Pope and Islamic leader agree: child rape is normal and men’s right

by Loretta Kemsley

Fazlul Haque Amini, an Islamist cleric, said, “Islam permits child marriage and it will not be tolerated if any ruler will ever try to touch this issue in the name of giving more rights to women.”

What Amini is really protesting is the Bangladesh’s government passage of laws protecting girls from rape that splits them wide open and results in death.

Islamic Sharia law…allows men to marry any infant girl child. It may be mentioned here that, such law is prevalent in most of the Islamic republics, while in Iran, even forceful sexual relations with the married infant is allowed. A large segment of Muslim scholars and secularist individuals term this as mere perversion.

In Bangladesh…hundreds of child mothers die due to lack of medical facilities as well as for pre-mature pregnancy. There are even cases of deaths of child wives being virtually raped by their husbands.

Amini, who claims 200,000 followers ready for civil war, is threatening jihad if the government dares to deprive men of their “right” to rape and murder these children.

In his 2010 Christmas address, Pope Benedict XVI said:

“In the 1970s, pedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children…We cannot remain silent about the context of these times in which these events have come to light,” he said, citing the growth of child pornography “that seems in some way to be considered more and more normal by society”

“It was maintained – even within the realm of Catholic theology – that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a ‘better than’ and a ‘worse than’. Nothing is good or bad in itself.”

The abuses of women and children in both religions don’t stop there. The RCC admitted their priests raped women in 23 countries. One nun, who was raped by a priest in South Africa, died during an abortion the church forced upon her. Her rapist was allowed to say Mass on her behalf.

One of the most comprehensive documents was compiled by Sister Maura O’Donohue, an Aids co-ordinator for Cafod, the London-based Catholic Fund for Overseas Development.

She noted that religious sisters had been identified as “safe” targets for sexual activity. She quotes a case in 1991 of a community superior being approached by priests requesting that the nuns be made available to them for sexual favours.

“When the superior refused the priests explained they would otherwise be obliged to go to the village to find women and might thus get Aids.”Sister O’Donohue said her initial reaction to what she was told by her fellow religious “was one of shock and disbelief at the magnitude of the problem”.

A thirteen year old gang rape victim was stoned to death in Islamic Somalia, but her confessed rapists laughed while their punishment was meted out: four “lashes” with twigs from a willow tree. Iran has stoned and hung teenage rape victims. Saudi Arabia imprisons rape victims, including teenage girls. Saudi courts upheld the “marriage” of an eight-year-old girl in repayment for her alcoholic father’s debts — a divorced father who did not support his child. The court ignored the pleas of her mother who was the only active parent in her life.

Egypt’s military gave “virginity tests” to female protesters arrested during the recent protests that unseated President Hosni Mubarak and forced government reform. Libyan troops sexually assaulted, including gang rape, women journalists and Libyan women caught in military checkpoints. Islam is behind the rape and mutilation of hundreds of thousands of women in Darfur.

Serbian troops gang raped Muslim women in hopes of impregnating them during the Bosnian War. While the Catholic church continued to tell women in the war zone that birth control was a sin, they gave birth control to nuns they deliberately sent into danger of sexual assault.

The cruelty imposed upon women by the three patriarchal Abrahamic religions includes violence inflicted upon Israeli women by “Chastity Guards” who beat women they decide are in violation of ultra-Orthodox religious laws. No woman is safe. Women have been beaten on buses or followed home.

After seizing the woman, the men toppled her to the floor, kicked her repeatedly and then gagged her, warning she would be blinded with mace and stabbed if she dare open her eyes. She was then ’interrogated’ by Buzaglo and his ilk, as they tried to force her to disclose the identities of men she had been in contact with. The group, which also hurled profanities at the woman throughout the ordeal, is also accused of threatening to kill the woman if she did not move from her apartment.

All of this violence stems from the Old Testament, a comprehensive misogynist’s manual with detailed instructions on how to torture, maim and murder women in the name of “God.”

Each of these coercive religions depends upon defining women’s sexuality as evil and controlling women through shaming and violence. And yet, despite the carnage, women still become members of these religions, still claim they are religions of “peace.” The better description would be violent religions in the name of obtaining a piece.

Patriarchal religion is the enemy of women and is being used to justify the removal of hard won rights granted to U.S. women just a few decades ago. More than 900 bills removing a variety of women’s rights have been introduced into state legislatures this year alone. A Georgia bill would make miscarriage a felony punishable by life in prison or the death penalty. Another bill would deny women the right to be named as a victim of rape or domestic violence until after her attacker was convicted. Until then, she would be referred to as “the accuser,“ as if she is considered a liar from the moment she is assaulted.

Bills in Congress and state legislatures would change the definition of rape to “forcible rape,” allowing all rapists who use intoxicants or drugs to incapacitate their victim to go scot-free. If a woman chose to stay alive by not fighting back, she could not claim rape. If a woman froze in fear, she could not claim rape. Date rape would cease to exist in the eyes of the law. The bill provided for the IRS to audit any woman wanting an abortion due to rape. The purpose of the audit would be to question her about the details of the rape.

The Declaration of Independence cites the right of “life, liberty and happiness,” but a new bill in Congress would grant hospitals the ability to let women die if an abortion would save their life.

What more proofs do women need to recant any belief in patriarchal religions? How many more need to hear from their pastors that their husband’s violence is their fault and “God” doesn’t allow them to obtain a divorce? Or that the cure for domestic violence is to “bake him a pie.”  

