Notes and Comment Blog

Our short and pithy observations on the passing scene as it relates to the mission of Butterflies and Wheels. Woolly-headed or razor-sharp comments in the media, anti-rationalist rhetoric in books or magazines or overheard on the bus, it’s all grist to our mill. And sometimes we will hold forth on the basis of no inspiration at all beyond what happens to occur to us.

He taught me critical thinking

Sep 2nd, 2011 11:24 am | By

Another escapee is Libby Anne. She gives a ten-part account of being a good child of Patriarchy and then of being turned around.

The childhood is by no means all horrible, even seen from the outside. Much of it is quite appealing.

I also enjoyed gardening. We always had large gardens, and we children did a great deal of the tending and weeding, sometimes waking at dawn in the summer months to weed before the summer heat. In addition to learning to garden, I found books at a homeschool convention about edible plants and medicinal herbs and set out to teach myself these important skills. I learned that dandelions could be eaten in salads, that plantain was good for mosquito bites, and that raspberry leaves made an excellent tea for pregnant women (such as my mother). I even tried to make flour out of clover. I loved walking through marshy areas or abandoned lots looking for plants that matched the pictures in my books, becoming excited at each new find. I knew that a proper wife should be able to forage for food and prepare herbal remedies, especially if the government collapsed and the country descended into anarchy as we always feared it would.

The proper wife bit and the descent into anarchy bit are a downer, but then that’s apparently what it was like: a mix of patriarchal doctrine and pleasantly industrious rural life.

But the patriarchal doctrine had some thorns even then.

My mother was constantly reading books like Me? Obey Him? as she strove to be a better, more submissive wife. This was difficult for my mother, for she was a very strong woman. I watched her war with herself as she tried to reconcile her strong spirit with the submission she believed in so steadfastly. I watched her cry over it, watched it eat away at her. My father, usually a reasonable man, became quite upset with my mother if he felt she was infringing on his authority. His most common response was to give her the silent treatment, and that was enough. In response, my mother generally first felt indignation and then blamed herself for not submitting enough and resolved again and again to do better. While my parents loved each other dearly, this tension added strain to their relationship, and I could see it.

The sad thing is that it’s an artificial strain, a worked up strain. A reasonable man has no need to think he has an authority that his wife shouldn’t infringe on. If both had thought of each other as partners and equals, they would still have disagreed about things, but without doctrinal anger or resentment or guilt. Nonsense about authority and submission is an extra element. It’s truly sad that people mess themselves up this way. It’s a disaster that they teach their children to do the same.

In addition to teaching me about theology, politics, and current events, my father taught me to think. He taught me critical thinking, and told me never to believe something just because someone says it, but to always question everything and follow truth wherever it leads. He taught me to never trust authority for authority’s sake and to never be afraid of truth. He taught me logic and how to recognize logical fallacies. Of course, the context of all this was learning to rebut worldly ideas and bogus concepts like global warming and evolution.

Not patriarchy or submission or god.

But then Libby Anne went to college…and as so often happens, the doors opened.

I began to have theological and political conversations with a number of non-Christians. I worked hard to show them the perfection of the Bible, the evidence of young earth creationism, the evils of abortion, and the love of God.

Strangely, I found a surprising number of my arguments rebutted by arguments I had never heard before. I was told that there were serious problems with creationism, ethical issues with the Bible, and more affective ways to decrease abortion than banning it. I turned to my resources, my books and websites on creationism, theology, and conservative politics, and I tried again. And again. And again. But some things just didn’t add up. I paused my arguments to do some serious research, and I was astounded by what I found.

An open door.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

My faith dispels any doubts

Sep 1st, 2011 4:40 pm | By

And by the way three cheers for female genital mutilation.

…some communities see the practice as an integral part of their culture. “I have two daughters and five nieces, all circumcised by doctors. I do not consider it a human rights violation because, according to our religious teachings, it has been divinely ordained. My faith dispels any doubts that some might put in my mind,” says Shaheen Abdullah.

Good old god! “He” designed us the way we are and then ordained that the females of us have to have our genitals chopped off. Why not just not include the genitals in the original package then? Why construct the thing only to ordain that it should be carved up and peeled away and stitched closed?

