In response to Jim West’s “narrowly concerned” spittle

A Haredi man spits at a passerby.

In response to Jim West’s continued, passive-aggressive attempts to defend his oppression of the civil rights and privileges of same-sex couples by taking every chance possible to turn any news story into a shot against those who support marriage equality, here’s my response to his latest rhetorical spit-curse in the direction of those whose blogs he feels ‘to narrowly’ focus on the defense of the rights of same-sex couples. (And it is a spit-curse: an unprovoked shot at those with whom he disagrees on a certain issue while routinely passing by a completely unrelated topic. Some Haredim do it to tourists in Jerusalem; Jim does it to other bloggers online.)

Jim wrote:

Today’s term:  ’Narrowly concerned‘.

Narrowly concerned: n. a person who is terribly concerned for ‘marriage equality’ but totally silent about the deaths of 1000 Bangladeshis.

My response:

I’m guessing it’s because no one rallies to the defense of the Bangladeshi sweat shop owners, advocating to suppress the rights of the sweat shop workers. No one calls the near slave-like conditions the “natural order” of business in a capitalistic society, and no one argues that calling for workers’ rights is “angry advocacy” by quoting passages instructing slaves to obey their masters, parables teaching workers to work for their agreed upon wages (Matt 20), and instructions for women to remain silent.

EVERYONE realizes that this is a tragic situation and EVERYONE is calling for reform and punitive action to be taken against those who oppress these women, UNLIKE those who oppose marriage equality, who grasp for reasons to continue to deny gay couples the civil rights and privileges their oppressors enjoy.

The reason you don’t see a fight over this is that people are smart enough in THIS scenario to realize that one group is suffering under oppression/lack of civil justice, unlike same-sex marriage, where there are still people (believe it or not) who think that it’s OK to oppress another group because either their religion or their tradition (usually as the result of religion) tells them to do so.

CAN YOU IMAGINE someone rallying to the defense of the Bangladeshi sweatshop owner? CAN YOU IMAGINE a scholar arguing that these women “had it coming” because “they knew what they were getting into”, while quoting Matthew 20:13 over and over and over again, claiming it’s the “revealed” word of God. Because THAT’S what those who oppose same-sex marriage look like to the now majority of Americans who support marriage equality for same-sex couples.

That’s probably why. It’s easy to condemn the universally condemnable. It’s much more difficult to stand up for the oppressed minority and condemn the establishment. If I’m going to be “narrowly focused” on a blog (as if I have the free time to “report” redundantly on and condemn everything in the news as some do), may it ever be in defense of those who must fight against a bigoted populace AND the religious authorities who empower and perpetuate their oppression.

Pat Robertson Has Lost His Mind: Jokes About Beating Women

Seriously. Pat’s been a moronic fool for years, but his senile ass has officially lost his mind.

Seriously. Even for the fundamentalists at CBN, Pat has become an absolute legal liability. He needs to be retired from the air.

Not only is he mocking Muslims by misrepresenting them (because good fundamentalist Christians never beat their wives), but now he’s taken to joking about beating women and TELLING PEOPLE TO BEAT THEIR WIVES!!!! Really??

Here’s the transcript of what Pat Robertson said:

“I don’t think we condone wife beating THESE DAYS(!!!!!), but something’s got to be done to make her…”

These days???!!!!!!!!!!!! “But something’s got to be done????

And there’s more:

“She’s rebellious, and chances are she was rebellious with her father and mother. She’s a rebellious child and she doesn’t want to submit to any authority. And she probably had temper tantrums when she was a kid, and you know…you know the little girl, ‘I hate you. I hate you,’ and she wants to slap her father. Well that’s the same kind of thing. She’s just…she’s transferred the father, now, she might…eeh…oh, I hate to say everything’s got to be some psychological counseling, but…”

“But that’s the problem. She does not understand authority. When she was growing up nobody made her behave. And now, you’ve got a 13-year old in a 30-year old woman’s body and she is acting like a child. Now, what do you do with that? You can’t divorce her according to the Scripture, so I say ‘MOVE TO SAUDI ARABIA’.”

