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Frank Schaeffer

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God vs. Women

Posted: 07/26/10 07:52 PM ET

When God decided to make the first woman and donated her to the first man as a housewarming (or should I say garden-warming) present, God must have carelessly hurried her plumbing design. Soon after creation women's botched plumbing began to weigh heavily on His Mind.

According to the Evangelical -- or any literal reading -- of the Jewish/Christian Scriptures (and/or the Koran) -- women started off as a mere afterthought created after everything else, even after squirrels, sheep and whales. "Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air... But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man."

The entire Female/Plumbing Situation is one of those many, many things (including the creation of Lucifer, shellfish and Canaanites) that, according to the Scriptures, got out of hand during (or soon after) creation and for which the Lord was and -- according to Orthodox Jews, fundamentalist Muslims and conservative Christians -- apparently still is heartily sorry!

God issued countless factory recalls and complex revised owner's manual updates enforced by strict rules about how to deal with women, fix women, repair women, curb women, keep women in line and, if need be, kill women if they didn't keep God's many Women-Managing Rules.

It turns out that if you take the Bible (and/or the Koran) literally God just hates bodily fluids!

This fluid-hating "God" is on a collision course with women because women are wet! If the scriptures of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have one unifying ecumenical message it's that dryness is next to godliness!

Anyway, for whatever reason the fundamentalist Jews, Christians and Muslims who most closely follow their scriptures' many, many rules appertaining to what to do about women are - when judged by the historic body count -- also some of the angriest people on earth. Maybe they're angry with the world because they live their lives divided against themselves. Or put it this way: How does a male live "correctly" when his own body's arousal is his biggest Sin?

Fundamentalist Christians aren't alone in grappling with their sinful bodies and/or what to do about women. There are Jews -- in other words Jewish MEN -- who still force (or should I say indoctrinate) "their" women to keep the Levitical laws concerning menstruation (and a whole lot more). And, according to Islam -- in other words according to the MEN in charge of Islam -- menstrual blood is also considered "impure" (najis). The "Islamic perspective" (in other words the "perspective" of desert-dwelling pre-modern tribes-MEN) on menstruation gets quite detailed when "updated" to "answer" modern "moral questions," such as: "what type of 'female protection' should a woman use?" Answer: according to some Islamic scholars' teaching, maxi-pads are God's will! Tampons are right out (makruh)!

And according to Jewish rabbinical law, (in other words the "perspective" of desert-dwelling Bronze Age tribes-MEN) a Woman becomes a "niddah" (impure) when she is aware that blood has come from her womb. Even if menstruation started before she sees evidence of blood, the rabbinical regulations say she's not niddah until she notices. But as soon as she notices the least stain she becomes unclean! However, if she finds a stain after say, cutting her finger or stubbing her toe, she does not become niddah as the blood is not from her womb, but if there is a bloodstain of uncertain origin then there's complex criteria given by rabbinical law to decide if she's niddah or not.

There's a lot in the Bible about menstruation and it's all bad. Blood isn't the problem, just Womb Blood is bad! Blood squirting from countless sheep and cows dying excruciating deaths, when offered in sacrifices to God is just fine. Blood pouring from Jesus' hands and feet is good too! In fact the Christian believer is encouraged to drink it, get to Heaven through it, and "claim" it! "Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power?" ask the words of the old camp meeting hymn. "Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb? Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?"

The best blood of all is the blood of the wicked shed by the righteous. That runs in God-pleasing crimson rivers through the Bible right up through the book of Revelation when Jesus will come back and kill just about everyone left behind on earth including the "Incomplete Jews" (i.e. Jews who haven't "accepted Jesus") not to mention all Muslims, saving only a "remnant" unto Himself. This will -- no doubt -- surprise all those Jews who thought that Evangelical so-called Christian Zionists were "on Israel's side," but be that as it may, as the Psalmist says: "The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked."

The Latin Church Fathers made it clear that in the Christian era women were still in trouble for just being women. The Fathers kept the anti-women Old and New Testament teachings alive and well and even added to them. Tertullian said that even sex in marriage was "tainted with concupiscence."

(Concupiscence is a catchall word for Lust and/or Sexual Pleasure of any kind, all of which the Fathers frowned upon.)

St. Jerome taught that "corruption" attaches to all sexual intercourse, even in marriage. He said that marriage and sex only came (no pun) after the Fall. Jerome held that "menstrual fluids" make women unclean. Jerome said that to become human, Jesus put up with the "revolting conditions" of Mary's womb!

You'd think women wouldn't go for this stuff or this "God." But that's not the case. Some women and of course plenty of men subscribe to the nutty anti-woman religious view held by fundamentalists.

Consider that in 2009 over 6,000 women met in Chicago for the "True Woman Conference" to call women to "Complementarianism." The organizers used their conference to launch the "True Woman Manifesto." A key clause in the preamble reads: "When we respond humbly to male leadership in our homes and churches, we demonstrate a noble submission to [male] authority that reflects Christ's submission to God His Father."

"We are believing God for a movement of reformation and revival in the hearts and homes of Christian women all around this world," the group's leader -- evangelical bestselling author/guru and "motivational speaker" -- Nancy Leigh DeMoss, said in her opening remarks. The other speakers at the conference included some of the foremost leaders of the "mainstream" Evangelical world.

The leaders assembled to support a manifesto that said that women are "called to encourage godly masculinity" by submitting to men. Women must "submit to their husbands and [male only] pastors" who (apparently) can't feel masculine unless they're in charge of everything. According to this view -- of what I'll call Godly Groveling Women -- women must "honor the God-ordained male headship" of their husbands by allowing their Men to rule them. Thus selfish "rights" (as in the Bill of Rights) are "antithetical to Jesus Christ." So The Godly Groveling True Women believes that she must (as it were) rent her womb to God in order to embrace "fruitful femininity."

Some heavyweight political leaders have gotten into the Quiverfull act. The so-called Full Quiver (or Quiverfull) Movement urges women to have as many children as possible. The anti-contraception (anti-feminist) Quiverfull Movement is also all about producing an army of godly culture warriors to "take back" America (and, eventually, the world for God. )

U.S. Senator Rick Santorum wrote a book building on Quiverfull ideas; It Takes a Family -- Conservatism and the Common Good. Santorum said that the "real family" is individualistic and the opposite of Senator Hillary Clinton's "liberal" version of family as described in her book It Takes a Village. Santorum emphasized the central role of family as a "bulwark" against community! Hence he writes about the evil influence of public schools and the even-more-evil US Federal Government. (Santorum's book is offered on several Quiverfull and other Far Right/Reconstructionist-influenced websites .)

Other Republican leaders have been involved in the Quiverfull movement too. Former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate (and big fan of my late Religious Right leader father's writings) Mike Huckabee signed on to a 1998 doctrinal statement that Women "need to submit to their husbands."

There is nothing subtle or covert about these aims. In Birthing God's Mighty Warriors Rachel Scott says that Christians must have "many children," raise them "right" to help take over the world for Christ. Scott compares contraception to witchcraft since it "predicts the future." Scott warns her readers that if women have their tubes tied their husbands will find them unattractive because they can't "conquer" them through pregnancy.

As the title indicates Scott embraces the idea of having many children and turning them into God's -- literal -- mighty warriors in order to subvert the secular order and replace it with a "godly" order, in other words a fundamentalist theocracy by whatever name.

Frank Schaeffer is a writer of many books including Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back

 
 
 

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