Human rights v divinely ordained – that’s what it keeps coming down to, time after time. “Divinely ordained” turns a stupid, brutal,  destructive mutilation into a good thing and “an integral part of their culture.” A pox on “divinely ordained.”

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Get out

Sep 1st, 2011 4:14 pm | By

One woman escaped the “Quiverfull” nightmare. First she entered the trap -

I remarried, found a “bible-believing” church, and worked hard
within the Quiverfull counterculture to implement the best of the best biblical
family values into our home life.  I had six more children. I homebirthed,
homeschooled, and home-churched. I submitted to my husband and joyfully
sacrificed my time, energy and talents to build him up and help him to succeed.
I published a “pro-life, pro-family” Christian family newspaper to inform and
encourage other Christians to defend “Traditional Family Values.”

In 2003, we were honored as Family of the Year at the Nebraska Family
Council’s “Salt & Light” awards.

Then she noticed how bad it was -

…perpetual pregnancies destroyed my health, and my indiscriminate acquiescence to my husband’s every whim transformed him from a loving father into a tantrum-throwing tyrant. Burnout and disillusionment led to abuse, neglect, family disintegration and a particularly nasty divorce.

And then she got out, and stopped quivering.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

The history of dissident thought

Sep 1st, 2011 11:10 am | By

It’s embarrassing and shocking that Michele Bachmann can be a serious candidate for president. The same goes for Rick Perry; the same goes for Mitt Romney; the same goes for Sarah Palin. Susan Jacoby thinks Americans’ ignorance of our history of secularism is part of the problem.

 I am less concerned about whether the American public is unacquainted with secular philosophy than I am about its vast ignorance of the founders’ determination not to establish a Christian government. College courses cannot fill the empty space left by public elementary and secondary schooling in which secularism is considered a dirty word instead of an honorable part of American history.

If Americans were not in dire need of remedial education on this subject, Texas Gov. Rick Perry would be automatically disqualified as a presidential candidate because of his unabashed contempt for the constitutional prohibitions against any government favoritism toward religion.

…One of the great victories of the religious right since 1980 has been its ability to convince a significant proportion of Americans that public education is dominated by secular values and a secular interpretation of history, when the truth is that many local school officials and teachers are terrified of saying or teaching anything that contradicts conventional wisdom about religion as the foundation and essence of the American nation.

Almost everyone who does any kind of talking-in-public is terrified of saying anything that contradicts conventional wisdom about religion as the best thing evah. Teachers and school officials of course are triply or quadruply so, because they’re public servants, because they have power over the vulnerable young, because they have parents to deal with. The result is a vast rustling forest of taboos, and the result of that is ignorance and distortion.

What is needed is integration of knowledge about freethought and secularism at every level of public schooling, so that American students may begin, not end, their college education with a basic grounding in the history of dissident thought that has always been the engine of human progress.

It’s odd the way Americans combine a certain respect or affection for dissident thought with a passion for the most obedient kind of thought there is.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

No more tiptoe

Aug 31st, 2011 4:38 pm | By

An atheist comes out as an atheist. In Kentucky.

I have often tiptoed around stating my lack of religious beliefs because, like
many people in a minority, I fear being shunned and judged. I’ve described
myself with words like non-religious, humanist, and freethinker and have most recently been playing with the “Unitarian” label. But as my kids get older, I don’t want them thinking there is anything wrong with me saying exactly what I am, in terms of my personal religious faith: an atheist. There, I said it. I am an atheist. I AM AN ATHEIST!

Hey Leanna. There are lots of us out here.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

He knew what God wanted, and what men wanted

Aug 31st, 2011 4:22 pm | By

Woho, looky here – the opposition looks at Vision Forum.

A former stay-at-home-daughter and now stay-at-home wife and mommy says she wishes she’d gone to college.

All of these books taught that the world was a very dangerous place for a woman. God had designed her to be at home, creating a peaceful haven for her husband and children. The books said that any girl who left her father’s protection and went out into the world to get an education or job would end up sad and alone, because she was not living the life God willed for her.

God wanted us to dare to live differently. His plan for women involved getting back to the family principles the home was founded on. Girls needed to be brought up knowing instinctively how to care for babies and keep house. They needed to be taught to be quiet, submissive, and modest and pure. The only way to do this, was to keep separate from the world. So my parent homeschooled and kept me from doing much of anything outside of our family circle, so that I would never get used to experiences outside the home, and I would learn to be content in my homemaking role.

