Christian Penises

Abby Moss wrote a post for the Huffingpost.UK, that I noticed:

Why the Church of England is Confused About Penises  

(some snips ->

One month ago, the Church of England voted against women bishops. This week, they’ve decided they’re totally fine with gay bishops, even gay bishops in civil partnerships, as long as they refrain from sex. As far as I can see, there is a clear link between these two decisions. Penises. The Church of England has a very complex and troubled outlook on the penis. Mostly, it’s terrified of penises and all their sexy functions. They would prefer for penises, and balls I guess, to go away and for all people to be asexual beings, with crotches that are entirely smoothed over, like a Ken doll (who, now I come to think of it, was pretty camp himself)…

The problem with women, according to the Church, is that they don’t have a penis and Jesus did. Gay bishops have penises, so that’s good. But if they use them for anything but peeing they’d be out of a job faster than you can say “I got so drunk at Mardi Gras, I woke up on the roof of my hotel wearing nothing but my bishop hat”.

It’s vital to the Church’s order of patriarchal power and control that the male stays at the top. Because God is a man and Jesus was a man. Mary was a woman but, oh look, she never had sex. Adam and Eve ate the fruit, realised they were naked and that was bad, apparently. The penis is a vital, central part of the Church’s hierarchy and order as a symbol of maleness. But as a symbol of sex they’re ever so keen to repress it…

Someone who commented (whose comment was deleted) – that penises are an insignificant aspect of the Church delusion –  inspired me to add this comment:

I agree with the writer. It is all about penises. The fact that Christianity is based on the concept of a symbolic GOD with a penis and his offspring GOD with a penis – it’s about the symbolism – and giving men power. The supernatural, the miracles, is just another symbol of power. That HE suffered gives HIM power. That HE supposedly ‘rose’ (like a penis) = more power. That Christians try to pretend that HE is inside them (body & blood) – could also be a sexual reference to the penis ( a revelation I just received thanks to a writer whose comment was dropped). That Christians think they can run things is all part of their perceived penis power (which some women try to link themselves to). As if – the biggest dick wins.

Virgin Births

There is an article in the BBC, Virgin births discovered in wild snakes, that makes me wonder if virgin births in snakes was the inspiration for imagined, religiously-associated “virgin births” in people. After all, snakes were considered divine long before gods conceived in human form. It may have been part of why snakes were considered special.

While this article suggests that this is a new discovery for humans, more than likely, pre-historic peoples were familiar with this phenomenon. I expect that contemporaries in “non-developed”, snake-worshipping societies would also be familiar with this.

Equality & Life & Environment Vs. Male-supremacy (Tradition & Control)

Jonathan Heidt has an article in the New York Times Forget the Money, Follow the Sacredness, where he tries to simplify the left and right. I have a feeling that he leans right because of they way his simplifications lead.

Haidt writes, for instance, “For the American left, African-Americans, women and other victimized groups are the sacred objects at the center of the story.” While that may be true to some extent – it implies that anyone who is not a woman or black or victimized does not count. Which is not true. And his summation does not follow the quote that he posts from Notre Dame sociologist Christian Smith.

It is a more positive description to say that Equality is the sacred object in the center. And Life (actual life, not unborn life). And yes – the Environment is sacred as well. Equality (non-discrimiation, equal-opportunity to go to college, to access health care, etc.), Life (& health), and the Environment. That is more encompassing than being about women, blacks and victims. And it also describes the left better.

For Conservatives, (white) Male-supremacy and their control of the world is the sacred element. It is referred to in terms of “religion and the traditional family” – but the religion they speak of – conservative versions of Christianity is all about Male-supremacy and control. The “traditional (white) family”, “strict father” ideas are all a part of that – so of course women and minority groups are especially going to rebel against that.

Haidt does not mention the (white) Male-supremacy aspect of the conservative message (possibly because he is a white male) – and without that aspect – the parts where Conservatives see Liberals as “Devils” makes less sense. As does the part where Liberals are upset with Conservatives – which is more understandable when you know how and why Conservatives are against equality.

Conservatives also against concern for the environment – because they think that their religion expects them to dominate the earth and they think that means that they have free-reign to do whatever.

The Conservative leaders are also very much about control. Where Liberals understand and accept that people are different, have different or no religion, have different sexual preferences, etc., Conservatives do not. Liberals would be happy to accept Conservative lifestyles as long as those Conservatives were not trying to control and restrict everybody else.

So yes – it may be a “Holy War” of sorts as Haidt says – he just doesn’t understand the sides.

15 Bible Texts that Malign Women

I noticed this post on Alternet – that is from the Blog Away Point (by

Valerie Tarico) – 15 Bible Texts Reveal Why “God’s Own Party” is at War with Women.

The essay is a relevant collection of Bible quotes that malign women. Some such as these have been used in modern day fundamentalist types of churches to keep women from teaching and taking an active role in church.

A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.  I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. 1 Timothy 2: 11-2

&

Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 1 Corinthians 14:34

These and other such quotes are no doubt how Catholics justify their all-male hierarchy.

Also from Away Point:

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. Exodus 20:17

If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do. Exodus 21:7

… As futurist Sara Robinson has pointed out, traditional rules that govern male-female relationships are grounded more in property rights than civil rights.

… Some people don’t welcome change. Since the beginnings of the 20th Century, fundamentalist Christians have been engaged in what they see as spiritual warfare against secularists and modernist Christians. Both of their foes have embraced discoveries in fields such as linguistics, archeology, psychology, biology and physics – all of which call into question the heart of conservative religion and culture. Biblical scholars now challenge such “fundamentals” as a historical Adam, the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection and the special status that Abraham’s God gave to straight males. Fundamentalists are fighting desperately to hang on to certainties and privileges they once saw as an Abrahamic birthright. If they can’t keep women in line; it’s all over. The future ends up in the hands of cultural creatives, scientists, artists, inquiring minds, and girls. It’s horrifying.

