In fact, many Westerners and Japanese who visited Thailand seemed to welcome such attitudes, and the cheap sex and drugs that came with them. What is more natural? Whatever feeble instinct we might have towards universal compassion, surely history shows that the male instinct for getting laid is far stronger!
“How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness . . . ’”
Isaiah’s searing denunciation of oppression also caught my eye:
“But this is a people plundered and despoiled; all of them are trapped in caves, or are hidden away in prisons; they have become a prey with none to deliver them, and a spoil, with none to say, ‘Give them back!’” (42:22)
Girls were, in fact, sometimes chained to beds. The police having been bribed, indeed, no one did seem to stand up and say, "Give them back!" I underlined the last lines of a passage from Isaiah 61 in red, where he seemed to offer hope, though:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners.”
“Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free . . . Then your light will break out like the dawn . . . “ (58:6)
While the rest of the team set up to put on a show about Jesus, I went behind the hut to pray.
|Snake Alley, Taiwan; I took |
this picture on the sly, thus
the weird angle.
I began to weap for these girls.
I have never been back to that village. But years later, while living in Taiwan and encountering horrible forms of sexual exploitation (see picture above right), I began crusading against the sex trade there, and for the young women who were exploited by it. I wrote articles for a local newspaper, preached in churches, and sent out letters to alert churches in tribal villages.
Along the way, I met others who seemed to have heard the same call. I visited an American-Taiwanese couple who had a dramatic conversion experience from the drug culture (he was a Vietnam vet), and ran a rehab center for drug addicts, also taking in prostitutes rescued by the police. I met Baptists and Presbyterians who ran centers for such girls, and a YWAM group in the Philippines who helped 150 women a year out of the sex trade. I visited Jackie Pullinger, the charismatic English woman who tells her story in Chasing the Dragon. The woman who served us water had spent a lifetime as a prostitute.
Studying world history, I came to the conclusion that this was no fluke. The Gospel of Jesus, I came to believe, has done more to help more women, than any other force in human history.
In Part III, I will offer an overview from a UN study, that describes the status of women in 99 countries around the world, and show how Christian influence generally correlates to a higher status for women. In Part IV, I'll argue historically that the Gospel itself is responsible for elevating billions of women around the world, even in "non-Christian" countries like Thailand and Taiwan. Then in Part V, I'll consider every passage in the gospels related to women, and show where that power originated.