It sounded so romantic when I was ages 10-13. I was going to be amazing someday! My husband was going to be pleased that I was so good at caring for children and keeping house. I was practicing submission to my father, taking it very seriously whenever he pointed out some behaviour of mine that “would infuriate my husband someday.” He knew what God wanted, and what men wanted. If I wanted to be successful and happy someday, I had to start by pleasing my Daddy.

In other words…….it’s just what it always sounded like: a scheme for making men happy. (It seems like a radically flawed scheme, to me, because the price of all that obedience and submission is living with an idiot. I would think an adult companion, however independent, would be immeasurably better than a kind of animated doll. But the patriarchs don’t seem to see it that way.)

So it’s a scheme for making men happy by training girls to be slaves to the men they marry. It’s a sick little system for obliterating women so that men can use them in any way they feel like.

Sometimes I wished that I had the chance to study more than just cooking, cleaning and sewing, and I did ask my parents if I could take some classes while living at home, but I was reminded that it would only be a waste of time and money to go to college when none of that education would apply in the home. A college atmosphere could take my focus off the Lord, and fill my head with thoughts of career and rebellion. After some begging on my part, Dad said he would permit me to take a few online courses from a very conservative school if I insisted, but it was clear that this was not what he felt was wise. He also said that I had to finish all my high school material first, and that my school work could in no way interfere with my household duties. I was so overwhelmed at the thought of trying to keep both my father and a school happy, that I gave up on the idea of further education.

“Dad” would be a credit to the Taliban.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Frankly, people do think you’re a nutter

Aug 31st, 2011 12:41 pm | By

Christina Patterson doesn’t share Tony Blair’s affection for injecting “faith” into politics.

You might think that someone who doesn’t believe in a theory
accepted by almost every scientist for more than a century, and who wants to
restrict the rights of half the population to make decisions about their own
body, and thinks that every human being in the world who doesn’t “accept Jesus
as their saviour” will literally go to hell, would have US voters rolling their
eyes. But it doesn’t. You can’t, in fact, even think of running for office in
the world’s only superpower if you don’t, in the now famous words of Alastair
Campbell, “do God”.

Bad combination – superpower, and must do god. Even worse combination, world’s only superpower and must do god. Horrendous combination,  world’s only superpower and must do crazy dominionist or Reformed Whateveritis Barking Mad god.

Here, thank God, Allah, or Big Brother, you can. Here, if you start talking about Jesus, or hell, or hurricanes as warnings from God, you’re more likely to make it into a jungle with Sally Bercow than the Pillared Room at Downing Street. Here, if you start talking about the “inerrancy” of the Bible, or “intelligent design”, you’re likely to trigger some serious concern. Even Tony Blair, who was the nearest we got to a Messiah for a while, didn’t, at least when he was elected, and for quite a while afterwards, talk about God. “It’s difficult if you talk about faith in our political system,” he said in a TV interview after leaving office. “Frankly, people do think you’re a nutter.”

And then you leave office and start doing god with a vengeance and people realize you’re a nutter.

In this country, if you’re in public life, you can’t talk about God, but you can talk about “faith groups”. Faith groups are what Tony Blair was thinking of when he started his Tony Blair Faith Foundation. “I set it up,” said the man who helped to start a war that killed more than 100,000 people, “to make the case for religion as a force for good”. Faith groups, according to this view, are nice groups of nice people all wanting to make society better. They are not groups of people who think that people who don’t go to their church, or mosque, or synagogue, or teenage girls who get pregnant, and don’t feel ready to start a family, or people who are sexually attracted to their own sex, will rot in hell.

Which is why that view is so stupid and so wrong.

Women have fought hard for the right not to have their bodies controlled by
somebody else’s God, and so have lesbians and gay men. It’s beginning to look as though we might need to start fighting again.

Without any help from “faith groups.”

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

And all I got was this stupid T shirt

Aug 31st, 2011 12:03 pm | By

Really, J C Penney? Really?


What the hell is that, skool for future “Sex and the City” airheads? A scheme to make all women as empty-headed as the “real” “housewives” of New York/New Jersey/Hollywood/Las Vegas/Miami/Topeka? Or just a calculated insult to women in general?

