Columns Jeffrey Salkin: Martini Judaism Opinion

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ re-spins Genesis. And that’s scary

A scene from "The Handmaid's Tale" on Hulu. Image courtesy of Hulu

(RNS) If, over the next few days, you’re looking for me, you can find me sitting in front of my TV, binge-watching “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which has just been released on Hulu.

I cannot break away.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” is an adaptation of the 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood.

It is a dystopian story, set in a near-future America.

Right-wing fundamentalists have staged a coup in the United States and have established the tyrannical, theocratic Republic of Gilead (note the biblical name).

The poisoning of the environment has resulted in a dramatic drop in fertility.

The regime has, therefore, enslaved fertile women, forcing them to become slaves within privileged households. They are the handmaids (there are other classes of oppressed women as well).

The handmaids have lost their names; instead, their names have become the patronymic of the men that they serve. So, Offred is the property “of Fred.”

Because the elite women are infertile, the handmaids must undergo a monthly impregnation ceremony with their commanders in order to bear a child for the commander and his wife.

It doesn’t take a graduate degree in political science to see “The Handmaid’s Tale” as a warning about the dangers of religious fundamentalism and totalitarian government.

Some see it as a prophetic outcry against the assault on women’s health care and the removal of women’s rights, especially at the hands of those who would do so in the name of religion – both in the United States and in Israel.

Yes, “The Handmaid’s Tale” is about fascism and misogyny.

But it is about far more than that.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” is a dark midrash (or commentary) on the patriarchal tales of Genesis.

I have been teaching Torah for almost four decades. I have edited and written several books on the Bible (consider my latest, the “JPS B’nai Mitzvah Torah Commentary,” which just came out).

And, with all that, I am embarrassed that I had not seen – in a deep way – the utter dysfunction that lies beneath the surface of the patriarchal stories.

The whole barrenness/fertility thing. The whole idea that if God favors it, God would open your womb (which is the standard greeting in “The Handmaid’s Tale” – “May God open … ”)

The whole “your wife is infertile, so use the help” thing.

In biblical times, it was legitimate to use a handmaid as a surrogate mother, particularly if the wife was infertile.

Sometimes, Genesis is clear about the pain and humiliation that this system could produce.

Sarah was angry and threatened by the presence of the nubile Hagar, pregnant with her husband’s child.

Out Hagar goes – not once, but twice.

The second time, with the kid, Ishmael.

But, sometimes the Bible is a little bit more reticent about how the participants in this domestic drama must have felt.

For example: The handmaids Bilhah and Zilpah bear children for the matriarchs Leah and Rachel.

Any word – in the Bible, midrash and classic commentaries — about how Bilhah and Zilpah must have felt about that arrangement?

If there is any, I haven’t seen it.

And, as for any shoutout to Bilhah and Zilpah in the prayer that mentions the matriarchs — zilch, or in Hebrew “efes.”

Another example: When Pharaoh’s daughter finds and adopts the infant Moses, she hires Yocheved, the biological mother of Moses, to nurse the foundling.

Anything in classical Jewish literature about how Yocheved felt at having her child torn away from her — on a daily basis?

I would welcome such comments. It would make the whole thing seem much more real.

Some years ago, Phyllis Trible wrote “Texts of Terror,” about certain biblical stories, in which women are the victims of abuse and violence.

But, really, almost every story about a biblical woman – with notable, laudable exceptions – is a text of terror.

Ever pay close attention to the reading of Esther during the raucous holiday of Purim?

It’s about how a jackass of a king, Ahasuerus, basically sexually abuses one wife, Vashti, throws her out of the palace (whatever happens to her?) and then takes a Jewish woman into his harem.

Yeah, yeah, I know what you are saying: You have to put these stories into their ancient Middle Eastern context.

I have been doing that for decades. I have read the most authoritative books by the world’s most erudite biblical scholars.

And yet, what did it take to finally open my eyes to the violence that has always existed in the white spaces between the black letters of the Torah scroll?

Right. A show on Hulu.

Because, only when I saw how the Genesis stories would translate into our time, or the near future, did I really get it.

Remember that old commercial for Mennen Skin Bracer, in which the (much younger) John Goodman says: “Thanks. I needed that.”

Sometimes, you need a textual slap in the face – to see what was there all along.

This is precisely why we need feminist biblical criticism, new commentaries, new midrashim, new ways of viewing the texts.

Perhaps the entire purpose of these stories is to warn us that this is not the way, that if you put pain into a family system, it can only resurface over the centuries.

Perhaps these stories really are the primal trauma of the Jewish people.

