One of the surprises of the 21st century is the revival of slavery around the world. From the Chinese laogai to the brothels of Berlin, from Darfur to Darby, humans are being bought and sold as property. In fact, it is estimated that 27 million individuals are currently enslaved, nearly double the number that were owned as slaves throughout the entire history of American slavery.

This revival of slavery is more than a little ironic, especially in the West, considering it comes at a time when the equalitarian dogma of sexual sameness is taken for granted and millionaire descendants of African slaves demand reparations for acts committed over 14 decades ago, while ignoring Africans enslaved today.

In examining this issue, it is important to understand that slavery has been, throughout most of human history, an accepted institution. Every culture and every religion has embraced it, from the civilized Egyptians, Greeks and Romans to the barbarian Celts, Mongols and Zulus. Slaves have been owned by Christians, by Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and atheists alike.

There are only two cultures of which I am aware that have banned slavery without external pressure. One is Japan during the Momoyama Period of the 1580s, the other is early nineteenth-century Britain. But while the Japanese ban was inspired by one man’s dictate and did not long survive his successor, the British ban was inspired by Protestant Christianity and was spread by the daunting influence of Imperial British arms, everywhere from Europe to Asia, Africa and America.

But much has changed in the 199 years since William Wilberforce and his alliance of Quakers and Evangelicals led parliament to pass the Abolition of the Slave Trade Bill of 1807. Great Britain is no longer a devoutedly Christian empire, it is now a post-Christian province of the avowedly secular European Union where only 1.2 percent of the population bothers to attend Anglican services on a weekly basis. And the rest of Western Europe has seen a similar decline in religious belief, from Iceland to Italy.

Some insist it is merely a coincidence that this descent into post-Christianity has seen a concomitant rise in slavery, but this fails to recognize that slavery is the historical norm, even as hundreds of thousands of women are enslaved throughout the countries of the West.

In Europe alone, officials estimate more than 200,000 women and girls ? one-quarter of all women trafficked globally ? are smuggled out of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics each year; the bulk of whom end up working as enslaved prostitutes. Almost half are transported to Western Europe. Roughly a quarter end up in the United States. – Preston Mendenhall, MSNBC

At the same time, women are turning to Islam at a surprising rate. While many have heard Islam is the fastest-growing religion around the world, fewer are aware that eighty percent of converts to Islam are women. Islam For Today even maintains a website with testimonies from Irish, Slovak, German and American women who have reverted, to use the Islamic parlance.

The reason for these seemingly senseless trends is that the godless faith of secular humanism, of which feminism is but one aspect, is a barren one. It offers neither the moral guidance and aspiration that is required by men nor the sense of security and affirmation that is sought after by women. Rejecting outdated notions of good and evil in its determined relativism, modern neopagans find it impossible to explain to the slaver why it is wrong for him to seek the profits to be gained by enslaving another individual, much less offer him a worthier goal.

And in an increasingly amoral and brutal environment, it is not difficult to understand why women deprived of the protections offered by traditional Judeo-Christian society – indeed, the very notion that they might need such protection is now perceived as an insult – should turn to a religious structure that guarantees them a place, however inferior, where at least they will be valued for themselves and not as inexpensive property.

When one considers that a pretty young blonde sells for between $700 and $2,500, it’s no wonder that aging feminists rage about the low value men place on them. You could probably get Gloria Steinhem for less than the price of a decent bottle of scotch and Catherine MacKinnon for a Red Bull and a pack of chewing gum. Naomi Wolf would run a bit more, of course, since a discerning master would no doubt appreciate her ability to advise him on his wardrobe.

The usual liberal canards about changing society and education are hopelessly irrelevant in the face of amoral greed, lust and fear revealed by these twin trends. This is not to say that there is no answer for them, but a fallen world that has already rejected the transformational power of Jesus Christ in favor of godless philosophy and unprincipled moral pablum is unlikely to consider it, let alone embrace it as the logical solution.

The human spirit, like nature, abhors a vacuum. It is looking increasingly likely that the spiritual vacuum of the 21st century will offer women a choice between the brothel and the burqah as their equalitarian dream shatters around them.

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