Patriarchal churches in the U.S. could not survive without women’s tithing and women’s volunteer work, yet women do not use their clout to demand better from the church that despises them. Why not? Perhaps because of trauma bonding or Stockholm Syndrome:

Stockholm syndrome is a term used to describe a real paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors; sometimes to the point of defending them. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors as an act of kindness….Hostages who develop Stockholm syndrome often view the perpetrator as giving life by simply not taking it. In this sense, the captor becomes the person in control of the captive’s basic needs for survival and the victim’s life itself…captives often misinterpret a lack of abuse as kindness and may develop feelings of appreciation for this perceived benevolence. If the captor is purely evil and abusive, the hostage will respond with hatred. But, if perpetrators show some kindness, victims will submerge the anger they feel in response to the terror and concentrate on the captors’ “good side” to protect themselves.

Instead of obeying the beckoning church bells, women should flee. In reality, they are alarm bells warning of an oncoming manmade disaster aimed solely at women.

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42 Comments to “Pope and Islamic leader agree: child rape is normal and men’s right”

  1. Loretta, this certainly is a frightening list, but why do you cite the old testament as the source of misogynist violence? Was ancient Greece, ancient Egypt, and other pagan empires free of such violence and misogynist ideologies? There was almost nothing but. Contemporary atheist society is full of violence against women, though women do no tithing there. Hindu religion used to support burning of widows. This is not to say that it is equally everywhere, like it seems this blog post implies. Isn’t it important to make distinctions, as well as draw connections?

  2. I did make distinctions. I discussed the three Abrahamic religions: Islam, Judaism and Christianity. All of them rely upon the Old Testament to justify their violence against women and children.

    Are there other sources of misogyny? Unfortunately, yes. But this essay was inspired by two religious leaders defending child rape and using their Abrahamic religion to do so.

  3. Excellent post, all patriarchal religions enshrine men’s sexual and reproductive rights over women and children. The children of both sexes are used for sex, the women mostly for reproduction. The porn and torture used against children weakens them and makes them easier for the system to control as adults.

    When women have gathered to worship the goddess they have traditionally been killed as witches, if women refuse to go to church they have also been killed as witches. In the UK, comparatively few women go to church these days, most of those that do, have not even read the old testament, and are visibly shocked when you tell them the kinds of things it says about women.

  4. It’s a great article. No doubt these three religions have been used to justify violence against women and girls.

    One thing that makes this issue so sticky is that women aren’t just oppressed by the church, they also use it to network with each other, to give them comfort, to inspire them. Many social movements originated in the church and were created by women. Religious women aren’t all suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, many of them are quite aware of how the cookie crumbles, perhaps even more so than some of their fun-feminist-sexuality-seeking sisters who think they are so liberated.

    Not to dismiss the power of organized religion, especially when it merges with the state, but just about anything can and will be used to justify misogyny. Science was busy giving us lobotomies and removing our uteruses when the church was busy playing their tune.

    As to child rape being normal, what really creeped me out about the Twilight series was some part where Edward says he watched her and longed for her as a baby. Creepy! True, Twilight has lots of subtle religious messages, but it’s uses vampires to justify misogyny and creepiness.

    My point being, I think you could remove religion from the world and you would still have woman hate and people selling justification for violence against us. I haven’t been too impressed with science, with atheism, with progressive movements, because they all seem to find a way to wrap up the same old crap.

  5. Loretta, this is an excellent article. I do think that religion has historically held a particular place. Religions are presented as not open to criticism, as the final word. So if a male leader wants more power, they affiliate with the church in some way. That is what has happened with right wing fundamentalists in the current situation. If a person says, “I can speak directly to God, and God says . . .” it is harder to refute. Male leaders have always claimed this.

    When I read this article I was reminded of the film, “Vision” about Hildegarde Von Bingen. It was devastating, in that film, to see the abusive role of the church, but I cheered her cleverness in being able to use some of these strategies to defy the conventions, like having direct visions from God. She is one woman who has not been totally lost to history. She was able to use the political system of the church to defy them in certain ways.

  6. I also meant to say that this assumption that the leaders have some sort of a pipeline to a (male) god has kept the allegations of this horrible abuse from being shown for these perpetrators are. They are monsters! To rape/murder an infant in the name of a tradition is monstrous. The church plays a particular role in this and in the coverups.

    I am still thinking of the bravery of Sinead O’Connor who tore up a picture of the pope after singing “War” on Saturday Night Live. In the song, she changed the words, “war” to “child abuse.” This was when the reports of child abuse were not being believed and there was a major coverup going on by the church. It hurt her career quite a bit. She did the right thing.

  7. Just a quick look back at your post and I see that the first quote cites Islamic sharia law, not the old testament, and the second quote cites Catholic theology, found in the new testament. The third quote doesn’t cite any religious text. Actually you don’t make it clear where most of your quotes come from. I don’t see any quote from the old testament. Yet you assert, ‘All of this violence stems from the Old Testament, a comprehensive misogynist’s manual with detailed instructions on how to torture, maim and murder women in the name of “God.”’

  8. Loretta,

    I have been struggling with this very issue. I go to church hoping for some smidgen of kindness and comfort from the message and for fellowship with other humans. My faith gives me the strength and hope to continue and without it I think I might not survive. So it is unacceptable to walk away from one’s lifeline just because men choose to exploit it to enforce THEIR misogyny. It is neither God’s doing, His instructions, nor His fault that men hate women. They bare the sole responsibility for their hatred.