Which is precisely why you need to see “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

It’s about us — and about the stories we tell.

(Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin is the spiritual leader of Temple Solel in Hollywood, Fla. He writes the “Martini Judaism” column for RNS)

About the author

Jeffrey Salkin

Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin is the spiritual leader of Temple Solel in Hollywood, Fla., and the author of numerous books on Jewish spirituality and ethics, published by Jewish Lights Publishing and Jewish Publication Society.

149 Comments

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  • A rather windy commentary. Mr. Salkin fails to note the case of Lot’s daughters who conspired to gain offspring through their father by getting him insensible with wine. And we all know what the long term consequences of that plan was. Lot’s fault of course. Please, the capacity to oppress and abuse is not limited to the male of the species. Not within the context of the bible, or anywhere else.

  • Edward Borges-Silva: Please note that the article wasn’t about how men are bad actors (just like women). It was was about how contemporary religious culture seems to overlook the abuse of women in the Bible.

  • I thought the Hebrew word used for Hagar was the same as the one used for Sarah, that word meaning wife, not handmaiden. I could be wrong. But please clarify.

  • The Hebrew uses both words. For example, Gen. 16:3 states that Sarai gave Hagar, her “shifchatah,” literally her slave girl, but handmaiden would work also, to Abram “l’isha,” literally as “a woman,” but meaning as a wife.

  • Perhaps if the writer was a woman he would have noticed what was going on with the women of the bible.
    Only in knowing the proverbial “rest of the story” is one able to make sense of why God chose such methods. I am not a biblical scholar but many of the Torah moments point to the Christian New Testement birth of the messiah and how we must persever and have faith. Had Sarah and Abraham kept the faith there wouldn’t have been a Hagar. Of course then we get into God knowing that was the choice they would make and he uses that to create an entire line of people who are a part of his master plan. He is the alpha and omega and has the advantage of already binge-watching the human story from the pre-sequel to the post-sequel. We have not yet reached the end of the story or should one say the new beginning. Once we reach that point I suspect it will all become clear.

  • As a female scholar with a PhD in Biblical Studies, it is good to hear that a scholar of your calibre is just now realizing these things. But it’s also a sad indictment of the guild. It should not be that mature, brillian, well published scholars have to figure this out so late in life–and from a television show!

    For too long the guild has blithely accepted the ideological claim that male European clerics have some sort of privileged status in interpreting the Bible. For too long, gender- and race-critical hermeneutics of the Bible have been considered “niche” disciplines, when fully 50% of our entire population is female, and when we add the perspectives of people of color, the population who do not share male European clerics’ hermeneutics shoots up into a large majority! Yet our perspectives continue to be marginalized and dismissed as not necessary to a high quality education in Biblical Studies. This is a travesty and a shame.

    I encourage that you read not only Trible (whose book is over 30 years old now) but also Tikvah Frymer-Kensky (may her memory be blessed), Athalya Brenner, Tal Ilan, Amy-Jill Levine, Pam Eisenbaum, Paula Fredriksen, and Charlotte Fonrobert (to name just a few contemporary Jewish biblical or mishnaic scholars of gender). After that, may you advocate that our universities, yeshivas, and seminaries begin to recognize the logical fallacy that undergirds all their work–the fallacy that a guild dominated by white male European clerics has some sort of privileged access to universally valid interpretations.

  • Thank you. The story of God as written in the Old and New Testaments is with rare, rare exception a story told by men from a male viewpoint of the God creator who made both men and women in Her image.

    Yes, The Handmaid’s Tale is a view from a woman’s side of what that history looks like, an awareness that the attitude portrayed is still held to equal or lesser degree in the eyes of many men, and the fear that it will all come back.

    The remake of The Handmaid’s Tale into a television series at this time is important when someone like Trump can be elected to lead this nation. Lets hope it is not prophetic.

  • The fact that you read these stories for decades as a “scholar’ and did not get this is utterly astonishing!

  • Because to Dominionists (“Take Back America and Re-Estabilsh the CHRISTIAN Nation God Meant It To Be!”), it IS.

  • Trump is just a rich A-hole.

    It’s Pence and Cruz whom I can all too easily see as Supreme Commanders of Holy Gilead. “GOD WILLS IT!”

  • And remember (along with Joseph Smith et al), Semitic tribal patriarchs WERE harem-polygamous. It was a sign of wealth and status.

  • Perhaps if the writer was a woman he would have noticed what was going on with the women of the bible.