They’ve withdrawn the T shirt now, thank you for small favors, but why did they come up with it in the first place? What next? A funny-haha girls’ T shirt saying “I’m too stupid to do homework so I’ll just go to work at J C Penney when I grow up?”

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

A better butterfly

Aug 31st, 2011 10:11 am | By

The wheels are in motion (or do I mean they’re turning, or grinding? I want to get my clichés right, here) and I’m just about ready to start posting at the Freethought B&W. Once the banner is in place I think that will do it.

Josh fixed up my avatar, so it’s more elegant now. Less sloppy and less sparkly, both.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Test Post

Aug 31st, 2011 9:29 am | By

This is a test post, the sole purpose of which is to see whether automatic cross-posting from Butterflies and Wheels at FreeThoughtBlogs to Butterflies & Wheels Prime works.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Purdah in Texas

Aug 30th, 2011 10:47 am | By

We’ve seen all this before. It’s the stay-at-home-daughters movement.

The stay-at-home-daughters movement, which is promoted by Vision Forum, encourages young girls and single women to forgo college and outside employment in favor of training as “keepers at home” until they marry. Young women pursuing their own ambitions and goals are viewed as selfish and antifamily; marriage is not a choice or one piece of a larger life plan, but the ultimate goal. Stay-at-home daughters spend their days learning “advanced homemaking” skills, such as cooking and sewing, and other skills that at one time were a necessity — knitting, crocheting, soap- and candle-making. A father is considered his daughter’s authority until he transfers control to her husband.

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that the CPM shares much of its philosophy with the Quiverfull movement, which holds that good Christians must eschew birth control — even natural family planning — in order to implement biblical principles and, in the process, outbreed unbelievers. Although the CPM has been around for the past several decades, with its roots in the founding of the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and the teachings of religious leaders like Bill Gothard and Rousas J. Rushdoony, the stay-at-home-daughters movement seems to have gained traction in the last decade…

Vision Forum, for its part, is fully dedicated to turning back the clock on gender equality. Its website offers a cornucopia of sex-segregated books and products designed to conform children to rigid gender stereotypes starting from an early age. The All-American Boy’s Adventure Catalog shills an extensive selection of toy weapons (bow-and-arrow sets, guns, swords, and tomahawks), survival gear, and books and DVDs on war, the outdoors, and science. The Beautiful Girlhood Collection features dolls, cooking and sewing play sets, and costumes.

It certainly does.

The Beautiful Girlhood Collection aspires, by the grace of God, to encourage the rebuilding of a culture of virtuous womanhood. In a world that frowns on femininity, that minimizes motherhood, and that belittles the beauty of being a true woman of God, we dare to believe that the biblical vision for girlhood is a glorious vision.

You bet. The biblical vision is and always has been one of little white girls with long hair in ribbons and long pastel dresses with lace and ribbons and poofy sleeves, crowding around a pretty suburban mommy in a blue shirt and a long navy skirt (or could those possibly be trousers? no of course not, stupid question). Biblical; totes biblical; nothing to do with Victorian illustrations or Little House on the Prairie or nostalgia or anything like that; it’s all right smack straight out of the biblical bible.

Some of them seem to have permission to blog though. Is that biblical?

At least I am not one of them

Aug 29th, 2011 5:49 pm | By

More fact-checking to do.

Harris’s “The End of Faith” launched the so-called “New Atheist” movement, a make-no-apologies ideology that maintains that religion is not just flawed, but evil, and must be rejected.

No, that’s wrong. “New Atheism” doesn’t necessarily claim that religion is flawed; it claims that theism is wrong – not true, mistaken, false; and that it’s permissible to say so in public discussions.

Within two years, Harris was joined on the best-seller list by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett, who all took religion to task for most — if not all — of the world’s ills.

No, that’s wrong. As usual with these things, it’s off the mark about Dennett’s book. Lazy journalists who simply parrot what 40 thousand other journalists have already said should be sent back to journalism school. Kimberly Winston obviously never read a word of Dennett’s book.

“9/11 ushered in a big change, in that it put Islam squarely in the center of the discussion,” said Tom Flynn, director of The Center for Inquiry, and a supporter of the New Atheists. “Previous freethinkers would have said religion is horrible, look at the Crusades, look at the Inquisition. This opened up the possibility of directing strong arguments against religions other than Christianity.”

