Who would ever have imagined that more than a decade into the 21st century, women's rights would still be trampled in the name of religious dogma and exploited by right-wing politicians here in the United States? Who could conceive that a movement to control the wombs of female citizens would find favor with Republican White House hopefuls?
It amazes me that so many grown men feel threatened by or resentful toward strong, free-thinking, independent women - and it's even more astonishing that some women, in accordance with their sincerely-held spiritual beliefs, devalue themselves and embrace inequality as a God-ordained condition.
The all-powerful Southern Baptist Convention, the LDS Church, and Roman Catholic hierarchy strive, disingenuously, to make the point that a woman's "submissive" place in the home isn't reeeealy submissive; that Christian females merely have different roles to fulfill than men. Of course the Holy See currently prohibits women from administering the sacrament (Vatican officials refer to female priests as "crimes against faith"), Mormon wives accept a subservient position in spiritual affairs, and the customers at Lifeway Christian Stores were so scandalized when Gospel Today featured female ministers on its cover that managers ordered copies of the magazine hidden behind the counters.
On the ultraconservative website Renew America, Selwyn Duke thumps his chest, prissily proclaiming: (W)here men are big-picture-oriented, women are detail-oriented. This feminine quality is wonderful when handling young children, whose lives must be micro-managed; the problem is that it also leads to acceptance of a micro-managing government that, ultimately, will treat us all like children. And then you have not just a nanny state - a feminine descriptive, mind you - but what we are quickly descending into: The Harridan State! (Misogyny is rarely expressed so baldly.) Did you ever wonder why women are so often attracted to strong, burly men? It's the same reason why they're drawn to men boasting wealth and/or power. It's the same reason why they're more careful investors. It's the same reason why male animals show off and act dominant to attract females. It's the same reason why women are drawn to highly intelligent men... Women crave security. (Poor, helpless, dependent things. Thank Jeebus members of the "weaker sex" have studly men like Selwyn to point out their innate inadequacies and observe how hopelessly attracted they are to "burly" and "highly intelligent" dudes, y'know, like himself.) ...When a woman falls for a man who she can look "up" to, she may say to him something such as "You make me feel safe." I get this from female readers all the time — sometimes one article is all it takes. (Now if that doesn't make the collective panties of Concerned Women For America moist I don't know what will.)
Kim Campbell writes for the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: The Serpent under-minded God's spoken word in Genesis when he confronted Eve's understanding of God's goodness. The serpent still undermines God's truth today... We get to have children that will help populate the earth who will be part of the throng around the throne from every tribe, tongue, and nation. After the Fall, Eve's punishment came in the form of pain during childbearing. (To those who support a literal interpretation of scripture, Eve and her female descendants are forever cursed to suffer during childbirth because she disobeyed God The Father - a male, we're reminded from the pulpit - in her quest for Knowledge. Also, do you think it's possible that the "serpent" who beguiled Eve was a velociraptor? Scoff me not. Thirty percent of Texans are convinced that dinosaurs were present in the Garden of Eden.) We are not to be androginous which society would like us to lean toward: women in battle, women playing men's sports, men wearing skinny jeans or wearing earrings, parents raising their children "sexless" until they can determine what they want to be. We see it. This denial of the truth of sexuality. There is diversity in function in the created sexual genders. God has a beautiful plan for males and females. He does all for His glory. (It amuses me when evangelicals declare that everything God does is For His Own Glory.)
Janie B. Cheaney writes on World Magazine: The root of the problem, like so much else, goes back to the Garden. The man neglected his leadership role, allowing the woman to make a bad decision, which broke their bond with God and set their relationship at odds. Mutual dependence ever since—men for protecting, women for domesticating—held a rough approximation of the creation order together by force... Men need high expectations, worthy goals, respect. Women need security, approval, love. (And apparently, prior to the societal changes detested by religious conservatives, marital rape or a punch in the mouth for not "obeying" their husbands.) Each needs what the other can give, but if we refuse to support each other with our positives, we'll drag each other down with our negatives. If men and women don't mutually pledge their strengths, they will default to their weaknesses. The harder a woman pushes, the faster a man retreats. The more a man forfeits, the more a woman takes on. He gets lazy, she gets bitter. He turns violent...
Gary DeVaney employs Holy Writ to explain How To Get A Biblical Wife:
Genesis 2:18-24 If you are like Adam, simply have God create a wife for you from one of your ribs while you sleep.
Genesis 4:16-17 If you are like Cain, even if no one is out there, just wander around a bit and you’ll find a wife.
Genesis 20:12 If you are like Abraham, you will marry your half-sister.
Genesis 29:15-30 If you are like Jacob, agree to work seven years in exchange for a woman’s hand in marriage. Get tricked into marrying the wrong woman. Then work another seven years for the woman you wanted to marry in the first place. That’s right. Fourteen years of toil for the wife you want.
Exodus 2:16-21 If you are like Moses, find a man with seven daughters and impress him by watering his flock.
Exodus 6:4 If you are like Amram, marry your father’s sister. Amram was Moses' father. Did you know that Moses was a product of incest?
Deuteronomy 21:11-13 If you find an attractive prisoner of war, bring her home, shave her head, trim her nails and give her new clothes. Then she’s yours. (To rape or torture or whatever God's chosen conquerors wanted to do.)
Luke 16:18 Jesus said: Whoever put away his wife and marries another commits adultery. Whoever marries the divorced woman commits adultery. (Conservative Cafeteria Christians like to ignore that passage. Take presidential wannabe Newt Gingrich, a serial adulterer who abandoned one of his wives when she got cancer.)
1 Cor 7-10 Paul said: Let NO woman divorce her husband. (Even if he beats her and abuses the kids.)
Ephesians 5:22-24 Paul preached: Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife. (There's more in this vein on Gary's droll website.)
It's hardly surprising that Southern Baptists have woven Paul's exhortations into the denomination's Declaration of Faith: "A wife is to submit graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ." (That would be the "headship of Christ" as interpreted by - you guessed it - MEN! For the masculine ego, this is a win-win situation.)
LDS Side Note - Mormon women once created a curious justification for their lesser status in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: "Every time we wrap our arms around our husbands," they would joyously murmur, "we are members of the priesthood." This reasoning is specious at best, considering the Mormons' unsavory - and relatively recent - history of polygamy and child brides compelled to marry older men. (And yet, LDS elders and Mormon politicians can't seem to stop condemning the lives and loves of committed same-sex couples.)
"And ladies, build up your husband by being submissive. That's how you will give your children success; you will want your children to be obedient, to be submissive to righteous living." - Warren Jeffs, convicted child molestor and president of the "Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Chirist of Latter-day Saints," an offshoot of mainstream Mormonism.
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