    Several spiritual abuse watchblogs such as Wartburg Watch and Spiritual Sounding Board extensively cover the “Complementarian” (Biblical Patriarchy) movement among the Born-Again Establishment. The two blogs mentioned are run by women, and I suspect a lot of the others also are.

  • Whats your take on Richard Elliott Friedman’s idea, Set forth in “The Hidden Book in the Bible” that there is a specific source that records a lot of the family drama and that it may have had a woman as author?

  • “Translate into our time”…what an interesting comment considering that the causes in drop in fertility rates in the West hasn’t been from poisoning of the physical environment but through HPD, abortion and materialism. Do those sound like tenets of right wing fundamentalism?
    In Russia, the population crash is happening through AIDS, Alcoholism and Abortion. Caused by poverty and nihilism/hopelessness.

  • Ironic, considering that one of the biggest demographic to use ‘handmaidens’ in the West are gay couples.

  • What are they implying here? That women’s status was better in the Pagan societies around them? That the biblical view of women is inferior to the way the ancient Romans treated women?

  • Ironic even more is that no one is being forced to be a handmaiden by gay couples, there are no punishments for not being a handmaiden, there is no theocratic justification for forcing a woman to do anything by gay men…

    As opposed to holy heterosexuality assuming dominion over people’s lives.

  • Or how bout the drop in fertility rates because of not needing so many children, the difficulties and expenses of raising children instead of materialism,

  • Maybe not the Romans. They were huge misogynists. But the pagan Celts, Gauls, and Viking societies afforded much more respect, freedom, and legal recourse for women than “biblical societies.”

  • Ben. You’re being grossly naive if you think that every woman who rents her womb is a cheerful volunteer who is under no financial need.
    It’s a basic law of economics that industry is driven by need. And where greed is, any given industry even perpetuates the need.

  • “Yeah, yeah, I know what you are saying: you have to put these stories into their ancient Middle Eastern context. I have been doing that for decades. I have read the most authoritative books by the world’s most erudite biblical scholars. And yet, what did it take — to finally open my eyes to the violence that has always existed in the white spaces between the black letters of the Torah scroll?”

    Mr. Salkin, I find your surprise at not really getting what the Bible is about– not just the Torah, but the whole bloody mess (literally!)– to be a huge surprise. What about it is not so obvious? A record of wars, murders, punishments, betrayals, incest, rape, murder, and destruction. Not surprising, given the times and the peoples they were writing about. That WAS the ancient world.

    About “god”: he was no better with pharoah and the Egyptians than anyone in the ancient world. How many times are we told that “god hardened pharoah’s heart”? And each time he did so, the plagues were worse. Did the first born sons of Egypt deserve to die because god hardened pharoah’s heart? I remember raising my hand in Religious School after our teacher explained why god did it. “But that’s not FAIR!” I said. The teacher told me we were not to question god’s will. Rabbi, this is one of the two reasons I gave up on Judaism after my bar mitzvah. Even at 13, I could see that our god had the morals of a congressman.

    Compared to the Old Testament, the New Testament is a model of restraint. There, only one innocent person was tortured and murdered– well, apart from the martyrs nad such. But the basic message is still there: “I’m god. You’re not. Believe what I tell you or burn in hell. PS I love you!” Though I nearly became a Christian nearly 50 years ago, it was John 3:16 that stopped me, and for the same reason: “that’s not FAIR.”

    You mention the handmaidens of the OT. What about the multitudes who died in the flood, including the little babies who couldn’t have sinned even if they wanted to? How did their mothers, who never heard of Yahweh, feel about it as the rising waters ripped their children out of their arms? WE’ll never know. But we can be pretty sure that people have never seen the white spaces in between the black letters of THAT gem.

    Rob Bell had this to say a few years ago: “… you have to come face to face with some of the ways we’ve talked about God, which don’t actually shape people into more loving, compassionate people. And we have supported policies and ways of viewing the world that are actually destructive. And we’ve done it in the name of god and we need to repent.”

    But, aside from being exactly my point, it is rather aside from my point as well. That was an entirely, completely different world than the one we live in now. Whatever the message of god delivered to that world, it was intended for a world 2000-3000 years, and a universe in thought, language, culture, morals, knowledge, humanity, and even faith away from ours. And that’s why we can enjoy a bacon sandwich or a shrimp cocktail, And yet people say that that message to that world is forever valid, forever applicable even down to the present day. Except for that bacon sandwich or shrimp cocktail.

    No it’s not applicable any more, despite the contention that our world is in many ways no better, if not absolutely worse than that world of millennia ago. In some ways it’s right, in some ways it’s not. The worst hasn’t gotten any worse, though the means of inflicting itself on innocents has moved from retail to wholesale, and the better has gotten quite a bit better.

