Nel's New Day

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.

June 11, 2014

WaPo Continues Misogynist Rant

The Washington Post has done it again. Just two days after George Will’s op-ed that victims of campus rape want a “coveted status,” W. Bradford Wilcox and Robin Fretwell Wilson urge women to get married because they’ll be safer than single women. The piece was originally titled “Marry Your Baby Daddy to End Violence Against Women” until something (embarrassment?) caused it to be changed to “One Way to End Violence against Women? Stop Taking lovers and Get Married.” Once again, men blame women for male violence and guilt them for not marrying just anyone so that they’ll be safe.

Wilcox and Wilson write, “The bottom line is this: Married women are notably safer than their unmarried peers, and girls raised in a home with their married father are markedly less likely to be abused or assaulted than children living without their own father.” Missing in their argument is the drop in domestic violence rates at the same time that marriage rates are falling.

According to the op-ed, marriage tames men: “But marriage also seems to cause men to behave better. That’s because men tend to settle down after they marry, to be more attentive to the expectations of friends and kin, to be more faithful, and to be more committed to their partners—factors that minimize the risk of violence.”

W & W also promise that married women live in a better neighborhood and have less chances of getting robbed. Omitted from their polemic is the fact that the privileges of many marriages—more education and money, for example—also provide safer neighborhoods.

Part of the op-ed’s explanation that married women are safer is that they tend to stay at home more. So the solution that W & W proposes is that women stay out of public areas.

A serious problem in domestic violence is that victims may believe that they can change an abusive partner into a loving one by doing the right things. W & W do briefly admit that “married men can and do abuse or assault their wives.” Yet they refute their weak statement by giving marriage credit for their belief that “married fathers are much less likely to resort to violence.”

The op-ed is in response to #YesAllWomen, the “dramatic” social media response to the Santa Barbara shooting that drew attention to the fact that “across the United States, millions of girls and women have been abused, assaulted, or raped by men, and even more females fear that they will be subject to such an attack.” W & W claim that the campaign failed to note that married biological fathers “are more likely to protect women, directly and indirectly, from the threat of male violence.”

For Wilcox, however, this isn’t a new message. In a 2006 interview with Christianity Today, he claims:

  • Evangelical women tend to be happier in their marriages than other women, particularly when both the wife and the husband attend church on a regular basis.
  • The biggest predictor of women’s happiness is their husband’s emotional engagement.
  • For the average American marriage, it matters a lot more whether the husband is emotionally in tune with his wife than whether he’s doing, say, half the dishes or half the laundry.
  • Women who have more traditional gender attitudes are significantly happier in their marriages. They’re more likely to embrace the idea that men should take the primary lead in breadwinning and women should take the primary lead in nurturing the children and managing the domestic sphere, managing family life.
  • What’s more predictive of a woman’s happiness is whether or not her husband is the primary breadwinner. The income actually is a more important predictor of her happiness than whether she works outside the home.
  • Women are looking for, in general, husbands who provide them with emotional and financial support, and support to make the choices that they think are important for them and for their children.

As old as his message is, his supporting material is even older. Links go to research published in 1986 and 1990.

According to his bio, Wilcox “directs the Home Economics Project at the American Enterprise Institute and the Institute for Family Studies.” As a right-wing group, AEI joins other conservatives in pushing marriage as the cure for societal evils. Nowhere, however, have they explained how marriage can end sexual assaults in the military and on campus unless they argue that women don’t belong in these places.

Wilcox had already sullied his reputation with his involvement in a 2012 study by University of Texas Mark Regnerus that claims having LGBT parents harms kids. The fraudulent study was used in Russia’s oppressive laws against LGBT people. Regnerus’ conclusions completely unraveled after it was discovered that his skewed data all came from two respondents. Wilcox had recruited Regnerus to do his study and was then paid to work on the project. He also urged Regnerus to complete his study to influence the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage equality cases.

Wilson also has a background of opposition to LGBT rights, primarily marriage equality. He was also one of 11 people who sent a letter to Gov. Jan Brewer urging her to sign the bill that would have allowed residents of Arizona to discriminate against anyone based on religious beliefs.

Once again, The Washington Post needs to be educated. Marriage does not guarantee that a man will not abuse his wife. Being a biological father does not mean that he will not abuse his child. Being victimized does not mean that the person will tell a husband or father. Men who are not abusive don’t abuse women and children. Abusive men will abuse others whether they are married or not. The problem is abusive men.

If W & W were right, the marriage rates would go up and the divorce rates would go down. In the meantime, more men engage in shaming women under the guise of journalism. Again it’s just propaganda and should be stopped.

Talking Points said it best: “WaPo Editorial Page Goes Neanderthal For Second Time In A Week.” Women are still considered responsible, this time for not getting married.