Flynn points out that atheists have long called for an end to religion. What’s “new” about the New Atheists is their stridency and refusal to compromise.

Since Tom Flynn is a supporter of the “New Atheists” he won’t have said it that way, but the reporter apparently summarized what he did say that way. Nice.

Ryan Cragun, a sociologist of religion at the University of Tampa, is more qualified in his assessment. In their extremism and intolerance, he likens the New Atheists to Fox News Channel — “so far to the right,” he said, that they opened up the middle.

“Now it is OK to be a moderate atheist because you can point to the stridency of the New Atheists and say, ‘At least I am not one of them,”‘ he said. “It opens up a bigger space for freethinkers to actually communicate.”

Overton window. You’re welcome.



God intended women

Aug 28th, 2011 5:52 pm | By

Some more crazy. From Mary Pride’s The Way Home: Beyond Feminism, Back to Reality (quoted in Quiverful, p 135):

Abortion is first of all a heart attitude: ‘Me first.’ ‘My career first.’ ‘My reputation first.’ ‘My convenience first.’ ‘My financial plans first.’ And these same choices are what family planning, which the churches have endorsed for three decades, is all about.

Yes…………and? Why not? Why not think about one’s own self and career and other plans first when deciding what to do with one’s life?

Well she explains why not.

God intended women to spend their lives serving other people.

Oh. So they don’t get to just decide to have some other kind of life, or to combine taking care of dependents with doing other things.

“Lean not on your own understanding,” Quiverful mo[ther] Tracy Moore tells me, describing the scriptural foundation she discovered for Quiverfull after following the advice of formerly Amish families in Kentucky. [p 154]

No, instead lean on an old book that includes some very harsh laws along with stories and poetry. Nope; I’ll go with the own understanding, thanks.

To impose the lifestyle of Manhattan and Hollywood

Aug 28th, 2011 3:18 pm | By

Meet the Population Research Institute. It sounds respectable, doesn’t it. But

Founded in 1989, the Population Research Institute is a non-profit research and educational organization dedicated to objectively presenting the truth about population-related issues, and to reversing the trends brought about by the myth of overpopulation. Our growing, global network of pro-life groups spans over 30 countries.

It’s dedicated to objectively presenting its pronatalist antifeminist views as truth, so that’s an oxymoron, innit.

Its mission is to

Debunk the myth of overpopulation, which cheapens human life and paves the way for abusive population control programs

Expose the relentless promotion of abortion, abortifacient contraception, and chemical and surgical sterilization in misleadingly labeled “population stabilization,” “family planning,” and “reproductive health” programs.

Defund these programs by exposing the coercion, deception, and racism inherent in them.

And they did; they got the Bush administration to defund the UN Population Fund.

PRI’s so-called “investigation” of UNFPA’s activities in China (whose most spectacular finding was that there was a desk with a UNFPA sticker on it inside an official Chinese family planning office), was cited by members of Congress and the Bush Administration as rationale for reevaluating U.S. support for UNFPA in general. A subsequent U.S. State Department investigation found no evidence to support PRI’s claims of wrongdoing by UNFPA—in fact, it even commended their work in China. Nonetheless, the Bush Administration blocked all US funding of UNFPA in 2002 and has withheld more than $125 million from the agency through the end of 2005.

They don’t like feminism – which they call “radical feminism,” laughably.

“The pro-life pro-family movement should absolutely oppose the creation of a UN super-agency dedicated to radical feminist goals, which undermine marriage, weaken the family, and thus endanger children both born and unborn,” says Steven Mosher, President of the Population Research Institute.  “What is being proposed is a very powerful agency with a global mandate to restructure relations between the sexes.  If the past is any indicator, it will be used to impose the lifestyle of Manhattan and Hollywood feminists on family-centered countries and cultures.  It is cultural imperialism at its worst.”

Oooooh Manhattan and Hollywood – you know what that means, Precious. [whispers] It means Jewish.