    But to pretend that this book is a guide to the modern world in any sense merely puts the worst that this world has into the position of saying, “this is what god wants.” In short, as in Gilead, god gets used to justify what cannot be justified by any other means.

  • If I were you, I would qualify your response from not needing children to not wanting children. Also, since when has it ever been cheap or easy to raise children?
    Again, I would say that you’re being naive if you think that materialism and desire for an easy life plays no part in any couple who chooses not to have children in the West.

  • Katie. I was referring to Mesopotamian societies which surrounded the Abramic religion. But you can still give me examples of How Nordic religions of biblical times treated their women better than the Jews did.

  • I don’t blame his scholarship, I blame the millennia of whitewashing the horrors throughout the scriptures, which is part of scriptural privilege, and is used to support male privilege. I offer my deepest congratulations in his realization – that’s a lot more than many people can do, even after a whole lifetime.

  • In other words, “The Handmaid’s Tale” is simply … oh wait a minute, Canadian author Dr. Michael Wagner, has already called it:

    The Handmaid’s Tale is a deliberate and malicious attack on the Christian Right. It serves a political purpose, namely, creating an irrational fear of the Christian Right, and thereby strengthening the opposition to conservative Christian involvement in social and political issues.”

    “(Margaret) Atwood goes to such lengths to smear the Christian Right, that she represents this movement as willing to reverse many of its key tenets upon achieving power. Imagine conservative Christian activists supporting infanticide, euthanasia, prostitution, and removing the Bible from public access!
    This is the picture presented by Atwood.”
    — book review, Chalcedon, 2012.

  • The fear of the Christian Right is hardly irrational.

    In fact, I would highly recommend it, given that they have no problem identifying with the Far Right, and have few of the morals they claim for themselves, but are willing to inflict on others in their never ending quest for power, money, and dominion.

  • You didn’t engage the keyword — “irrational fear of the Christian right.”

    (Which is why Hillary wiped out last year. Too many rational Americans.)

  • It’s an intriguing thesis. There are a lot of narratives that definitely can send a message of subversion against the power of the priests. That supports his claim.

  • Funny how it feels like a recounting of the fundamentalism I grew up in and the cult I spent time in during college.

  • You know what Ben? If Rabbi Salkin is going to base his view of Genesis from a freaked-out, Alt-Left, political screed like “The Handmaid’s Tale”, I recommend that he also accept YOUR post, and just ditch his Hebrew Bible (and his Judaism) entirely. Adopt atheism, yes.

    For when you cross-pollinate Margaret Atwood, Rob Bell, skeptic-scholars, and Internet-Infidels-Gone-Wild, the resulting Hydrogen Cyanide mixture is such that there’s no use trying to retain any Hebrew Bible or even any Judaism. Atheism becomes the most HONEST course of action. So let’s just drink ALL the Kool-Aid (with apologies to the Kool-Aid).

    Now as a Christian, I know the Bible is fully, rationally supportable and defensible AS IS. For example, the precise, provable New Testament reason for Christians “eating a bacon sandwich”, is because Christ, the Son of God, fulfilled the dietary laws of the Hebrew Bible. NOT because we somehow outgrew God’s message via our own sorry “knowledge” and “humanity.”

  • “there’s no use trying to retain any Hebrew Bible or even any Judaism at all. Atheism becomes the most HONEST course of action.

    You said it.

    Not me.

  • No retractions here. If you drink some of the Kool-Aid, then go drink ALL the Kool-Aid. If it worked for the late Jim Jones, it’ll work equally good for us all.

  • I absolutely know they do it because of economic necessity. It is worlds more lucrative, safe, and sane than say, prostitution, or indeed, most of the alternatives offered to poor women in third world countries.

    For myself, I believe that there are far too many children in the world right now who need a home. I’m against surrogacy for anyone, gay or straight, for that reason. But I am also against laws which forbid surrogacy, and which restrict adoption from gay people who wish to adopt.

    Unfortunately, there are far too many so-called Christians who would rather see a child in an institution than wanted.

  • Ok so we both agree that many women are pressured, at least financially into becoming ‘handmaidens’ for the rich, through corporate interests. And it’s really happening in real life, not in a novel. And it’s exploitive, safe or not. So I guess what I’m asking you and the author is how does it square with Margaret Atwood’s rightwing fundamentalist bogeyman when it’s the so called progressives who are powering this, either by active or silent consent?