    So I am torn. I arrive late to church every week, like an hour, and I can’t explain why. I don’t do it intentionally but I find myself just dreading the next stupid misogynist comment from the pulpit. I have been thoroughly disgusted at some of the things I have heard taught from the pulpit. For example, when I first started attending regularly eons ago I was actually drinking the guy’s kool-aid until one day he said that women just want to be men. From that day to this I knew he was a misogynist and not “anointed” of God. (Men of God are supposed to be anointed by God to speak the message that they do, sent from God through prayer–more on this later).

    The examples are many. He routinely shames his wife from the pulpit. If she has to pee during the service she gets up from her seat and asks him for permission to go. He announces her request and then jokingly pretends he might say no. When they have to leave the service a little early to go to the other location he tells his sixty-year old wife of 30-some odd years to go to the bathroom before going to the car just like she’s a 4 year old. All of this is done on mic. There is also routine fuckability policing for women congregants. We are admonished with some frequency not to be too fat or too unkept. There are many other examples but the worst one recently was the widow.

    Last year a twenty year veteran of the church died. He and his wife were fixtures and among the most loyal followers of the ministry and especially the pastor. When the announcement of the death was made in Sunday service we ended up doing an impromptu memorial. All the people who were close to the deceased or who were touched by his life in some way spoke on his behalf. Every time a man went to speak at the mic his wife was required to follow him there. After all of the remembrances were done it was then the pastor’s turn to say his words. He told this story about the elderly couple whom I referred to as “Ike and Tina” because that’s who they resembled. Back in the early days of our church he told, Tina used to stand toe-to-toe with her husband and verbally dress him down which he observed on occasion. One day the pastor took Ike aside and asked him, Ike doesn’t it bother you that your wife talks to you like that? Ike answered, it doesn’t bother me I’ll just run her home and tap those hips (read ass) and everything is alright. In church. On mic. At her husband’s memorial. I was furious with him for a good six months and I still haven’t thawed.

    I have considered leaving but where would I go? Every other church, as well as every other activity, will be just as misogynist. So what’s the point of leaving when you know nothing better is available? Should I denounce the faith that gives me comfort just because men are contaminating it like they do everything? I reject the man and his misogyny and male supremacy, not the faith itself. I long for a rad fem pastor but those don’t exist anywhere, let alone in my town. There are a few women pastors nationwide but sadly they’re just men in women’s clothing, preaching more of the same.

    Patriarchal churches in the U.S. could not survive without women’s tithing and women’s volunteer work, yet women do not use their clout to demand better from the church that despises them. Why not?

    True. Ninety percent of congregations are women and children and the other 10 percent are the men we drag along with us. There is no church without women and that’s why the unapologetic misogyny is so enraging. It is so arrogant. One would expect just from a business standpoint the church would be more civil. But that’s men for you. Women are never powerful in their eyes, no matter what the dynamics. We are expected to shut up and obey even when we clearly have the upper hand.

    Instead of obeying the beckoning church bells, women should flee

    Christian women are even more indoctrinated into male supremacy than the general pop because we are told all our lives not only that male supremacy and female submission is right and good but that they are God’s mandate (hint: NOT). One really mustn’t defy God. That’s bad. Bad sinner. So most women obey to please God, to please the spiritual leader and to keep the peace in their homes. Unlike me. But like me they need the hope and the real benefits of having faith, fellowship, and community.

    Fist bump to yttik.

    As a pleasant side note I’ve been following French Open tennis all week and after the final today was curious about the prize money so I looked it up and was pleasantly surprised to find that men and women champions receive exactly the same money 1.2M euro = $1.75M. Yay. Of course that’s for so-called socialist France. I hope the same rule applies for the other tournaments.

  9. Adriene, there is a link to each quote. Look for the underlined word or phrase and click it. I quoted news articles, not theology.

    These three religions are all founded upon the Old Testament, including Christianity (which people often claim is not). Here’s a page citing NT verses demanding Christians follow the OT too:

    http://www.evilbible.com/do_not_ignore_ot.htm

    If you doubt the misogyny in the OT, take a look at these pages:

    http://www.evilbible.com/sexism_in_the_torah.htm

    http://www.evilbible.com/Rape.htm

    FemmeForever

    You’re missing out on a dynamic movement that has gone back to the true teachings of Yeshua, which were not misoygnist. In fact, he specfically taught about the Queendom of Heaven. Yes, the original word in the original language was feminine. The quotes attributed to him parallel the Wisdom literature. Wisdom is a goddess quoted as speaking in the first person in Proverbs 8 where she discusses being at creation. The painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, where God is pointing at Adam, has his other arm wrapped around Wisdom. The Wisdom literature is far more extensive than what you will find in Proverbs, but that is the part you can access most readily.

    The original words referring to deity in the OT did not specify a male god. Their concept was that deity is both male and female. This is made clear in Genesis where deity made both men and women in divine image. There is a section in Eden where “God” is speaking to other deities and complaining Adam and Eve may “become like us.” (immortal) since they’ve already eaten from the Tree of Knowledge (Tree of Wisdom) and may find the Tree of Life (Tree of Immortality). The people he is speaking to are the Elohiem, which means gods and goddesses, plural.

    Throughout the OT, the pronouns referring to deity referred sometimes to male pronouns and sometimes to female pronouns. This was lost when it was translated out of the original. All pronouns were made male.

    In the Biblical scene at Jordan River, where the voice from the sky states (paraphrased): “This is my son, in whom I am well pleased.” The voice is not identified as to sex, but the dove that comes down is the symbol of Sophia (aka Wisdom). The Greek word “philosophy” literally means “Lover of Wisdom.”