July 18, 2012

Want a Corporation? Marry One!

Three decades ago when the first President Bush was president, the United States was still involved in the Cold War against the USSR.  These two superpowers displaying deep economic and political differences, and people in the United States were afraid that this country would end up with the USSR values. When the Cold War was over in 1991, most people breathed a sigh of relief.

Now our country has its own internal Cold War, a struggle between the wealthy/corporations and the other 99 percent, again with distinct economic and political positions. The U.S. Supreme Court exacerbated this war through Citizens United: corporations can now purchase lawmakers to give them more and more power. With each new Republican law, U.S. citizens become more powerless to effect the promise of the Constitution. Like the USSR did in the past, U.S. corporations now limit what we buy, where we work, how we live, and what rights we have.

With the demise of mom-and-pop stores, forced out by corporation big box stores, the opportunities to purchase an assortment of different items has shrunk. In the past, merchandise would differ in stores across the country. Now the same bland clothing can be found everywhere with no variety. Food is the same. Wal-Mart sells 25 percent of the groceries in the country so someone in Bentonville will have a good chance of selecting what everyone buys because in many communities Wal-Mart is the only grocery store. Basically we have corporation stories like those in mill and mining towns run by the companies.

Most toys are sold through big box stores, frequently Wal-Mart. Therefore these corporations are choosing what children play with and what teach these children. The USSR had state stores; the United States has corporation stores.

People complaining about government health care are probably getting corporate health care. Gone are the days of small, independent practices that provided health care without doctors’ being second-guessed by the corporate leadership. Many people have experienced doctors who aren’t permitted to  spend more than 15 minutes with each patient no matter what the problem is.

Two-thirds of today’s doctors don’t own their own practices, mostly because they have difficulty dealing with the corporate insurance companies that second-guess every action that a doctor makes. The drugs that doctors prescribe are corporate-directed because of the advertising and the control exerted by pharmaceutical companies limiting information about drugs.

For-profit corporations control education’s curriculum through the testing programs. According to past horror stories, USSR education was all rote-learning, no discussion or critical thinking skills, and all aimed at that all-important standardized tests that determine the quality of the student and, now, the quality of the teacher. While China is working to inculcate creativity, the U.S. has gone so far as to eliminate critical thinking, as in Texas where they made the mistake of allowing people to know this goal. Public education is also being swallowed up by giant for-profit corporations controlling “charter schools.”

More examples: Homes now being built are designed by marketing researchers working for corporations that dictate the houses’ appearance. Our voting system is being restricted to a smaller and smaller percentage of adults, and corporate-owned machines count the votes. Corporations control much of the military with no government oversight. Corporations are controlling lawmakers’ perception of climate-change and manage the right to own homes through the disappearance of payments, applications, etc. so that large corporations can foreclose on homes. In these areas, U.S. corporations are the equivalent of the USSR government.

The irony is that those faithful Fox-watchers so terrified of a Communist takeover are actually controlled by the “state” corporations. Citizens United should have been named Corporations United.

Ever since corporations were declared people, I have wondered about the possibility of one corporation marrying another one. Angela Vogel has taken this suggestion one step further: she married a Corporate Person.  It appears that the Seattle marriage is not legal (maybe because Corporate Person is underage), but the ceremony itself gives food for thought.

United Methodist Pastor Rich Lang, who officiated the ceremony, said:

I greet you in the name of Mammon and invite you to enter into this “holy time” with glad and generous hearts as together we celebrate the wedded immortality of Corporate Person with the mortal flesh of Angela Marie Vogel. We gather knowing that the love that binds them together will end in the grief and tragedy of Angela’s mortal death even as Corporate Person lives on marrying again and again with the adoration and support of shareholders world-wide. But today we celebrate this moment, this consummation of ecstasy and attraction. We celebrate these bonds of affection as Corporate Person with stony indifference evokes yet another merger of yet another possession — this one, like others before her and others that will come after, beautiful, unique and highly desired … full of potential and full of hope. Angela of flesh, blood and bone offers herself to Corporate Person as yet another object to be used, abused and cast away when no longer profitable. But deliriously expectant that this time Corporate Person will be different!

Perhaps Ms. Vogel is lucky that the marriage is not legal because in January 2010 Justice John Paul Stevens said:

“. . . corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their ‘personhood’ often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of “We the People” by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.”

In his dissent to the ruling that handed the control of the United States over to the wealthy, Stevens said, “A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold.” He was 100 percent correct. Today’s government is a dismal failure.

Thus far six states have joined a large number of municipalities to overturn Citizens United. The question is whether the country can do this before the Koch brothers become the de facto president.

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