  • Speaking of the way women are treated, if you live in the Pacific North West, The Village Church in Surrey BC is hosting their annual golf tournament. This year’s goal is to raise 500k to help build a Women’s Hospital in Mosul Iraq, specifically to serve women who have been victimized by ISIS.
    If you’re willing to put your $ where your mouth is, please donate.

    http://www.thisisvillagechurch.com/golf/

  • Margaret Atwood grew up with the story of ‘Half-Hanged Mary’ – she never knew if it was true or not – but Mary was an aunt who, family legend had it, survived being hanged as a witch in Salem. So, the idea of extreme Christian beliefs was part of her sense of family history. (There is a published poem about Mary). Perhaps her studies at Harvard on Puritanism also were an influence. However while Phlyiss Schlaffly and Tammy Faye Messner likely inspired the characters of Aunt Lydia and Serena Joy, she also took note of the treatment of women in Iran and Afghanistan, the obsession of Romania’s Nicolae Ceausecu to increase the birth rate and the murder of dissidents by the government in the Philiphines.

    However, I think I would be more inclined to go with Atwood as to what she says she was writing about in 1985 rather than Wagner.

  • Population crashes are offset by immigration. Fertility drops when people marry later and keep family sizes down to manageable levels.

    Every developed country is doing immigration whether they have developed policies for it or not. Even Russia.

  • Very good point. So how does your comment square with Atwood’s spectre of right wing fundamentalism vs the factors which are driving the surrogacy industry in real life?

  • You are making a link to surrogacy which Atwood was not intending in her work, nor really borne out. Surrogates are still volunteers. They are not captives. It’s not surrogacy in the novel, it’s concubinage.

    But the novel does bring up notions of the religious right of considering women chattel property. It is seen from their comodification of virginity, to opposition of female autonomy, to rigid enforcement of female subservient social roles.

  • Forgive me for being blunt but when a woman rents out her womb out of financial need, isn’t that a form of gender specific oppression as well?

  • Can you also give me an example of ‘rigid social roles’ being enforced among right wing fundamentalists?

  • Even better, author is a stretch in terms of ability to offer criticism of a novel winning 4 awards – two of which were for the genre of science fiction/fantasy. While anyone can write a review, the reviewer also has strong biases in his read of it twenty-five years later. “Dr. Michael Wagner is the author of the Christian Citizenship Guide and Standing on Guard for Thee: The Past, Present and Future of Canada’s Christian Right. He has a PhD in Political Science from the University of Alberta and lives in Edmonton with his wife and eleven children.” (The eleven kids has a delicious irony to it.)

  • ” This is precisely why we need feminist biblical criticism, new commentaries, new midrashim, new ways of viewing the texts.”
    Bullsh-t !
    Your commentaries over the decades, Salkin, have done too much damage already.
    We need to preface your ” texts ” with a warning:
    ” Reading this book may be dangerous to your health “.

  • I am just flabbergasted that you could read and teach and study genesis for 4 decades and somehow not notice the mysogyny and dysfunction underlying the stories of women like Hagar and Eve. I picked that up on my first real read through when I was maybe 13. I was asking my Sunday school teacher about similar issues I had with the Eve story when I was maybe 8 and it was obvious to me then that she hadn’t given it much thought.
    Here’s a few more things I see in there. Lot was not a model parent, in fact he was pretty bad at it. Moses’ soldiers slaughtered noncombatant women and children, and took young girls as sex slaves – on his orders! If Abraham had access to modern mental health services, Isaac’s therapist wouldn’t be sitting there with his mouth open in disbelief.

  • I find it difficult to believe that a man too drunk to recognize his own daughters would be physically capable of having sex with anybody, let alone two people.
    I think the whole thing is fiction, but if we pretend it isn’t, then the more likely story is that Lot was perfectly aware of what he was doing but blamed them after the fact. We’d already seen that he was willing to throw them to an angry crowd of men to “do with as they please”.

  • The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) calls it “gender complementarianism”. In their view, husbands and wives are supposed to be equal in worth, and yet different in role. They push the notion that men and women are supposed to have very strict, immutable and God-sanctioned “gender roles”; some of these self-appointed gurus even extrapolate these roles outside the domains of marriage and church, and into the professional sphere.

    I see it as nothing but hogwash, and a means of silencing women and depriving them of voice and agency over their own lives.

  • The word rigid, is that your description? What do you see as rigid social roles’ and how are theirs less beneficial than your opinion of how men and women are supposed to relate to each other?