    Mary Magdalene was falsely identified as a whore by Pope Gregory in the fifth century. There is nowhere in the Bible where that claim is made. What better way to discredit a woman than a sexual slur? Why would they need to discredit her? Because she was Yeshua’s co-leader. She financed his ministry. He termed her The Woman Who Knew The All. She was the Apostle to the Apostles and carried many lofty titles. He chose her when he appeared after death. She was the one who rallied the cowardly men both before and after his death. In the scriptures found at Nag Hammadi, she is clearly their leader after his death and his favorite before.

    In fact, Peter is very disturbed by this. Peter is portrayed as not understanding Yeshua’s teachings in gnostic scriptures and in the Bible, and yet the RCC declared him as the apostle chosen to take over after Yeshua’s death. Why would Yeshua continuously chastize him in life and then appoint him as the most likely leader after death? Answer: he didn’t. That was conferred on Mary Magdalene.

    The RCC did not change their false teaching about MM being a whore until the 1960s when the scriptures found at Nag Hammadi were about to be made available to the public. They tried to stop their release but failed. While they never openly admitted her “prostitute” status was a lie, they quietly quit teaching it and changed their references to her. Unfortunately, many still believe those false accusations.

    The “Lord’s Prayer,” in the original Aramaic does not reference “Our Father in Heaven.” It begins with a saluations to our Cosmic Mother and Father. There are several versions. This page has their translation:

    http://www.thenazareneway.com/lords_prayer.htm

    Yeshua was the ultimate feminist, empowering and elevating women in all he taught. This is why his teachings were originally ridiculed as a “church of women, children and slaves.”

    There are alternatives to the church you are attending. You may not have a congregation physically near you, but there are many gathering places on the Net. There are many books available that go into this in more depth. You don’t need to sit through misogyny on Sundays. In fact, He would be the first to say you deserve better.

  10. Hi loretta

    I agree that it is crucial to examine patriarchal institutions like medicine, law, and religion to suss out HOW these institutions are founded on, create and perpetuate women’s oppression under patriarchy, and how they grant men individually and as a class, power over women. Reproductive control, including mandatory piv and rape, and prohibitions on contraception and abortion are key. Sexual trauma and trauma bonding is key. Illness and death are key. Economic, physical and social dependence are key. You can see all of these things operating to oppress women and empower and build up men, and the institutions facilitating all of it like a well oiled machine, once you start to see it for what it is. Religion is HUGE. It’s absolutely huge.

  11. Those posting here that misogyny is everywhere are absolutely right. To that we should add: and so is religion. Religion is the base of every culture in the world, so we can’t shy away from naming the culprit.

    Misogynist religions were invented by misogynists. Misogynist religion is the most efficient source of handing misogyny down, generation after generation, and to get an overwhelming amount of people to work against women’s rights — including women who have been taught the misogyny since birth and are threatened with hell if they defy “God” by wanting equality. But we cannot ignore it even if we are not part of any religion or are a member of an egalitarian religion. Religioius misogyny is being used right now to deprive all of us of our hardwon gains via the political process.

  12. Richard dawkins describes how religion is passed along generationally like genes are…he calls religion and religious tenets “memes” meaning social constructs that essentially replicate themselves and are passed along genetic (familial) lines almost as if they are alive. It’s really interesting to think about religious-based or religion-backed misogyny in that way, and it gives an idea about how difficult it will be to eradicate it. According to dawkins view, its very much like a virus.

  13. That’s a good way of putting it. Misogynists created misogynist religions, and now those misogynist religions create new misoygnists generation after generation.

    According to Leonard Shlain, in The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image, the use of the written word helped give rise of misogyny and to eradicate goddess worship. Schlain is a neurosurgeon who investigated the subject because of his interest in how the brain works. Here’s the summary for his book:

    Could the invention of writing, and then the alphabet, have been largely responsible for a decisive shift towards patriarchy and misogyny? in this book, the author draws on brain anatomy and anthropology, religion and history, to develop his challenging thesis. Literacy, he argues, encourages “masculine” linear, reductionist and abstract modes of thought which tend to degrade women. (The witch-hunts of the Renaissance coincided with the rapid expansion of printing). Yet the last century has been the rise of visual communications media such as photography, film, television and the Internet. Regardless of their content, such innovations are reconfiguring our brains and producing a climate far more amenable to feminine values. it is only by acknowledging the downside of literacy that we can incorporate its benefits into a culture rooted in “the right-hemispheric values of tolerance, caring and respect for nature.

    Of course, I would argue with his “masculine” and “feminine” designation for brain hemispheres, but this was written before the current brain research that shows how interlinked the two hemispheres are, especially in women. I suspect he was using those even at that time because that is what the public believed. Note they are in quotes. This has been valuable book for me, and I’d recommend it to anyone who has an interest in the subject.

  14. Actually saying that a meme like both a gene and a virus doesn’t really make a lot of sense does it? I guess its the image of it replicating and being passed down along family lines that he was going for. Not sure if he said it was like both a virus and a gene, or if I made that part up.

  15. ” Could the invention of writing, and then the alphabet, have been largely responsible for a decisive shift towards patriarchy and misogyny? in this book, the author draws on brain anatomy and anthropology, religion and history, to develop his challenging thesis. Literacy, he argues, encourages “masculine” linear, reductionist and abstract modes of thought which tend to degrade women.”

