|"Oedipus at Colonos" by Jean-Baptist Hugues (Musee d'Orsay)|
Religion fancies itself as manifesting the word of God.
And with frequent evocation of morality, much soaring architecture and oft-inspiring music, it regularly does exactly that.
However, a skeptical person — me for instance — gathering together all doctrines, could be forgiven for viewing orthodox religion as something else: an elaborate system to dominate women.
Women get the short end of the stick in every major faith. The Judeo-Christian tradition certainly stumbles out of the blocks. No sooner is Eve crafted from Adam's rib — to give him a lackey, remember — than she gets mankind booted from the Garden of Eden, earning her painful childbirth and divinely ordained second-class citizenship forever ("And he shall rule over thee"). The starting gun to an endless series of indignities commencing with Genesis and rolling right up to Louis C.K.
I won't take the time to outline the degradations served up by Islam, except to note that when Saudi Arabia allowed women to drive — in 2017 — it was considered a breakthrough. For all its spirituality, in Buddhism enlightenment is seen as something that doesn't happen to women.
Thus, indignity over good Alabama Christians rushing to support Senate candidate Roy Moore after he was accused of molesting teenage girls seems naive, and makes me wonder: You are paying attention, right? Most Southern Republicans no doubt draw the line at exploiting teenage girls. But it also fits into the overall right-wing policy of scorning what real women actually want: equal pay, reproductive rights, health care, to not be treated as sexual playthings by any man who crosses their path. In their place is put what religion-addled men imagine women want, a second-class citizenship halfway to victimization. Sexual intimidation in this context isn't a lapse; it's baked into the system. Not a flaw, as the techies say, but a feature. Much of religion resembles the old-fashioned "virginity check" — an assault disguised as insistence on purity. It's no accident that one of Moore's defenders cited the story of Mary and Joseph as if it offered exoneration.
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