  • Atwood’s Gilead is certainly NOT what the Bible would
    consider a theocratic society; for one thing the Bible is opposed to
    dictatorship. That is why there were elders, priests, judges, kings and cities
    of refuge in ancient Israel;
    they were instituted to protect the people. The “right-wing fundamentalists” of
    Atwood’s book are not Christians; they are not those who follow the moral
    system of the Bible. They are Atwood’s caricatures, who actually mirror what
    “left-wing fundamentalists” would do if they were in control. Just look at
    Marxist nations like last century’s USSR,
    China, Cuba, etc., or anti-Christian nations like North Korea and Hitler’s Germany. Who do
    you think was behind the eugenics movement and the sterilization movement in
    the 1900s? It was left-wing fundamentalists who, using “survival of the
    fittest” and Marxist ideology, decided they would create a society where the
    poor, the uneducated, and the marginalized would be removed. The Handmaid’s
    Tale attempts to be anti-Bible and anti-God, but what it has inadvertently done
    is show what a society would be like if atheism and left-wing fundamentalism
    were to take over.

  • So many rightwing shibboleths, so many fantasies. So few facts.

    Hitler’s Germany was a Christian nation before Hitler, it was a Christian nation during Hitler, and it was a Christian nation after Hitler, as it is right now.

  • The very statement “how men and women are supposed to relate to each other” is indicative of a rigidity. Gender complementariansim is a set of assumptions, beginnning with the idea that all people with a penis have a particular set of attributes, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and God ordained, and that all people with a vagina are likewise so structured.

    The two are supposed to fit together in some mystical way just like– surprise– a penis and a vagina.

    It’s total nonsense. Men are not all alike. Women are not all alike. They relate to each other however they relate to each other as individuals, not as a mass of people. Just as men relate to each other, just as they women relate to each other, just as they relate to children, or their families.

  • There is the frequent call to “submit to your husband”, encouraging marriage and children as young as possible.

    Women are not expected to seek higher education and careers. It takes time away from raising as many babies as possible.

    There aren’t a whole lot of women in leadership roles in fundamentalist organizations even those which aren’t outright churches.

    The comodification of young female virginity is a fairly rigid and purely gender specific societal more.

    Atwood brought up a lot of unpleasantness in that group that turns out to be less exaggerated than even she knew.

  • Rent implies a transaction done by ones own accord. Like the difference between a prostitute and a rape victim. Both are having relations they would rather not be doing. Only one has done measure of say in the matter.

    Atwood makes it clear, the handmaids have zero say in the matter. A surrogate, even one outside the US, volunteers.

  • Which subject is also covered on several spiritual abuse watchblogs such as The Wartburg Watch and Spiritual Sounding Board. Blowing whistles and shining lights on those who would be Commanders of Holy Gilead for real.

  • Ok then how about if I restate what I said to, ‘Is it still not gender specific oppression when a woman is forced out of economic straits to rent out her womb?’

  • So I did I ask you this? How does the religious right enforce female subservient roles? And who is to say which roles are subservient?

  • An interesting point. Of course, misogynistic or not, Lot was hardly a poster child for godliness, as was evidenced by every account of his choices and his behavior, not to mention his parenting skills. But the point of the commentary by the author was the misogynistic nature of Genesis and the balance of the Torah, yet there are telling examples of wicked women and virtuous ones as well in the texts, quite apart from the actions of men.

  • To begin with, let’s take this statement, “The two are supposed to fit together in some mystical way just like– surprise– a penis and a vagina.”
    So we both agree that the penis and vagina are biologically designed to couple together.
    And it’s no ‘surprise!’ It’s basic biology. That extends to the way men and women’s brains are wired as well. And far, science has identified a number of factors on what affects the wiring.
    If you and I were to hang around Times Square long enough, watching the tide of humanity go by, sooner or later, we’ll spot a two headed man. Upon talking to him and getting to know him, we realize that he’s no freak or monster but a fellow human just like the rest of us. And he’s suffered because of his difference, Oh, he’s suffered! But it would be total nonsense to conclude therefore that there are different shades of humanity where there are one headed people in one end of the human spectrum and two headed people on the other and any number of fluid variations in between.
    It’s the same nonsense with gender fluidity.
    If we did the same thing, we’ll see come across all shades of people in a gender sense, some will obviously be boys. Others will still be boys but their gait will have a feminine gait for any number of reasons. Other men will wear a suit and tie but will have mascara. Still others will be men but wear a dress, and so on until we will meet a someone who is actually – biologically a male but thinks and has been surgically altered to look like a woman, and is a nice person. But it would just as nonsensical to ignore the fact that the differences in the spectrum between the male-ness and the female-ness in the men we’ve met have been artificial 99.99% of the time. That remaining .01% doesn’t justify or should normalize the current popularity of Gender Fluidity any more than promoting Two-Headedness based on .001% of the population living with two heads.