    This of course gives credit to men for creating language. But the oldest mythes give goddesses credit for creating language: Saraswati in India and Sheshat in Egypt. I think it most unlikely the males developed written language, women have better verbal skills. We talk more, probably this has been a useful adaptation for teaching children. I think what this man is saying by stealth, is that women have more primitive minds. It serves to divert us from the realisation that we invented most things.

  16. There’s a difference between creating language and creating the written word. Language existed for eons before the written word was created a few thousand years ago, so there’s no conflict between the two.

    Here’s a short excerpt from Chapter one which I obtained from his website.

    http://www.alphabetvsgoddess.com/chapters.html

    Chapter 1: Image / Word

    Of all the sacred cows allowed to roam unimpeded in our culture, few are as revered as literacy. Its benefits have been so incontestable that in the five millennia since the advent of the written word numerous poets and writers have extolled its virtues. Few paused to consider its costs. Sophocles once warned, “Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.” The invention of writing was vast; this book will investigate the curse.

    There exists ample evidence that any society acquiring the written word experiences explosive changes. For the most part, these changes can be characterized as progress. But one pernicious effect of literacy has gone largely unnoticed: writing subliminally fosters a patriarchal outlook. Writing of any kind, but especially its alphabetic form, diminishes feminine values and with them, women’s power in the culture. The reasons for this shift will be elaborated in the coming pages. For now, I propose that a holistic, simultaneous, synthetic, and concrete view of the world are the essential characteristics of a feminine outlook; linear, sequential, reductionist, and abstract thinking defines the masculine. Although these represent opposite perceptual modes, every individual is generously endowed with all the features of both. They coexist as two closely overlapping bell-shaped curves with no feature superior to its reciprocal.

    These complementary methods of comprehending reality resemble the ancient Taoist circle symbol of integration and symmetry in which the tension between the energy of the feminine yin and the masculine yang is exactly balanced. One side without the other is incomplete; together, they form a unified whole that is stronger than either half. First writing, and then the alphabet, upset this balance. Affected cultures, especially in the West, acquired a strong yang thrust.

  17. Feminism is what made me an atheist. I have become so turned off by religion and it’s bullshit. It took me a while to finally start questioning my church and faith but once I did I never stopped. And I never got good answers for any of those questions, either. More often than not I just got told to stop asking so many questions, that God loves everyone and to just accept it all on faith and I’ll be happy. Nope, sorry, no can do. I know I deserve to be seen as human and I refuse to follow anything that tries to tell me otherwise.

  18. Years ago I read about multi-lingual people, living in tribes, who did not have language education. The point of this was that people are naturally multi-lingual, but the education systems that teach language and make people “literate” change the ease with which people naturally do use 5 or 6 languages from childhood. I believe that this was due to tribes that lived in proximity and had contact or perhaps nomadic peoples who crossed paths. The language skill may be very different in the world as we know it today than it naturally was. It was in Co-evolution quarterly magazine. I may be getting some of it wrong, but this was the basic outline of the article that left an impression on me.

  19. As is often the case, the worst thing about atheism is the men. 😛

  20. “These complementary methods of comprehending reality resemble the ancient Taoist circle symbol of integration and symmetry in which the tension between the energy of the feminine yin and the masculine yang is exactly balanced. One side without the other is incomplete; together, they form a unified whole that is stronger than either half. First writing, and then the alphabet, upset this balance. Affected cultures, especially in the West, acquired a strong yang thrust.”

    The concept of Yin and Yang is, as it exists today, a patriarchal corruption in my view. It is old, but altered from its original meaning of, the forces of life and death, as symbolised by the goddess of life and death. In life is the seed of death, in death the seed of life. Representing male as life and female as death is nonsense, both live and both die.
    Present interpretations of yin and yang are as deeply insulting to women as the Buddhist saying ‘the lowest monk is higher than the highest nun’ roughly paraphrased.
    Male is light, active, warm, female dark, passive and cold! I don’t think so. There is nothing that can be warped, that patriarchy has not warped, all knowledge systems are tainted by its passing.

    I understand that writing is different to speaking, both Saraswati and Sheshat were scribes who invented writing. Writing evolved as short cuts for pictographs.
    His whole hypothesis is nonsense in my view, it is how writing is used that matters, not that it is used. Writing existed long before we have records of it, because the earliest writing material would have been wood and cloth, materials easy to imprint and light to carry. Minoans had Linear A and they were not patriarchal.

    I am just asking you to think again on this book, Loretta. This man purports to be pro women and has made money from taking that position, but what he is really saying is that patriarchy has brought progress and maybe something has been lost in that process. He also neatly conceals the role women play in all inventions. Who reads books? Mainly women. Who writes books ? Mainly women. Who publishes books and makes money? Mainly men.

    I have read excerpts and saw him interviewed, I don’t trust him, his theories lead us nowhere concrete except to his bank.

  21. I have his book and don’t find it as you describe. I have found it very enlightening.

    You seem to not understand his basic premise about writing; that it changes the brain. Since all research is showing our brains are changed by what part we use, what we experience and other life dynamics, there is no reason to think he is making this up. Have you read up on the latest brain research that is changing everything we thought we knew about our brains?

    As to who reads and writes, women being in the forefront is only a recent development. For centuries, women were denied the right to learn to read and write. Right now, one of our own essays discusses a woman writer who could not get published in the 1950s until she began writing under a man’s name. (The Women Men Don’t See: Alice B Sheldon)

    Trying to frame all of history in what is experienced or understood today just doesn’t work. It is only by tracing history that we get a full understanding of anything, including writing.