Patriarchy, when it’s done right

Aug 27th, 2011 3:29 pm | By

There was a large and interesting conflict between Doug Phillips of Vision Forum and Boerne Christian Assembly (a small San Antonio church where he was pastor) and a parishioner named Jennifer Epstein, a conflict that was all about submission and asymmetrical rules. The condensed version is that Jennifer Epstein’s husband Mark had problems with anger and Phillips simply kept telling her to be more and more and more submissive; she tried to argue her case, and Phillips ended up throwing both of them and their children out of the church.

Epstein met her husband when both were in the military.

She’d thrived under military discipline, memorizing long lists of rules and regulations, willing to submit to such authority, she says, as long as she understood the reasons for the rules. That this need to understand the rationale behind regulation indicates a desire for discussion and debate more than a readiness to submit seems evident in the wake of Jennifer’s experiences at BCA, where she attempted to grapple intellectually with the logic behind the rules as she had in the Army. [Quiverfull p 110]

That’s a key point, you see, because there isn’t any. That keeps cropping up throughout the book – it’s not about logic or reasons or fairness. People frame it that way at times but only as long as it works; the bottom line is always just “God said so”; Titus 2; Proverbs 31; it’s for Jesus. You can use reasons around the edges, while the sun is shining, but god-said-so always trumps them. Always. Joyce quotes Phillips saying exactly that early on, in that Vision Forum talk.

You are a helpmeet. The Bible says that man is not made for the woman but the woman is made for the man. If you have a problem with that, take it up with the Creator, not Phillips. I’m just quoting. [p 8]

Nothing he can do, you see? It’s out of his hands. So logic is ultimately beside the point, as is thinking, as is discussion.

And that’s why it’s so foul. Humans are a discussing, reasoning, thinking species. It’s a terrible contortion and stifling of our nature to block that by claiming it’s all been decided by an absent god and the boys are “just quoting.”

Epstein never does seem to grasp that, even though she got her face rubbed in it.

She argues that patriarchy, when it’s done right, in a heart-driven, grace-inspired way, makes women want to submit to their husbands because their husbands lead the way, by loving them as Christ does, not because it’s a system imposing a set of rules from without.

But then that’s not submission! If you’re doing it because you want to, it’s not submission. It’s sprinkling flower petals on a bucket of rotting garbage, to pretend that the really nice kind of patriarchy can make women want to submit.

“Christians can’t be egalitarians.”

Aug 27th, 2011 11:58 am | By

It’s helpful that they come right out and say it.

Narrated by Amy Gunn [wife of Colin, one of the brothers Gunn], Monstrous Regiment argues that “Christians can’t be egalitarians. We believe in hierarchy and inherent authority.”

Oh. Right. Thanks for spelling it out. That’s why we hate and fear you. We think that belief is evil.

The holy cinema

Aug 27th, 2011 11:30 am | By

Meet the Gunn brothers. They make exciting Christian documentary movies that win awards from organizations that give awards to Christian movies.

They made Shaky Town, which is about the persecution of Christians by the evil gayz in San Francisco.

You’ll hear testimonies from Christian Heroes involved in a front-line battle against immorality in the so-called“tolerant” city. You’ll also see real video footage of Christian churches in San Francisco being attacked by violent groups of homosexuals. So be warned, this movie is not for the faint-hearted!

And they made The Monstrous Regiment of Women, which you can guess what it’s about (hello John Knox!). The page is super super super scary though, so be warned – it includes a picture with three terrifying women with power in it omigod.

The Monstrous Regiment of Women, The Gunn Brother’s second documentary, goes all out to demolish the feminist worldview. From a consistently Christian perspective, they show how feminism has had a devastating impact on the church, state, and family.

Starting with the infamous 16th century essay written by the reformer John Knox against the reigning female monarch, the Gunn Brothers find plenty of application to America’s political landscape; where feminists vie for every possible office including the presidency.

Featuring an all star, all female cast, the Gunn Brothers prove that feminism has in fact restricted choices for all women, brought heartache to the lives of many, and perpetuated the largest holocaust since the beginning of time.

The largest holocaust! Well surely in that case all feminists should be rounded up and interned.

Never heard that before

Aug 27th, 2011 10:29 am | By

How exciting: a new fresh original unexpected take on theNewAtheism. (Illustrated, I have to add, by a staggeringly banal sculpture called “the Hand of God” which is…a big hand, with a Man perched on it. Wo!!!!!!! Mind-blowing, huh?)