    Do you see where I’m going with this?

  • The people on the receiving end of the subservient role are the best gauge of it. Especially since such roles are imposed upon them. 🙂

  • Not so much on the oppression part. People aren’t forced to act under economic straits in the same way as coercion. If you take a job you don’t like, are you in the same situation as someone who is a slave? No. You have a degree of agency in your actions which the slave does not.

  • I see where you went, but don’t agree that you are going anywhere. It’s all about the penis and the vagina for you. wonderful. Live your life that way. But you are assuming that someone “designed” it just that way, and that is the only way.

    But it is not true for me. And that’s we agree that the 99.9% of the other differences simply don’t matter, being artificial.

    If you want to reproduce, and truly believe that that is all that matters, have at it. But if you make the argument you just made, all you are saying is the a large percentage of people fit a certain profile “x”, but that a lot– and far more than .1%– don’t. Exclusively Gay people, for example, like myself, comprise some 4% of the population. But that doesn’t make the heterosexuality of 96% of the population normal, let alone “right”. It just makes it common. And exclusive heterosexuality is far less common than some people apparently need to believe.

    There is enough evidence from the warm blooded animal kingdom that this is the case nowhere in nature, at least among the warm blooded. Complementarianism, like all of the rest of the natural law nonsense of the Catholic Church, is just a fancy way of saying “it seems right to me.” At its extreme, and it usually is, it’s just another assertion that some people speak for god, and have the right to determine the course of the lives of others, and that is just another way of saying “do what I say, or I’ll hurt you..”

  • Don’t assume I’m right-wing because I criticize left-wing fundamentalism. I’ve been a Democrat all my life, but I am open-minded enough to be able to rightly criticize any ideological error regardless of if it’s from the right or left. Your comment about Germany being a Christian nation is historically incorrect. Germany began to reject Christianity several decades before the First World War when it began to accept Darwinism and Spencer’s idea of survival of the fittest. Germans began rejecting Christianity so that they could enhance the eugenics program. Hitler was a pagan and not a Christian, as were his close followers. Were there Christians who sided with Hitler’s political views? Sadly, yes. But they did so by rejecting the moral code that is firmly established in Christianity—love,
    joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

  • good response. So how many christian fundamentalist women do you know and how well? As a matter of fact, do you know any really committed Christians who you can see are trying to live out their faith? Or have you been alluding to Muslim fundamentalists all this time?

  • I’m much the same as you when it comes to rejecting ideology.

    But your comment about Germany rejecting Christianity is nonsensical historical revisionism, and the attack on evolution is simply more nonsense. Hitler himself identified Nazism as a Christian movement. The very belt buckles of the German Army were inscribed with “Gott Mit Uns.”

  • Have you checked out the various Patheos sites? Plenty of them have ongoing blogs concerning their personal experiences in such groups.

    “Trying to live out ones faith” is a phrase pregnant with meaning beyond the obvious. I have yet to see apologists for religious fundamentalism of any stripe who were entirely honest in their arguments. Denial is a cheap form of argument.

  • Speaking as someone who essentially grew up in a complementarian environment, “rigid” is quite an accurate descriptor. Guys who cooked or helped with housework were mocked—as were the women who “let” them. Women were to chat about life and marriage and kids; discussing theology was a male thing, and a woman who sought to do so was actively dissuaded or silenced.

    My gender was often cited as reason to ignore me…about stuff like syntax and word usage. Even though they knew I’m a line editor (which means syntax and word usage is my specialty), and even when they asked for my opinion and I pointed to evidence. But if a guy—especially a married guy—said the exact same thing I did, he was heeded.

    The strict dichotomy between male vs. female is also biologically false. XY females exist, as do many other divisions to the point that at least 1 in 2000 people is not a strict gender. (This is the lowest estimate.)

    When the intersex condition is externally visible, gender is often assigned, and I’ve seen allegations of it being done without parental knowledge or consent. One known problem with that assignment is that the doctors have to guess which gender the child will end up, and puberty can have unexpected results.

    Even if you assume that doctors get it right half the time, the numbers are such that it could explain a lot of gender dysphoria. The rest could be explained by a mix of false gender divisions (ex. “I’m a guy who likes makeup and high heels, so I must really be a girl even though both have much precedent of being for guys, too”) or relatives who insist on treating the child as if they’re the opposite gender. (I’ve personally known people to whom this happened. Seems to be a grandparent/grandchild thing, from the examples I’ve seen.)

