Nel's New Day

February 12, 2017

People Use Religion to Disrespect Women’s Rights

Yesterday’s marches against Planned Parenthood again ignored that federal money doesn’t go to abortions whereas the government spends hundreds of billions of dollars to kill people around the world—many of them innocent—and conservatives are determined to kill people through air and water pollution. These pro-life people are willing to kill anyone except what they consider the “unborn” and abuse children after they are born. Yet they use the bible as their justification for a woman’s choice regarding her own body because conservatives believe women aren’t smart enough to make the right choice for themselves.

A few facts from their bible:

God defined a potion for abortion potion: “May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells or your womb miscarries.”—Numbers 5:22-27

God fines the killing of a fetus but puts to death the person killing a woman: “And if men strive together, and hurt a pregnant woman, so that her fruit [children] come out, and yet no harm follows; the one who hit her shall surely be fined, according as the woman’s husband shall impose upon him; and he shall pay a fine as the judges determine. But if any harm follows, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth ….” —Exodus 21:22-23

God defines a person through the ability to breathe: “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” – Genesis 2:7

The bible’s opinion of women:

A wife is man’s property: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife … or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” —Exodus 20:17

Girl babies are twice as unclean as boys: ‘If a woman has conceived, and borne a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days …. But if she bears a female child, then she shall be unclean two weeks. —Leviticus 12:1-8

Women should keep silent:  “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.” —1 Cor. 14:34

A raped daughter must be sold to her rapist: ““If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, 29 then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her. He may not divorce her all his days.” —Deut. 22:28-29

Women must cover their hair—like the Muslim hijab: “For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.” —I Cor. 11:6

Women should be forced to have children: “Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.”—1 Tim. 2:15

Women make men dirty: “[Those redeemed from the earth] are those who did not defile themselves with women.” —Revelation 14:4

Opinions from revered church leaders:

“Woman is a temple built over a sewer.” –Tertullian, “the father of Latin Christianity” (c160-225)

Woman is a misbegotten man and has a faulty and defective nature in comparison to his. Therefore she is unsure in herself. What she cannot get, she seeks to obtain through lying and diabolical deceptions. And so, to put it briefly, one must be on one’s guard with every woman, as if she were a poisonous snake and the horned devil. …” –Saint Albertus Magnus, Dominican theologian, 13th century

“[Women’s] very consciousness of their own nature must evoke feelings of shame.”–Saint Clement of Alexandria, Christian theologian (c150-215)

“The word and works of God is quite clear, that women were made either to be wives or prostitutes.” –Martin Luther, Reformer (1483-1546)

In pain shall you bring forth children, woman, and you shall turn to your husband and he shall rule over you. And do you not know that you are Eve? God’s sentence hangs still over all your sex and His punishment weighs down upon you. You are the devil’s gateway; you are she who first violated the forbidden tree and broke the law of God. … Woman, you are the gate to hell. –Tertullian, “the father of Latin Christianity” (c160-225)

“Even as the church must fear Christ Jesus, so must the wives also fear their husbands. And this inward fear must be shewed by an outward meekness and lowliness in her speeches and carriage to her husband…. For if there be not fear and reverence in the inferior, there can be no sound nor constant honor yielded to the superior.” –John Dod: A Plaine and Familiar Exposition of the Ten Commandements, Puritan guidebook first published in 1603

“A wife is to submit graciously to the servant leadership of her husband, even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.” – Official Faith and Message Statement of Southern Baptist Convention, Summer 1998, (15.7 million members)

“The Holiness of God is not evidenced in women when they are brash, brassy, boisterous, brazen, head-strong, strong-willed, loud-mouthed, overly-talkative, having to have the last word, challenging, controlling, manipulative, critical, conceited, arrogant, aggressive, assertive, strident, interruptive, undisciplined, insubordinate, disruptive, dominating, domineering, or clamoring for power. Rather, women accept God’s holy order and character by being humbly and unobtrusively respectful and receptive in functional subordination to God, church leadership, and husbands.” –James Fowler: Women in the Church, 1999.

