4. Acquisition of sex slaves is used as a recruiting tool —

As the New York Times article notes, the practice of slavery has become an established recruiting tool to lure men from deeply conservative Muslim societies, where casual sex is taboo and dating is forbidden. Capturing sex slaves has become nearly as important for IS’s objectives as capturing territory.

5. IS has about 3,000 girls and women engaged in sexual slavery — According to Human Rights Watch, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights stated in its report on March 13, 2015 that about 3,000 people, mainly Yazidis, allegedly remain in ISIS captivity. However, local officials, service providers, and community activists estimate that the number of Yazidis still held is much higher.