Thursday, May 09, 2013

More Harm from Religion - Patriarchy, Rape Culture and Sexual Slavery.

Well, today I saw a post on Facebook that chilled me to the bone.

Apparently, the cops found a letter that the kidnapper (slaver?) in Cleveland wrote some years ago in a suicidal funk.  Somebody tweeted some excerpts of it, but the one that gave me goosebumps was where he said something to the affect of, "I don't know why I pursued a third, I already had two in my possession..."

Listen to the relevant part again:  "I already had two in my possession."

Emphasis mine.

Bad enough that he had to kidnap three girls to hold as sex slaves, but this one phrase exposes the whole reason why he thought he could.  They were merely "things" he could own.  Forget his admission that he was raped and molested at home as a child.  That doesn't begin to explain sexual slavery.

They weren't people, but objects.  Things.  Somehow, he had the idea in his head that women were not people at all, but own-able objects.  Where does that come from?  What could possibly give this man the idea that these three girls, total strangers off the streets, minors all, were things he could own?

and seest among the captives a woman of goodly form, and thou hast a desire unto her, and wouldest take her to thee to wife;
then thou shalt bring her home to thy house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails;
and she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thy house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month; and after that thou mayest go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife.
Deuteronomy 21, 11-13.

This is among the worst, but all three Judaic religions put women into a second class, below men.  They cannot own property, they ARE property.  They traditionally had no rights to decide who to marry.  They could not have jobs.  (although the latter could be relaxed for widows.)

Churches were admonished to not allow women to teach men, could not speak in church and are also directed to obey their husbands, who as Christ is the head of the church, are also the head of the household.

All of this is taught in all three religions, and in both Judaism and Islam it is worse.  Women are often separated from men and in Islam, cannot inherit as much and their testimony in court is worth half that of a man.  In both they are considered unclean during their periods, and men must undergo strict rituals if they become "contaminated" by them during that time.

Today, we have taken those scriptural admonitions and have added to them in ways that make our culture one which glorifies rape, prevents women from often even reporting it, and in some States, the rapist can even claim parental rights!

Add to this the current Republican "War on Women", where they are attempting to take the clock back to before the 20th century and deny women not only contraceptive rights, but basic health care as well, and it is no wonder men like Castro can think its ok to kidnap three young women and hold them as sex slaves.

Just as we thought that it was safe for women to start thinking about the more advanced ideals of equal pay for equal work, we find that even their basic rights to decent health care is at risk.

This is unconscionable.  This is horrible, worse than mere discrimination, it is the institutionalized objectification and enslavement of half of the human race!

Until we stop the harm that religions do to our human social structures, these crimes will not go away.  We will never end the degradation and the humiliation of women all over the globe as long as religions exist which present them as objects and things without rights or any form of personhood.

Patriarchy is not a social custom.  It is not a cultural phenomenon.  It is directly taught by religions as dogma and as theology.  Religion teaches us that women are less than men and thus less than human.

Yes, your religion does that.  Yours.  Stop cherry picking and go read Deuteronomy, it will open your eyes and shake your world.

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