____

People are admonished not to condemn other’s religions – but what about when other’s religions condemn them – certainly we have a right to condemn that. I think so, anyway.

This business about respecting other’s religions would be different thing if those religions respected women and considered us equals. To respect such a misogynist religion is to respect misogyny, itself.

Sunrises, Gods & Goddesses, & Sex

Where I live, I have a good view to the east. I usually take a walk first thing in the morning – and it is often around the time the sun is rising. I’ve taken hundreds of sunrise photos. (My header photo is of a sunset I took while on vacation).

My religion has evolved to where it basically involves being happy to be alive and appreciating the awesome world that I find myself in. I count my blessings which include having wonderful parents, husband, & grown children. I try to live simply; I meditate and practice yoga.

My philosophy is partly based on a liberal understanding of Christianity (minus the divinity part), along with some Jungian, feminist, and other readings. I strive for a somewhat Universal understanding – I am interested in ideas from India, China, & Japan – especially as they relate to our relationship with the earth and with each other.

It has taken me awhile – but I have come to appreciate the way that sex is integrated into the religions of India. The idea of sex and especially the yoni (vagina) representing life, is so basic and sensible. Temples have at their core a room that is based on the idea of the womb. Carved, stylized yonis with a lingam (phallas shape) within the yoni – as a symbol of life are normal and everyday artifacts. And of course – what simpler way to represent life? The Egyptian ankh symbol was likely based on the same idea.

The more I have learned about this way of understanding the world, and the more the acceptance and appreciation of the symbols of sex as life become integrated into my mind, the more I see that Christianity and especially Catholicism is messed up.

I have enjoyed reading Elaine Pagels books The Gnostic Gospels (1979), & Adam, Eve and the Serpent (1988), which have helped put into perspective what happened early in Christianity. Basically that while there were people who embraced spirituality and equality with women, the ones who won were the ones who wanted to squash women’s influence. The ones who won were more interested in creating an authoritarian model that demanded obedience as opposed to a more inclusive model based on love and acceptance. Many ‘heretics’ were killed along the way.

To this day we have those who are interested in using religion to dominate and control – to keep men elevated and women subservient. That would include the fundamentalists who demand a ‘literal’ (cough) interpretation of the Bible as well as the Catholics with their Pope who has decided that birth control is evil. While the vast majority of Christian denominations adapted and made women more equal partners, the Catholics remain inflexible.

Many denominations in the 70s and 80s moved to have more inclusive language – such as describing God not as He – but as the creator. Five hundred years ago, various (non-Catholic) Christians began thinking of God as more abstract than physical. The maleness of God has remained important to the Catholic hierarchy – with the Pope saying that it would be a different religion if (the) God(s) were not male.

The fundamentalists and Catholics – while they may be saving the patriarchal nature of their religion – are becoming more and more polarizing as many of the rest of us see that the patriarchy is not the model we wish to follow. I think that where there could have been more liberal Christians, the effect of the extremists is to encourage people such as myself to abandon Christianity altogether and look for something more reasonable and women-friendly.

What women like myself are discovering is that there is a whole world of Goddesses that I, for one, grew up knowing little about. The Greek Goddesses we typically learn about had been made subservient (for the most part) by the Greeks as they imposed patriarchal concepts long ago – as well as in their retelling by an educational system that wanted to promote male power over women.

To find out about the Goddess(es) who were thought of as being the creator(s) of the world, etc. you need to find out about the Goddesses before they were dominated and recast as inferior beings.

Nearly all of the artifacts representing humans prior to about 6000 years ago were of women. It is no coincidence that 4000 BCE marks the time when fundamentalists say that the world began. What happened at the “fall” was that the Earth Mother, Eve (along with a symbol of the earth – the snake) were denigrated and demonized. Men asserted their power over women. Men also began taking credit for life, itself. Many men don’t want to give that up. (Santorum and Limbaugh to name two).

Sandra Fluke’s Statement

The Testimony Chairman Issa (and RL) Doesn’t Want You to Hear

Sandra Fluke was blocked from testifying on the topic of the contraception compromise of the Obama administration.

Basically, the Catholic Bishop Lobby has been working on making Catholic hospitals and other Catholic businesses exempt from covering birth control pills. The essence of the compromise was that it does not cost the Catholic businesses anything if the health insurance plan includes birth control pills because the plans would have to cost more without them (because they would be covering post conception issues).

The Catholic Bishop Lobby, along with the Congressional Republicans are working very hard to limit women’s rights – so the issue here is not about the money but about the control. The Conservative frame is that the poor Catholics are having to fund something that is against their “faith”. But how can they be funding something if it costs less (HA!)

Conservatives would rather twist into pretzels than admit that this issue is about men controlling women. The Catholic church with their all male rulers seem to think that they should control the government like they did in the ‘good old days’. The Church is founded on the disdain for sex and disdain for women. Their leaders don’t have anything to do with women (sexually) – and they seem to like it like that – they seem to think that that gives them power. As if, women, by association would weaken them.

I think that we may need a new church – one that includes the premise that sex is normal (so long as it is between consenting adults). What a concept. Then it would be more obvious an argument to say that the Catholic Church/Republicans are infringing on the women’s religious freedom. The Church/Republicans seem to think that religious freedom trumps even the rights of one’s bodily integrity – one’s actual self.

Props to Sandra Fluke and the group that she is associated with – Law Students for Reproductive Justice. I added the group and their blog to my blogroll.