People who use the bible—“God’s word”—to justify their treatment of people, including eliminating reproductive rights for women,  often also say that no one should take the words in the bible literally. According to Matthew 13:13:

“Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.”

People who try to limit others by quoting the bible should follow their own advice and not bully others with their personal religion.

Fortunately, many people in the United States agree with this position. Counter-protests yesterday were much larger than the anti-abortion activists outside Planned Parenthood to cut off funds for Planned Parenthood. Those attending the rallies talked about how much Planned Parenthood does for health—birth control, cancer screenings, testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, counseling, etc. Medicaid funds pay for these health services for both men and women. Last month, Donald Trump banned U.S. funding to any international group that even provides information about abortions. Cutting funds for Planned Parenthood would cause 400,000 women to lose access to health care.

Oregon senators, in support of women, are working on a bill to require Oregon insurance companies to cover reproductive health care services. The Reproductive Health Equity Act, HB 2232, would cover all services under the current Affordable Care Act as well as abortion. The bill goes to the House first to address questions and clarify language. At this time, the measure has an exemption that protects religious beliefs.

Illinois advocates are supporting HB 40 to guarantee reproductive care services, including abortion, for all enrolled in Medicaid, something available only in 17 other states.

New Mexico lawmakers have introduced three bills to improve reproductive health access and rights: preserve birth control access, allow women to obtain one year of contraceptive medication at a time, penalize medical providers who refuse reproductive health services, and mandate “reasonable accommodations: for pregnant women in the workplace. Hospitals would not be permitted to “limit or otherwise interfere” with a doctor’s “independent professional judgment” in providing reproductive health information, referrals, and procedures “where a failure to provide” them “would violate the medical standard of care owed to the patient.”

New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed an amendment to the state constitution that protects abortion rights as outlined in Roe v. Wade.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen has approved a bill prohibiting discrimination based on reproductive decisions or pregnancy with a limited exemption for religious institutions but not for business owners who use religion to object.

Respect for women means respecting our rights–all of them.

December 28, 2014

Biblical View of Women, Marriage

Filed under: Religion,Uncategorized,Women's issues — trp2011 @ 10:20 PM
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Family values are the war cry from evangelical Christians as their pastors tell them how to believe. A major part of these “values” are the roles that women are to play because of biblical instruction. Feminism is rejected, sometimes successfully as shown by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Hobby Lobby that corporations don’t have to provide contraception through insurance because of religion and false scientific beliefs. In her book, Saving Sex, Amy DeRogatis explained that the evangelical “purity movement” requires that women can be “truly valued” only “through the Biblical worldview, where women are protected, and their bodies aren’t disrespected, and they’re really valued for who they are and what they can do.”

A closer look at the Bible shows a different view of women’s roles than the evangelicals want their parishioners to know. Right-wing Christian men prefer that they be seen as the bread winners while women stay home and do all the work. Life is easier for these men if women are weak, dependent, meek, humble, subservient, and obedient.

Proverbs 31 describes a wife as a property owner, investor, trader, and shrewd business woman who earns her own money through her work and investments. She is also to be praised, trusted, and respected for her abilities.

“She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.” (Proverbs 31:16)

“She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.” (Proverbs 31:18)

“She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.” (Proverbs 31:24)

“She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants.” (Proverbs 31:15)

“The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.” (Proverbs 31:11)

“She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” (Proverbs 31:26)

“Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” (Proverbs 31:31)

Marriage is another areas of expertise for Christian evangelicals, and they have tried to spread the word that same-sex marriage desecrates the “holy institution established by God Himself.”

The Bible provides far more options that the one between one man and one woman. These include polygyny (more than one wife or concubine at the same time), open marriage for men who have access to female slaves or servants, forced marriage between a woman and her rapist (Deuteronomy 22:28-29), and levirate marriage (when a childless widow is required to marry her deceased husband’s brother.

