Archive for the ‘culture wars’ Category
I somehow have ended up arguing Scripture with a group of… well, I’m not sure. They call themselves “Christian,” and I’m not going to say that they’re not, but that’s an awfully broad label and doesn’t tell y’all much about what I’m talking about. They’re not exactly Quiverfull, but they’re close.
Anyway, I got into a debate about 1 Corinthians 7 and whether or not marriage is always supposed to be part of God’s plan.
(Some handy background for people who don’t know me well: I’m nonreligious, and I actually care whether or not the Bible says I should or should not do something. I’m here for the debate, because I enjoy debating.)
Now, that passage sounds to me – and to another woman on the site who actually seems to care – like Paul is saying basically that ideally, everyone would be an unmarried (and, hence, celibate) like him and marriage is just a compromise for those who aren’t cut out for life as an ascetic.
Basically, marriage is for those too weak willed to fight temptation.
(I’m not saying I believe this, I’m just saying this is what it sounds, to me, like what this passage is saying.)
One woman said that the times were different then, Christians were persecuted and in grave danger, and it would be better for a Christian to burn than to watch, helpless, as their spouse burned. However – this is where I jumped into the argument – why can’t we apply that rule to other Scriptural mandates? I doubt she’d be as willing to say that the Bible was written in a different cultural context than the world we live in today, therefore the things the Bible says about women/homosexuality/&c. no longer apply, either.
Funny how the Bible needs to be taken completely literally in some contexts (this site is big on the “[b]e fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth,” bit being a continued mandate, despite the Earth being more’n replenished already) but not in others (they don’t seem to support the “I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I” thing that Paul here is on about.)
If someone who actually knows the Bible and teachings thereof would like to educate me, I would like to be educated. I’m working with the passages themselves and some reading comprehension, but no religious teaching. (Yours truly is your friendly neighborhood godless heathen.)
Back in the day, my friend Stephen and I invented a religion (“fuckyouism”) and declared that math, among other things, was against it. As a devout fuckyouist, I shouldn’t be required to take advanced mathematics courses (part of the belief system was that letters were for literature and whatnot, numbers were for math, and never the twain shall meet) but still be awarded my diploma because a state funded school can’t force me to go against my religious beliefs.
This was, obviously, complete bullshit. I took my math classes, whined about it and moved on. (I still think those pesky letters should stay the fuck out of my mathematical equations, thank you very much.)
That was tenth grade, I think. So why do grown-ups think that they can get away with basically the same thing?
Okay, so they didn’t invent a religion with a deliberately offensive name in the name of high school political satire and a half-assed attempt to skip out on requirements, but the fact remains that they expect to get away with not doing the work without getting in trouble… Uh, no. Creationists don’t get to be biology teachers unless they can teach actual science, Christian Scientists probably shouldn’t be doctors and when was the last time you met a Jehovah’s Witness blood transfusion tech? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
I couldn’t go to court and defend Fred Phelps’ right to free speech under the First Amendment (which he has, no matter how deeply I desire to kick him in the teeth) and so I’m not studying to be a constitutional lawyer.
On a tangentially related note, this is actually not a constitutional issue at all. The First Amendment means the government can’t shut you up, but it does not mean that a private institution needs to allow you to speak/publish with them. Also, the Alliance Defend Fund is trying to say that her right to due process was violated, and again, this is a governmental issue and the university is free to organize its own procedures. (Unless I’m misunderstanding the 14th Amendment violation claim and it’s actually directed at the judge who, rightly, recognized that this was bogus – because the 1st Amendment is only about the government, duh.)
People, get with the program. (Reality has a liberal bias.)
D’you know what word fills me with rage?
Every time I read it, I just want to stomp around like fucking Godzilla.
It just… ew. The connotations are disgusting: submit to him, damn it, because he’s the man and you’re the woman, he’s smart and you’re stupid he’s right and you’re wrong.
A few men are born with more than their share of dominance and, on the surface, a deficit in gentleness. (source)
… but that’s okay, because he will “exalt” (and presumably stop abusing*) her if she just sits down and shuts the fuck up (and if he’s not exalting you, it’s your own damn fault, fucking uppity whining harpy bitch).
If you are married to a king, honor and reverence is something you must give him on a daily basis if you want him to be a benevolent, honest, strong, and fulfilled man of God.
Yeah: do as your told and he’ll be nicer to you.
This is the sort of apologist bullshit I expect from, well, abusers; it takes on a whole different level of disturbing and upsetting when the victims are going on about how this is totes okay because God says so. (They probably have some bullshit caveat about how “this isn’t really abuse” (the same way beating your children with PVC piping is also just good upbringing “training,” or how a good man of God would never harm his spouse (bullshit, I say, and here’s one example)). They might say that’s not the ~intent but people love abusing their power; that old truism “absolute power corrupts absolutely”? they call them truisms for a reason. I mean, c’mon people: if your husband’s word is law and you’re not supposed to challenge his authority, telling him to stop abusing you is breaking the law… and this, my friends, is what we call a Catch-22.)