    But I do agree with you that patriarchy can corrupt anything to do with the sacred feminine — and has. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t reach back and try to understand what happened and shouldn’t try to recover what we can.

    Being afraid to learn is not one of my problems. Learning is an adventure I love. I have yet to find anyone who has perfect knowledge of any subject, and that isn’t the standard I use when evaluating knowledge. This man’s books is one I count as helpful to me. I’m sorry if it isn’t for you.

  22. Yes, Loretta I do understand the basic premise. I don’t agree with it . I mentioned a lot about history and used only one modern
    frame. Women in the ancient world were scholars, Sappho, Hypatia, Enheduanna, to name but a few. I have actually put forward some very coherent reasons why I don’t like this book. As well as sited many examples from history, which I would hardly know about were I afraid of learning. Given that I have a limited amount of reading I can accomplish in my life time, his is not a book I chose to explore further. I sat and listened to his theories for an hour and wanted my time back. I found his conclusions conceptually limiting for women. You are free to find his book helpful, of course,
    I was being perfectly genuine in engaging you on the subject.

  23. Loretta, I will respond more thoroughly to your post and reponse later, but just wanted to make clear that I was not objecting to anyone pointing out misogyny anywhere it exists, and I never implied that I doubted it exists in the Old Testament, or anywhere else in the ancient patriarchal world. Rather I pointed out your inaccurate assertion that the misogynist comments and laws and customs you highlighted were based on the old testament. Sharia law is based on the Koran, and there is a difference between the laws and customs that this cleric defends as Godly, and the Pope’s pathetic minimization of use of porn, knowing it is wrong. (trusting your assertion for now). This is just one example of how you blur distinctions. Blurring or obliterating distinctions to make a propagandistic point erases the real experiences, the reality, of the women and girls subjected to very differ t levels of violence and oppression. It’s like saying that corporations pollute, and then equating all forms of pollution, to make the argument that corporations are Bad, rather than fight where and how a fight is needed. Back to my original point, you makes no real distinction between how these three religions differ from other patriarchal religions, how or why, or how Islamic law and new testament ideology that differs from the old testament is to be blamed on the old testament. You offer no facts to support the assertion. I couldn’t help but think of the old feminist reshaping of the ancient “the Jews killed Jesus” ( not based on the old testament, by he way). The feminist version was “the Jews killed the Goddess”. I thought that was effectively challenged a decade or two ago. But maybe not.

  24. Yes, you did mention several things, but nothing specific that he said in the book that would make me change my mind. I don’t even know what it is you want me to reconsider. I bought the book when it first came out and have read through once, plus have reread key parts several times. So what is it I should do? Forget what he wrote? Take the book back? Disagree with what I agree with?

    Do you have an alternate book to recommend that covers the same territory?

    I have an abiding interest in the brain, how it works and how it affects us as individuals and as a society. I believe the more we know, the sooner we can change what needs changing, so if you have an alternate book in mind, please post it.

  25. just one detaisl: the Bible as it is know nowadyas is aproducte of Rome,and so are the catholic and all Cristian religion.The original Bibble contained much more evangelions,many written by women.They were destroyed/missed when Rome, Imperor Constantine,to be honest,the one who invented all this mysoginistic crap we see nowadays,togheter with the Nicea Concill,created this “religion”.Jesus didn´t created anything,He even was against the pratices of the Old Testament.

    Honestly,while catholicism in my country fights prostitution,in yours it defends pedophyly and domestic violence? God…and peolpe say that Latin America is sexist!!

    So,the hatefull crap against women is Rome creation,ans has nothing to do with Yeshua,Christ,or whatever.I guess it is nedeless to say how women were treated in Rome…so,it´s just an addition to what have been said so far.

  26. About the book: just be carefull with this “brain speciallists”,they have been becoming commom,many of them with some crap like “female way of thinking” and “male way of thinking”,and they add some “esoteric” crap to make women belive they are in our favor,when actually their goals are to pull us back to submission.An exemple: our magazines are insisting saying women thinks better than me when they accept to be feminine…do i need to say anything else?

    What i see in these books is a huge pro-traditional-feminility campaing taking place and gaining adepts among commom women,while feminism is getting more and more demonized.i can´t speak for your countries,but i belive it happens there as well.

  27. “Forget what he wrote? Take the book back? Disagree with what I agree with?”

    Not at all, Loretta we have differing views on a book, thats all. I raised some of my reservations but it is fine if you disagree. We have just come to different conclusions.

  28. Adrienne,

    Abraham was originally a Canaanite god, Abram. Sarah was originally a Canaanite goddess, Sarii. All three of these religions share a common heritage via Abraham, hence the title “Abrahamic religion.” They all use the same characters, tales and the like, although they may vary in the interpretation.

    We tend to think of the Jews and Arabs as distinct, living in separate nations., never sharing a common heritage, but that isn‘t true and never was. Back when the OT was written, they were nomadic and often lived in the same territories and cities. They share the same cultural heritage in many ways, including the myths in the OT.

    Christian theology often refers to the OT and the OT is included in the Bible, so there can be no dispute it is influenced by the OT. The Koran also has its roots in the OT. Here’s a page that discusses that in detail. You can see the two books use many of the same tales and characters:

    The Origins of the Koran
    http://debate.org.uk/topics/books/origins-koran.html

    The above is a summary of a book of the same name.