[Laughter]

Did Pat ever consider that her husband Michael is a douche? Did anyone even bother to check to see if there is something that the husband perhaps did wrong? Could there possibly be any fault with him? We don’t know, but it doesn’t matter: to Pat, it’s the insubordinate, non-submissive woman who is to blame. That’s it. So his solution it so “move to Saudi Arabia” so you can “beat her” legally.

OUT. OF. HIS. MIND!

The end has come. Watch for CBN to announce Pat’s retirement from on-air segments soon, because he’s destroying whatever is left of CBN. And while this is a wonderful thing, he’s advocating crime in the process.

in honor of the us women’s world cup team

in honor of the us women’s world cup team, and their spectacular come from behind win against brazil today, i present the greatest sportscenter promo commercial ever. enjoy!

there really is a ‘council on biblical manhood and womanhood’

This morning, I came across something I did not know existed, and I initially thought was a joke. But alas, this incredible discovery is real (although, imho, it is still a joke).

Lo and behold, there exists (and I’m not making this up), a Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. They even have a logo.

I kid you not – A Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood!

This is not an Onion article, nor is it satire. It’s a real organization. Their self-description (I kid you not – this is in the very first paragraph on their ‘About Us‘ page) reads:

In 1987, a group of pastors and scholars assembled to address their concerns over the influence of feminism not only in our culture but also in evangelical churches. Because of the widespread compromise of biblical understanding of manhood and womanhood and its tragic effects on the home and the church, these men and women established The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. (underlines mine)

Seriously! They formed their organization to “address their concerns over the influence of feminism not only in our culture but also in evangelical churches!” And they did so in nineteen eightyseven! Not nineteen fifty-seven, not eighteen eighty-seven, nineteen eighty-seven!

They go on to say that they stand in “opposition to the growing movement of feminist egalitarianism.” And they make no apologies: they are firmly against the equality of men and women! And it gets better. This group has:

articulated what is now known as the “complementarian position” which affirms that men and women are equal in the image of God, but maintain complementary differences in role and function. In the home, men lovingly are to lead their wives and family as women intelligently are to submit to the leadership of their husbands. In the church, while men and women share equally in the blessings of salvation, some governing and teaching roles are restricted to men. (emphasis, bold, red, quotes, and implied outrage all mine)

The group regularly rails against (surprise, surprise) same-sex marriage (in one article, the legalization of same-sex marriage in Iowa is said to be worse than a 500-year flood causing damage to the homes and farms of thousands of people), homosexuality, and feminism.

Here are pictures of those serving in leadership roles on their Board of Directors. (Should I be shocked that everyone but the secretary is a white male?) And here are the council members. (Again, I don’t know whether to be more aghast at the fact that everyone is white, or that the five women serving on the board all have ‘homemaker’ or ‘Pastor’s wife’ listed first as primary occupation, followed only then by ‘author’ or ‘consultant.’ I certainly don’t see the men listing ‘Loving Husband’ or ‘Father’ before their titles of ‘Founder and Chairman,’ ‘President,’ or ‘Executive Director’ in the members’ descriptions. Is it also telling that two of the women don’t even have pictures?)

The group’s latest job, it appears, is to criticize the new revision of the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible (the first revision to the NIV in 25 years) because it includes “gender-neutral” language. The CBMW’s review of the NIV is here.

Sigh.

Here’s an observation: if this group had the word “Islamic” in it, and all of the members were citing the Qur’an and the women pictured were in burqas or veils, I’m guessing the members of this same CBMW group would condemn it as Sharia Law fundamentalism suppressing the rights of women. But somehow, because it’s a Christian organization and they’re citing the Bible, this group has no problem suppressing the roles of women, and citing divine authority in doing so.

The use of religion to suppress women is wrong regardless of the religion used to do so. This – THIS! – is precisely why non-Christians hate fundamentalist Christians: because they use scripture to keep women down, when all Jesus ever wanted to do was lift them up.

