A group of Christian conservatives in Kansas have decided to host a weekend retreat in Wichita for the sole purpose giving away young teenage girls in marriage.
Vaughn Ohlman has created the “Get Them Married” retreat, which is intended to “bring together like-minded families (and their unmarried young men and women) who are committed to young, fruitful marriage and to help them overcome the barriers which have kept their children unmarried.”
This horrific weekend holiday in November will cost $1,200 to attend, as parents mingle and consider whom to marry their children off to.
According to their biblical interpretations, they believe girls are best to be married off before 20, and do not see their consent as a necessary part of this: “Scripture…gives example after example of young women being given to young men, without the young woman even being consulted,” Ohlman defends.
Perhaps even more disgusting is the fact that some fathers could make a buck off the marriage, specifying a “bride price.” According to Ohlman, “The bride price plays a significant function: It shows the woman’s value, and the point isn’t that the father gets the money but that he keeps it for his daughter, if her husband should ever abandon her.”
The mental gymnastics any fathers participating in this must go through is unimaginable.
This appalling practice is more common in the U.S. than you may think. According to the New York Times, thousands of children under 18 are married to adults, sometimes with parental consent, but often through forced and arranged marriages.
Sadly, state laws do not combat this strongly enough: “Forced and child marriages happen almost everywhere, yet only 10 states or jurisdictions have specific laws that can be used to prevent or punish forced marriage.”
Banner / Thumbnail : Wikimedia Commons / Jeff Belmonte