Jesus not only chose not to marry but also encouraged his disciples to abandon household and domestic concerns in order to follow him (Matthew 19:29; Mark 10:28-30; Luke 9:57-62) or become eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom (Matthew 19:10-12): “Let anyone accept this who can.” Nowhere in the Bible is there any statement that “God Himself” established marriage as a holy institution. The closest to this “approval” is John 2:1-11 in which Jesus turns water into wine at a wedding feast.

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7 that he wished everyone was like him, meaning celibate, but later endorsed male and female equality in a marriage. He also said, “Do not seek a wife.” (1 Corinthians 7:27) In Galatians 3:28 Paul said, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

As Jennifer Wright Knust, author of Unprotected Texts, said,

 “If you’re reading the Hebrew Bible, we might have polygamy again. We might have not only polygamy with wives, we might have polygamy with concubines and slaves. And if we’re reading the New Testament, we would avoid marriage. The overwhelming opinion of New Testament writers is that marriage is a waste of time and that we shouldn’t be doing it because we should be spreading the Gospel. … If you’re married, you’re totally distracted and not focusing on God. If we took the New Testament seriously, we would all stop being married.”

The evangelical Christians can find many passages that promote the concept of wives as property or other chattel. The only conclusion to those passages is that the Bible cannot provide instruction about marital relationships or women’s roles–or probably anything else.

July 20, 2014

‘What Would Jesus Do?’ – Christians Claim to Know

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 7:46 PM
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Prionda C. Hill, 25, ran over motorcyclist Anthony Oliveri and blamed God. She was behind the wheel of a car in Fort Wayne (IN) “when God told her He would take it from here.” The “accident” broke all Oliveri’s ribs on the left side, damaged his spleen, bruised his kidney, and gave him road rash over most of his back and limbs. Fortunately—according to Oliveri—God saved his life, perhaps in apology for being a bad driver.

In Orange County, elementary teacher Thomas Hammer, 58, testified that God told him to attack a skateboarder—for the second time.

That’s just a bit of information sent from on high as people ask for Jesus’ advice, including what kind of assault rifle they should buy.

Jesus would build a fence to keep  unaccompanied minors from Central America out of the United States, according to Texas megachurch Pastor Robert Jeffress. He said that it’s “the most compassionate thing to do” because the lack of a fence is “enticing  children and mothers to make this dangerous journey.”

Jesus would oppose universal health care, according to over three-fourths of Republicans in a YouGov poll. The GOP scripture reads:

“You were hungry and thirsty, so I eliminated funding for Meals on Wheels and food banks. You were a stranger, so I vilified you and demanded you be deported. You were naked, so I called you an evil liberal who hates conservative family values. You were sick, so I repealed your only hope for health care. You were in prison, so I tortured you.”

Jesus would oppose stricter gun laws, according to the same survey, although Jesus didn’t face guns.

A woman called on Jesus—and then Pat Robertson–for advice after her son heard sounds sending shock waves through his body and then felt as if someone had hit him hard in the stomach. Jesus didn’t answer, but Pat Robertson diagnosed the problem as demonic possession.  He advised the mother to get “somebody with you that understands the spiritual dimension and spiritual warfare…. you don’t want some quack in there that’s casting out nonexistent demons!”  She should also think about her family: “Do you have anybody involved in the occult, somebody in witchcraft or tarot cards or psychic things?”

On his 700 Club, Robertson also claimed that watching the show can cure asthma and rebuking deafness will heal the disorder. When this didn’t work for the caller, Robertson blamed her for not doing the rebuking correctly.

Because Christians rule in the United States, the entire populace is largely forced to abide by their beliefs. The fundamentalists’ persecution complex has made them even stronger in their belief that they must force their beliefs on everyone:

Oppose protections and rights for children: The U.S. stands alone with Somalia in failing to ratify  the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Christian justification is that the Bible tells parents to hit their children. Parents own children and can be killed in accordance with the father’s religious beliefs and other priorities.

