Jewish Journal


July 30, 2013

Who wants to win a baby?


"American Bible Challenge" has survived two seasons by awarding cash to contestants who correctly answer quiz show questions about the Bible. But what if, rather than money, contestants could walk away with a brand ... new ... BABY!

Of course, that would be crazy. Game shows can't just give away human beings. Right?

Tell that to Aman Ramazan. A show that has been dubbed the Pakistani version of "The Price is Right," Aman Ramazan awards members of the audiences with prizes for correctly answering questions about the Quran. And, according to CNN, the show is now including abandoned children in its prize pool.

The story:

The baby girls given away on the show were found by an NGO, the Chhipa Welfare Association, which says it receives up to 15 abandoned babies a month.

"Our team finds babies abandoned on the street, in garbage bins -- some of them dead, others mauled by animals. So why not ensure the baby is kept alive and gets a good home?" said Ramzan Chhipa, who runs the organization.

"We didn't just give the baby away. We have our own vetting procedure. This couple was already registered with us and had four or five sessions with us."

That explanation might alleviate concerns that these children will be given to families that will neglect them, or worse. But the televised-giveaway process trivializes the substantial commitment of taking care of another person. And the fact that Pakistan lacks adoption laws only further complicates whether these girls will be properly provided for.

I'm also curious about the religious elements of this story.

The Aman Ramazan involves questions about the Quran, so is there some connection between the Quran and raising abandoned children -- or is it more general than that? And why is the producer looking to expand to minority religious communities, like the Sikhs, Hindus and Christians? Is it just that "the show has proved extremely popular, breaking ratings records"?

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