    There is no way I could have done all you asked in one short essay on a blog. I’m not sure why you thought I could or would. I don’t need to relate the history of the roots of these three religions when there is so much freely available to all who want to learn. There is no reason to compare and contrast them with other religions. That doesn’t even make sense to me. I’ve never heard of anyone who tried that unless they intended to write a multi-volume series.

    I’ve posted several links that address the issues you bring up. If they don’t answer your questions, I’m sure a quick google search would turn up the information you seek.

  29. Here’s a radical concept; everyone starts believing in their own personal power, rather than some pie-in-the-sky deity. Misogynist or not, all religions are based on human theory which, in the grand scheme of things, is essentially worthless. It is intellectually impossible for any creature on this planet to determine ‘the meaning of it all’. I can think of no statement more pompous than “God spoke to me”. Isn’t that special? Men talking to themselves, and bragging about it.

    And then that voice says “Rape a child”. Well, if God (*wink* *wink*) has delivered this instruction, then it must be righteous… and it must be obeyed immediately! *puke*

    Men created Jehovah/Allah/Mr. Potatohead/Whatever, not the other way around. So it follows that “God” is codeword for everyman.

  30. “God” is codeword for everyman.

    Never thought of it that way before, but I like it. Well said.

  31. Let’s see how long they’d continue to think that way – IF ………. the MOTHERS were all Lorena Bobbitts!!

    (As they would be in the wild – for MOTHER NATURE !)

  32. Ugh, FCM, don’t get me started on atheist men. I could probably rant all day about their science worshiping (and screw them because that is pretty much EXACTLY what they do), evo psyche loving bullshit. I left that community a while ago, but just because atheist men are douchebags doesn’t mean I’m gonna start believing in a god again. Especially since religious men are just as bad. You just can’t win in a movement controlled by men. :\

    Also, just as a side note about all that, why would I trade religion, where old white dudes tell me what’s what and just trade it for science where more old white dudes tell me what’s what? Never understood that. I’m tired of white dudes telling me what to do, so why would I replace one group of them for another when neither is really any different or better?

  33. From one of the “uncool” – respectfully ask: What IS a male ‘douchebag?”

    Thanks.

  34. Yes I prefer degrading men by calling them enema-bags, and not using douche negatively. I have said it recently, I think on my own blog, but I’m trying to break the habit. It’s tempting to use misogynist slurs in anger when that’s all our language allows, but we can do better. And I think enema bag is it. :p

  35. Adrienne, I decided to return to these points in your post:

    (trusting your assertion for now).

    Please don’t. Please click each of the links for each of the quotes I used and read the entire article. That’s why I include them.

    there is a difference between the laws and customs that this cleric defends as Godly, and the Pope’s pathetic minimization of use of porn, knowing it is wrong.

    The Pope didn’t merely “minimize” the use of porn. He endorsed child rape as legitimate for both men and their victims while arguing that the public believes child porn is “normal.” It bothers me that you tried to minimize what he said and tried to draw a distinction between the child rape endorsed by the Pope and the child rape claimed as a right by the Islamist leader. Do you think the child raped by the priest is going to feel less violated than the child raped by a Muslim after “marriage”?

    Blurring or obliterating distinctions to make a propagandistic point erases the real experiences, the reality, of the women and girls subjected to very differ t levels of violence and oppression.

    Again, what distinction? The women and children locked away in FLDS compounds suffer the same as the women and children locked away in their homes by the Taliban. Both cultures are duplicates of the way women and children were treated by the Hebrews who wrote the OT. The Hebrews of the OT are the ultra-Orthodox Jews of today, like the sect in Israel I discussed in the main essay and the Hasidic Jews in New York who have signs posted on their public streets warning women how they must dress and behave.

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/ofe_bibl.htm

    How the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) generally viewed women:
    Women’s behavior was extremely limited in ancient times, much as the women of Afghanistan during the recent Taliban oppression. They were:

    Unmarried women were not allowed to leave the home of their father without permission.
    Married women were not allowed to leave the home of their husband, without permission.
    They were normally restricted to roles of little or no authority.
    They could not testify in court.
    They could not appear in public venues.
    They were not allowed to talk to strangers.
    They had to be doubly veiled when they left their homes.

  36. Loretta wrote: There is no way I could have done all you asked in one short essay on a blog. I’m not sure why you thought I could or would. I don’t need to relate the history of the roots of these three religions when there is so much freely available to all who want to learn. There is no reason to compare and contrast them with other religions. That doesn’t even make sense to me. I’ve never heard of anyone who tried that unless they intended to write a multi-volume series.

    Agreed! For instance, there is a five-volume series published by the The Fundamentalism Project about fundamentalisms worldwide. h ttp://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/series/FP.html (link broken). Most of the volume are over 800 pages. Even with that, the editors feel that it is not comprehensive. I have not read it all, but have read in it. The reason I was interested is that there appear to be fundamentalist threads in every religion that have been gaining ground. Fundamentalisms may differ in many ways, but they seem to have in common an authoritarian structure and the oppression of women woven into them. At the time I read portions of this, women appeared to be gaining ground in many protestant faiths, being ordained, etc. The fundamentalisms were different in many ways, but appeared to contain a backlash against women’s gains.

    This was when I was a liberal feminist and had hope for liberal faiths in the women’s movement. If I were attending church, I’d still choose one like the United Church of Christ (NOT the Church of Christ, which is the opposite). They ordained their first woman as a minister in the 1800’s, and before that were active in things like women’s health. At this point, though, I’ve had enough of liberal feminist men in my personal life, though I want them to continue to support women where ever they do, and to increase that support.