Denying youth accurate information about their bodies: Christians mandated that the federal government spend one billion dollars during the past decade on abstinence-only education programs–which failed–because fundamentalists think that virginity is next to godliness and teaching prohibition works. Over one-fourth of girls become pregnant before they are 20 years old, and half the girls who give birth in high school drop out of education. Only two percent of them graduate from college.

Demean and subjugate women: Christians refuse to believe in the dignity and equality of women, starting with the rejection of females in church leadership. Even female GOP legislators believe that women are not smart enough to understand the GOP platform.

Prevent intentional childbearing: Martin Luther wrote, “If a woman dies in [child]bearing, let her die; she is there to do it.” That’s the current belief of legislators who prevent women from family planning by closing women’s clinics and blocking contraception. Last month, Christians in the U.S. Congress voted to slash family planning aid by 25 percent, and the five Catholic men on the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the “religious freedom” of corporations is more important than the right of working women to care for their health and their families.

Undermine science: Valerie Tarico writes, “We know now that the Genesis creation story is myth, neurotransmitters rather than demons cause mental illness, mandrake roots and dove blood don’t improve female fertility or cure skin diseases, and the cognitive structures of the human mind predispose us to certain kinds of religious belief.” In fighting solutions to climate change, resource depletion, and growing health problems, Christians follow their centuries-old history: their personal ends justifies the means.

Promote holy war: In the current debate on Israel actions toward the Palestinians in Gaza, fundamentalist Christians cheering Israelis because “it is written in the scripture.” Tarico describes the conversation with Evangelical relatives about the Iraq war that led to her epiphany to reject Bible worshop:

“From the vantage of my relatives and my childhood church ‘family,’ George Bush needed no diplomatic or cultural expertise; he was Born Again. He didn’t need to seek input from his earthly father about the invasion, because he asked his Heavenly Father. Besides, Jesus is coming soon and war in the Middle East is predicted in the Bible. That makes it not only inevitable, but—in a manner of speaking—desirable.”

Abuse and kill LGBTQ people: Christian missionaries cause African and Latin American LGBTQ people to live with the threat of violent death. Oppression in Uganda, Nigeria, and Russia comes from U.S. Christians who moved their homophobic message to these countries after failing in the United States.

Destroy the earth for future generations: The Bible promotes the belief that humans are more important than any other being and that this world is only prelude to the streets of gold, leading Christians to the belief that humans should do anything, no matter how destructive, and there is no need to care for future generations on the earth.

Heritage Academy in Mesa (AZ) is a prime example of how Christians distort history to promote their agenda. Required reading in the charter school, supported financially by taxpayers, is Cleon Skousen’s The 5,000 Year Leap and The Making of America which teach the lies that the United States was founded as a Christian nation and that blacks were better off under slavery than they are as a free people.

According to Fred Albert Shannon’s essay:

“If [black children] ran naked it was generally from choice, and when the white boys had to put on shoes and go away to school they were likely to envy the freedom of their colored playmates.”

After Americans United for Separation of Church and State brought the teachings of the Heritage Academy to light, Glenn Beck gave a sales pitch for Skousen’s book: “Teach it to your children. Read it to them at night. Bring it to the dinner table. It will be the only chance they have to actually learn American history.”

On his Facebook page, GOP candidate Jim Brown for the Arizona 2nd Congressional District wrote in a post that slavery was good for blacks because slave owners took care of their livestock. Two years earlier, an Arkansas Republican called slavery a “blessing in disguise.” The Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) defended slavery in 2013, and the same year a Nevada Republican said he would vote to bring slavery back if his constituents wanted him to do so.

Christians who want to believe in the myths of the Bible should have the right to do this. They should not, however, have the right to foist their arrogant control on everyone else. The Bible comes from “a time of incredible brutality—tribalism, warfare, destitution, disease, murder, misogyny, sexual slavery and superstition of biblical proportions.” We should not have to go back to those times because Christians lead our country.

Jesus would probably not want this to happen.