If you’re not a wife yet, being your husband’s helpmeet, you should stay at home and help your dad, since you’re his property until you get married, anyway. No, really. There’s tons of bullshit about glorifying your [male relative]’s achievements and doing a lot of legwork but taking no credit and just being glad your [male relative] gets all of this cool stuff done, or something, and the most important part is that you never once complain about doing arduous and menial labor for no thanks, let alone pay. This all comes down to stroking male egos (many of the articles are about how a woman should never chastise or correct her husband, even when his behavior is out of line or he’s just plain old fashioned incorrect) and ensuring that their fantasy of what women are or should be (unpaid laborers who do so without ever striking and demanding better workplace conditions and thirty days of paid leave each year). It’s win-win if you’re a man: you have a penis, so you’re always right and the whole family belongs to you and exists for your pleasure. If your wife says otherwise, just remind her that if she doesn’t follow your directions explicitly, immediately and cheerfully, she is rebelling and will go straight to hell for daring to disagree with you. That’ll shut her up. (It does, too; these men exploit religious beliefs and deeply held fears of damnation to their own, ultimately self-serving, ends and they never have to examine what that means because that’s just how God made it, and us uppity, hairy feminist bitches need to shut up and get back to the kitchen, already.)
No, let me tell you how it is: women are people, too.
We all have the right to pursue our own dreams. I do not exist merely to serve some man’s every wish and whim, to suffer abuse for failing to be “cheerful” about performing arduous but menial tasks for no thanks, let alone recognition. Subjugation is, by nature, never joyful; it breeds resentment and discontent. Collaboration and compromise that takes the needs of both partners into account is the only way to a truly joyful relationship.
… but I forgot, didn’t I? These people aren’t talking about respectful, loving relationships between people, they’re talking about the relationship between a man and his property, because women aren’t really people in their minds, just nameless, faceless mothers and wives at best, and nameless, faceless “incubators” at worst.
This whole patriarchal religious movement is just a way to ensure that male fantasies about the role of women continue to be fulfilled, at the expense of actual women.
I know I’m taking potshots at easy targets, here, but I run emotional and intellectual laps every day. It’s a great workout for my brain and I’m a better person for it, but sometimes I get tired. Sure, all this makes me see red, but I can say, with 100% certainty, that I am right and they are wrong, because I am human and female and I know that I am human and that my desire to be treated like one is not sinful rebellion, it’s righteous outrage. This isn’t even moral high ground; right now, I’m on the moral Mount Everest and they’re at the bottom of the deepest, darkest ocean crevasse of morality. This feeling of being right, with no nuances or disclaimers, is not one I am afforded often, and I’m going to take it for now while I relax. I’ll get back to the grindstone tomorrow.
*a “deficit of gentleness”? c’mon.
I don’t understand how people like Mary Conroy exist. Why are people so worried about their kids knowing about, oh noes, gay marriages? ‘Cause that’s what people keep bitching about: that the poor, innocent little chilluns will learn that sometimes, two women love each other very much and get married, or two men.
Let me tell you a little story. My uncle on my mother’s side is gay. When I was little, he lived with a man that I saw on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter … the same times I saw my uncle, aunts and their husbands. Though nobody told me, I was aware that this man was to my uncle as my dad was to my mom, or my mom was to my dad. Being six, I didn’t think much of it.
Now, I’ll tell you something else: nothing bad happened to me because of this. Of course, I was never a good, God-fearing little girl, because both of my parents were bitter ex-Catholics, so I believed in dinosaurs and thought that The Beatles were bigger than Jesus. But knowing that my uncle had a husband? (I wasn’t aware that they weren’t allowed to get married.) Did not really mess me up.
Nor, for that matter, did the vast quantities of LGBTQIA YA literature I read – or the slashfic. (Okay, so slash is like the most unrealistic thing ever, but on a surface level, it is about two men having a sexual/romantic relationship* and would undoubtedly freak out the homophobic crowd.)
In fact, I can’t think of a single thing that’s happened to me or that I’ve done because I knew that gay people exist, except maybe grow up to be less of a self-centered, misinformed, cold-hearted douche who thinks that my personal politics are a legitimate reason to deny citizens their rights as, well, citizens (and, you know, human beings).
Yes, I am angry about what happened in Maine. I’m even more angry that it was put on the ballot at all. These are human rights, people, which are defined as rights – for humans! Even if you don’t agree with them. Mary Conroy has the right to be a horrible person, but she doesn’t have the right to take that out on other people.
I don’t have a single useful thing to say about this, but I’m angry. I’m angry and I’m hurt.
*for a really interesting time, check out Henry Jenkins’ article Normal Female Interest in Men Bonking for some of the politics of representation of homosexuality in slash fiction, and what slash authors do/do not have the responsibility to write in a realistic way