    Your original point, Loretta, about rape and religion is an important one for radical feminists. We cannot afford to turn away from the reality of this. In some ways, the liberal branches of a religion like Catholicism can sugar-coat the religion and dilute the effect of rape within the religion. It’s why reform doesn’t work.

    Also, the thing about atheist men, UGH! Just like radical men in every movement as far as I can tell. It’s all about them when it comes to women and using women in ways they don’t even think twice about. It is probably why the radical branches of all these movements never appealed to me personally. They men seemed even more misogynist than the mainstream man. But radical feminism makes good sense to me. Radical feminist religion sounds good, too.

  37. All fundamentalists need a strict structure in beliefs and a common enemy — “the other.” That’s what makes the group cohesive. That’s why you hear so many rallying cries about “the other” taking over the culture and the nation.

    Recent studies have shown those on the right have a stronger startle response than those on the left. This indicates they are more fearful in general, hence they feel safer within the strict structure and can be more easily rallied against “the other.”

    Other studies show they literally view life through a different frame than those who are more liberal. Where a liberal will see adventure and opportunity, they will see a threat to their well-being.

    That’s what is being used to take away our rights. We are viewed as a threat to their well-being. You can hear it in every speech made on their behalf. Of course, we’re not the only people in “the other” category. Same sex marriage is. Obama is. All non-whites are. Immigrants are. The list could be quite long, but you get the idea.

    The trouble with fighting back and limiting their effect on our lives is that liberals don’t view life the same way, so they don’t perceive how harmful the threat is until it is extreme and many rights have already vanished. That’s how Germany went from a democracy to Hitler’s nightmare. I’m hoping the current extremes in legislation will wake up the liberals and convince them to act together in the voting booth — something that’s really not in their make-up.

    What gives me the most hope is that the fundamentalists have placed so many groups in our nation in “the other” category, so perhaps the combined voting of all these groups will keep their candidates from being elected.

  38. Lol, FCM, I’ve always liked douchebag as an insult for men, personally, since douching is indeed very harmful to women as are men (yet we are told we need both) so I think the term fits quite perfectly. Words like that are kind of a personal thing, I think, so I would never expect everyone else to use it. For me it works so I’ll probably stick with it for now and I really don’t feel it’s necessarily degrading or misogynistic like “bitch” and “motherfucker” (words I have been trying to weed out of my vocabulary). “Douchebag” or “douche” just calls the men out for what they are: completely harmful to women and yet sold to us like we need ’em. 🙂

    Totally don’t wanna be off topic here, though, lol. Just kinda wanted to put that out there. 🙂

  39. Haha! Well when you put it that way…

  40. Patriarchal institutions like religion are rife with misogyny because they’re systems developed by men to benefit men. It’s just like FCM’s comment about how Hugo invokes the mighty hand of the law: He knows it will work for him because it was designed by his fellows to work for them and him.

    But those systems need some kind of perpetual energy source and for that they use the innate human need for meaning and purpose. We’re desperate to believe that everything that happens has both. Religion provides those answers and humans flock to and cling to them accordingly. Paganism and goddess worship are no different. And magical-thinking self-help systems, like The Landmark Forum (an updated version of EST) and The Secret are in the same continuum.

    The huge danger in all of these for women is in spending huge amounts of our energy trying to figure out how to get the gods or goddesses or “universe” to listen to us or talk to us or explain things to us or fix things for us. And an even greater danger in believing that things “happen for a reason,” which lets us remain indifferent to the suffering of others instead of seeing that it is men’s conception of the way things work that enslaves us.

  41. Why do we seek the spiritual? We’re back to brain research:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=searching-for-god-in-the-brain

    Researchers are unearthing the roots of religious feeling in the neural commotion that accompanies the spiritual epiphanies of nuns, Buddhists and other people of faith.

    On a personal level, I am very spiritual. I seek to feel in balance with nature in all her forms. When I have not spent time in nature, I am off center to my Self. In nature, I can hear the Silence, which is a direct spiritual experience. I’ve also experienced being surrounded and held close by Divine Love. It is a feeling I share with strangers who’ve experienced NDE’s except I wasn’t dying or even asleep. But it wasn’t meeting a supernatural personage as most people would imagine. It was more of force that flowed, much like the air flows.

    Since I naturally yearn for spiritual enlightenment, it would reduce my energy and efficiency to try to fight it or block it from my life. Feeling out of balance brings on a depression that exudes exhaustion and demands I cease to be active. However, I can relieve that depression by simply watching a sunset, taking a swim in the ocean, being with my horse, walking in a canyon or contemplating the beauty of a flower. The energy I feel is energy that flows to me, not outward from me.

    While I don’t worship any particular divine being, I do enjoy contemplating the sacred feminine in her many forms. Pele, for instance, inspires through her fiery, passionate persona that is filled with power. The urge to create is expressed in The Great Mother who created all that exists, per mythology. The Butterfly Maiden inspires me with her ability to transform her Self.

    Many people are like me. They are better served by providing them an alternative to misogynist religions, by pointing them to the sacred feminine as she’s always been perceived throughout human existance.

  42. god is an illusion. Find another coping mechanism. I suggest a flame-thrower.

    Anyway, think about it. Flame-throwers actually make most excellent coping mechanisms — if women were to think about it even half as much as they think about how god must be their security blanket because apparently there is no other besides the great and glorious FLAMETHROWER.. Join a knitting class or something if “community” is the goal. But christ on a popsicle stick quit supporting the church of men.

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