It’s James Wood who has the excitingly new fresh original unexpected take. He breakes the mold in the very first sentence.

In the last 10 years or so, the rise of American evangelicalism and the menace of Islamist fundamentalism, along with developments in physics and in theories of evolution and cosmogony, have encouraged a certain style of aggressive, often strident atheistic critique.

And everything that follows is equally challenging and paradigm-exploding.

I can’t be the only reader who finds himself in broad agreement with the conclusions of the New Atheists, while disliking some of the ways they reach them.

No, you certainly can’t. Couldn’t you have checked? Google is your friend.

Along with this curious parochialism about the varieties of religious belief comes a simplistic reading of how people actually hold those beliefs. Terry Eagleton and others have rightly argued that, for millions of people, religious “belief” is not a matter of just totting up stable, creedal propositions…

The New Atheism is locked into a similar kind of literalism. It parasitically lives off its enemy. Just as evangelical Christianity is characterised by scriptural literalism and an uncomplicated belief in a “personal God”, so the New Atheism often seems engaged only in doing battle with scriptural literalism; but the only way to combat such literalism is with rival literalism. The God of the New Atheism and the God of religious fundamentalism turn out to be remarkably similar entities…Since militant atheism interprets religious faith, again on the evangelical or Islamist model, as blind – a blind leap of faith that hurls the believer into an infinite idiocy – so no understanding or even interest can be extended to why or how people believe the religious narratives they follow…

So let’s talk about literature instead. Ok, but why start with theNewAtheism?

Your guess is as good as mine. Possibly.

As a living sacrifice

Aug 26th, 2011 3:25 pm | By

A wives-submit type explained to Kathryn Joyce.

“Man is ultimately responsible, when he stands up before God in heaven, for how he ran and managed his family. We women are responsible for how we were as helpmeets. We’re not supposed to be wearing the pants to the elbows, like a lot of women do. We’re equally intelligent and capable of doing the things theat men do, but that doesn’t mean we have to or that we should.” This is a common rejoinder of biblical womanhood advocates…they acknowledge women’s equal capacity, but they suggest that women lay their abilities aside with their pride as a living sacrifice fit for their Savior. [Quiverfull p 71]

But why? That’s what I want to know. Why a sacrifice? What for, what is the reason, what is the point?

Why would their “Savior” want such a sacrifice?

It’s an incredibly primitive idea, frankly. “Lay aside” good useful things as a “sacrifice” for a hidden god. Why? To mollify it so that it doesn’t eat you? No, Jesus is supposed to be better than that, but if he wants women to stifle their own abilities as a “living sacrifice” (what a horrible notion) then he’s not better than that.

And why is it only women who are supposed to lay aside their abilities? Because it’s in the bible. Yes but why is it in the bible? Oh we’re not allowed to ask that.

It’s tragic when people so totally lose their grip on the real and the human and waste their only lives for the sake of an old story.

Christian taqqiya

Aug 26th, 2011 12:24 pm | By

Frank Schaeffer points out that Michele Bachmann is not telling the truth about whether or not she submits to her husband. He knows what he’s talking about, too: his father was one of the sources of the anti-feminist Dominionist movement.

Bachmann understands just how extreme her part of the evangelical movement is. She also understands that a certain amount of godly lying will be needed to mask that. She understood that the question she was asked the other day was about a biblical teaching that is misogynistic to the core and advocates total submission of a wife to a husband. It is teaching she’s signed on to long ago.

The people, churches and groups that shaped Bachmann’s thinking are far more anti-woman than most Americans fully comprehend.

Yes they are. We’ve been reading up on them in the last few days, and there’s a lot more where that came from.

The issue of wifely submission is at the heart of the entire anti-feminist agenda that shaped Bachmann. I should know. As I describe in my book Sex, Mom and God, the current crop of religious right leaders — including Michele Bachamnn — got their ideas and inspiration from my family’s work, books and film series.

Besides my father, Bachmann signed on as a follower of other leading “Reconstructionists” teaching “dominion.” And out of that movement came the big family, home-school movement that included a push to restore “traditional” roles of women…In fact, the whole conservative evangelical movement Bachmann is part of is distinguished by its hatred of the feminist movement top to bottom.

Just what this country needs.

Thanks to Salty Current for the link.