I shake my head…

A Note to Christians Opposing Gay Marriage: Get Over It

Get Over ItRemember how the Bible used to say, “Slaves, obey your masters” (Col. 3:22; 1 Pet. 2:18; Eph. 6:5)? Remember that? Remember how it used to say, “I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man” (1 Tim. 2:12; cf. 1 Cor. 14:34; Col. 3:18; Eph. 5:22)? Remember when the Bible used to say that? Remember how the Bible used to instruct people not to divorce, and those who divorced not to remarry (1 Cor. 7:10-11)? Remember when the Bible used to say all of that?

Now, I know what you’re saying, and you’re right: it still does say that. And yet, we got over it! The Bible never stopped saying, “Slaves, obey your masters,” and yet, we got over it and rightfully abolished slavery. We got over it just like we rightfully conceded the equal rights of women. We got over it just like we rightfully allow people to divorce and allow divorced people to remarry. Simply put, we got over it.

In the same way, we will soon get over the way we treat homosexuals – Christians and non-Christians alike. Despite the Bible’s explicit moral injunctions to slaves, women, and divorcées, we have learned that these social injunctions were the product of the social environment in which the Bible was written. In the same manner, so too will we get over what we are doing to gay individuals today.

Just like the army got over the integration of black soldiers into white battalions, the army will get over the integration of openly gay soldiers into its combat forces. We got over the integration of women into traditionally “male” positions in the workplace. We got over the integration of African-American children into segregated schools. We got over insisting that abused women remain in their abusive relationships because “no unchastity had been committed” (Matt. 19:9), and we got over the stigmatization of divorced people trying to put their lives back together.

We got over it. And, we’ll get over using the Bible and ambiguous notions of “traditional marriage” to deny gay Americans the privilege of a state-recognized marriage. We’ll get over it and will one day look back and shake our heads at how we’ve treated gay Americans, just like we look back and shake our heads in disgust at how “those people” treated slaves, African-Americans, women, and divorcées.

We are “those people,” and we need to get over it.


For more by Dr. Cargill on this subject, see: “It’s OK for Christians to Vote No on Prop 8
and “Full Text of Dr. Cargill’s Remarks at the Pepperdine GSEP Panel Discussion on Racism and Homophobia.”
See also the classic West Wing segment on YouTube.


UPDATE: See also the news today that a U.S. Judge has ruled the Federal Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional.

does the pill make women want less manly men?

an interesting study by researchers at the university of sheffield suggests that women’s taste in men has shifted from more rugged-looking men to more boyish looking men since the contraceptive pill became available to women 40 years ago. here’s how it works:

Researchers say leading Hollywood actors from forty years ago like Sean Connery and Steve McQueen (top) appear more manly than modern leading men like Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp (bottom). This transition from stronger, angular men to softer, boyish looking men may be due to women's use of the birth control pill.

Scientists have long known that a woman’s taste in men changes over her menstrual cycle.

During the few days each month when women are fertile – around the time of ovulation – they tend to prefer masculine features and men who are more assertive.

On these fertile days, women are also more attracted to men who are ‘genetically dissimilar’, Dr Alvergne said. Picking a partner whose genetic make-up is unlike their own increases the chances of having a healthy child.

On days when women are not fertile, their tastes swing towards more feminine, boyish faces and more caring personalities, researchers have shown.

However, if women are taking the Pill they no longer have fertile days.

That means they no longer experience the hormonal changes that make them more attracted to masculine men and those with dissimilar genetic make-up.

the researchers explain that this is why leading hollywood actors have slowly transitioned from rugged angular confident/cocky men to boyish, softer, men in recent decades. evolutionarily, it makes sense; if you chemically alter a woman’s hormonal drive, she will not be as (dare i say it?) horny as she would be (consciously or subconsciously) as she might be were she not on the pill. i agree with the researchers that much of human sexuality is still very carnal; despite our cerebral and rational development, we are still the product of millions of years of genetic evolution, driven by the single attribute that all living things share: reproduction. scent and non-verbal signals may be dulled or ignored by our rational processes, but they still exist and play a role in mate selection and reproduction. because genetic diversity is a selective advantage (vs. the extreme alternative, incest), women still (again, consciously or subconsciously) seek out males that can protect, care for, and provide for them (and produce children) regardless of how far the women’s liberation movement has progressed. as a strong, powerful, progressive hollywood leading lady once told me at her dinner table, ‘confidence is very, very attractive, but women can still smell arrogance a mile away.’ likewise, men still seek out (again, consciously or subconsciously) women who can care for, provide for, and comfort them. for both sexes, producing offspring always lies at the heart of the species.