August 19, 2012

Changing Bible Lets Unicorns Disappear

A basic tenet of conservative Evangelists and Fundamentalists is that they must accept every single word of their bible in its literal meaning. Their perspective of the “word of God” comes from this one source that was believed to be the legal code for the ancient nation of Israel covered in the first five books of the Old Testament, which even describes the punishment for knocking out a slave’s tooth.

People who believe in the literalness of the bible don’t know what is in their bible because they don’t study it; they just listen to the man who gives the sermon in church. Or they just think that part of it is out of date, for example the pieces about killing women adulterers and keeping slaves and wearing clothing of mixed fiber and on and on.

Yet there’s nothing in Catholic and Evangelical bibles against marriage equality—indeed the bible says nothing about legal marriage. The bible also doesn’t object to abortion; it doesn’t mention it. Some people say that abortion is murder, but the bible says nothing about a fetus being a person and hasn’t been considered that until modern times.

And the bible doesn’t support the Republicans’ belief in “personhood,” the current conservative position that an egg has constitutional rights from the first second of its fertilization. The only ruling that discusses fetuses concerns the miscarriage of a fetus when the woman is struck by a man other than her husband during a fight. In that case, if there is no lasting injury, the man makes the payment that the court determines. Otherwise society settles the damages, probably killing the man who caused the miscarriage.

“If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman’s husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” (Exodus 21:22-24)

The penalty in the second case is death, one which no current law in this country requires. The Old Testament does not give personhood to fetuses.

But the bible does have quite a bit to say about unicorns.

Psalm 92:10 “You have exalted my horn like that of a wild ox…. But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.”

Job 39:9 “Will the wild ox consent to serve you? Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib? Will the unicorn be willing to serve you, or abide by your crib?”

Job 39:10 “Can you hold him to the furrow with a harness? Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? Or will he harrow the valleys after thee? Can you bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow?”

Numbers 24:8 “God brought them out of Egypt…. God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bone.”

Numbers 23:22 “God brought them out of Egypt…. God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn. God brought them out of Egypt; he has as it were the strength of an unicorn.” [The bible can be a bit repetitive!]

Psalm 29:6 “He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, Sirion like a young…. He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.”

Deuteronomy 33:17 “His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.”

Psalms 22:21 “Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.”

Isaiah 34:7 “And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness.”

The use of the word “unicorn” disappeared after the King James Version of the bible. Since then, bible “scholars” have claimed that the unicorn may have existed and become extinct. Another rationale for the use of the word is that the meaning has changed throughout the past two centuries.

Why, if there is more about unicorns in the bible than fetuses, do Fundamentalists support the belief of personhood? Lynn Beisner explains that the development of the Christian Right caused a mutual support between the Evangelicals and the Catholic Church. Because the Pope is against abortion, Catholics oppose this practice despite the lack of evidence in their bible. Evangelicals needed to maintain their dominance through an unfettered capitalist market in opposition to Catholic beliefs about the importance of economic and social justice. In the bargain between two powerful religious groups, Evangelicals took an anti-abortion stance, and Catholic male leadership took on the importance of a destructive capitalism.

Now extreme religious groups have support from the the great infusion of money from corporations who donate to campaigns of legislators who will destroy regulations and give the wealthy more and more tax advantages. The result of this coordination between the wealthy and the religious is to turn the United States into a theocracy.

Some Catholics and Fundamentalists are beginning to oppose their church’s positions. Some Catholics, including the American nuns, are protesting the Catholic position that ignores the needs of poor people and denies rights to human beings. At the same time, young Evangelicals are beginning to question their religion’s anti-LGBT position.

People who support formal Christian religions need to protest both sides of the Catholic and Evangelical power structure—LGBT people should have legal rights, women should have control over their bodies, and everyone should have a safety net. More Fundamentalists and Catholics need to move ahead in their religious beliefs and not wait for the religious leadership that won’t accept the changes in their bible over time.

No more unicorns? Let’s also give women their freedom, accept love between two people of the same sex, and allow the government to help people on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder.

AGR Daily News Service

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