however, the findings could also have something to do with the fact that as women have earned their rightful place alongside men as equals, they began finding attractive men who were not the traditional domineering type. women began to prefer men who treated them as equals, not subordinates. these men may have tended to be less aggressive, less angular, less traditionally ‘macho’ men, who were comfortable with their masculinity and were not always out to show off to the other males in the room – a trait where being big, strong, hairy, and angular is stereotypically and evolutionarily advantageous.

i agree that the transition has taken place. the question now is whether the transition from strong, domineering, tough guys to smart, sensitive, cute guys is the result of birth control, or the result of the continued march of social evolution, gender equity, and technological progress that makes reliance on tough, strong guys less needed. and is the transition a bad thing? as one who has been described as a mountain metrosexual (looks like a mountain man but speaks and acts like a civilized urbanite), i don’t really care. ;-)

question for the ‘yes on prop 8’ supporters: who can caster semenya marry?

South African gold-medallist Caster Semenya

South African gold-medallist Caster Semenya

i have a question for all of the california ‘yes on proposition 8’ supporters and others who support bans on gay marriage:

who can caster semenya marry?

it was revealed that south african olympic runner caster semenya is an intersexual individual (traditionally called hermaphrodites).

South African gold-medallist Semenya, 18, has both male and female organs, it was claimed…Semenya is claimed to have NO womb or ovaries — and has internal testes, the male sexual organs which produce testosterone.

first, i want to say that i can’t possibly comprehend what it must be like growing up as an intersexual individual in a society that sees issues of gender in such a markedly binary manner. gender issues are confusing enough if you are merely male or female, but to grow up in a sex-obsessed world arguing about issues of same-sex marriage as a hermaphrodite? this seems incredibly difficult.

i want to lend my support and sympathy to caster semenya, not for her physical makeup – she should be proud of who she is. but, i want to encourage her to stay strong in her life as an olympian and a woman (the gender she has chosen).

however, i cannot help but ask a few questions to those that oppose same sex marriage and to those that oppose women’s full inclusion, participation, and leadership in the church.

who can caster semenya marry? can she marry a man? would you let her marry a woman?

can she preach in a church? can she lead singing? can she serve as an elder? a pastor?

while these questions are answered quite simply by those of us that support gender equity and same-sex marriage, the answers are a little more difficult for those wishing to impose traditional (and quite physiologically ignorant) opinions on the matter. the bible speaks of male and female, but does not consider asexual, hermaphroditic, or other intersexual individuals. quite frankly, hermaphrodites do not fit the ‘biblical’ paradigm that many wish to enforce.

hermaphrodite_symbolhow can we continue to impose male/female gender regulations from a book that fails to address intersexual individuals upon a modern society. studies show that about 1% of all children born express some degree of sexual ambiguity, and 1 in every 2,000 newborns is born in a pronounced intersexual state. sure, these individuals are in the extreme minority, but if christians truly believe that every individual person is loved – and most say uniquely created (some might say intelligently designed) – by god, how can we impose gender restrictions upon individuals that possess both genders? it is no longer acceptable for fundamentalists simply to argue that the only acceptable christian lifestyle for intersexual individuals is lifelong abstinence. it is no sin, and they (nor their parents) did nothing wrong.

it is time for christians (and jews, and muslims, and peoples of all faiths) to recognize that some social institutions mentioned in the bible are no longer valid in modern society. the bible allows for slavery, but modern society has condemned this practice. the bible not only allows for, but at times commands genocide, but modern society has condemned this practice. likewise, the bible promotes the continued subjugation of women and homosexuals based upon antiquated and scientifically ignorant understandings of what it means to be a human with gender. it is time we once and for all did away with calls by christians to continue to ban same-sex marriage and women’s participation in church worship and leadership. it is time to accept that not all people in christ are ‘male and female’ (gal. 3:28) and realize that like its endorsement of slavery, the subjugation of women, homosexuals, and intersexual individuals is no longer acceptable.

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