    Exceptions don’t prove rules. They just prove that the rule is a poorly phrased generalization fallacy or is outright invalid or false.

  • but do you really even have one friend who is a sincere Christian? Have you ever gotten acquainted with with a Christian fundamentalist woman on a face-face basis instead of reading something about someone online?

  • If you are going to take this tack with me, it is best I simply direct you where to look for this stuff.

    By your argument, as a Christian fundamentalist male you are unable to discuss the issue with any certainty since you would lack first hand knowledge of what it is like to be female in such a culture. But I am trying to be polite here.

    Knock yourself out. Have fun
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/survivor-blogs

  • Tact? What’s there to be rude about here? There’s no need to get suspicious. I thought it was a pretty coomon sense question…

  • But you didn’t answer my question. Do you know even one Christian fundamentalist woman on a non online basis?

  • …well neither of us live in the old testament times, surrounded by the Hittite Cannanite culture so whatever makes your opinion any better than mine?

  • Remind me of that the next time someone cites Genesis and Leviticus as to why certain classes of people should be treated in a hostile fashion.

    “so whatever makes your opinion any better than mine?”

    Because aside from a ham handed effort to equate surrogacy with concubinage and sexual slavery, you haven’t actually offered an opinion. Simply questioned mine.

  • Not going to. It’s fairly rude in its intent and implications. Besides its an online discussion. Any statement concerning ones personal life and relations are not inherently credible. If I told you I know many, you would not believe me anyway. Besides, it is far more useful to direct the readers to online accounts and stories.

    So for the sake of counter-trolling I will say I know many such women and they all agree with my assessment.

  • Anytime someone claims some moral high ground over other people like you have over RWCFs it gives others the right to question your reasoning. It’s just a fact of life. Ok. So you hold to these views. How’s it working for you anyway?

  • I guess you haven’t been made aware that discussion over the terms submit and the phrase ‘submit to each other’ has been going on for decades in the Christian community. Not just in the fundamentalist groups. Drawing your attention to the Charismatic or Pentecostal groups. They are deeply routed among the fundamentalist groups yet they have women preachers.
    And also about valuing virginity, are you stigmatizing virgins now?
    Are you implying that one can’t be a virgin and a feminist?
    Who’s likely in our hypersexualized culture to be exploited? A woman who believes in the culture norms of the sexual revolution or a woman who values her virginity and self restraint?
    But I guess you can’t bring yourself to answer this question either…

  • Whatever. Your line of argument makes it easy to claim moral high ground. You are largely trolling.

    By all means pretend Atwood was making up things entirely on her own whole cloth and that Fundies are being unjustly maligned. Denial games do so much for one’s credibility here. 🙂

  • I’m just pointing out the incongruity between the villains in Atwood’s narrative and the real life villains who are exploiting and oppressing women. Sorry if you can’t take it.

  • Not a far stretch from what is going on in Russia. Russian men are mostly infertile as a result of their drinking and rampant homosexuality ( not that there is anything wrong with that). Russian women are bedding virile Ukrainian men to repopulate. It will take a generation but eventually Russia will not be a terrorist nation.

  • Not at all. You are not saying anything of note about women being oppressed. If anything you are trying to deflect from a major source of such attitudes. Traditional religious culture.

    You have been pretty passive aggressive about it. Don’t care anymore. We have gotten off topic and now you just want to discuss attitudes or what you said rather than contribute to a conversation.

    Check out the sites I linked to previously. Or not. Whatever.

  • Ok so what was so hard or invasive about that? So you know women who are Right Wing, Conservative and fundamentalist in their religion. And you say that they are taking blame that their sub group is largely responsible for the way women are mistreated in the world today?

  • Instead of wasting your time, if you really care about the plight of women today and in real life that is, why don’t you put your $ where your mouth is and support groups who are actually making a differnce, like this http://plancanada.ca/sponsoragirl

  • Instead of wasting my time talking to you. I am glad someone acknowledged the pointless nature of the conversation. 🙂

  • Well I am telling you that I do. You may believe it or not. Whatever. This is an online discussion. Such assertions don’t have much meaning here.

    “And you say that they are taking blame that their sub group is largely responsible for the way women are mistreated in the world today?”

    Did I? I don’t believe I did, nor said anything which could be construed in such a way.

  • It’s just that it would be a real tragedy IF, at the end of your life, you found out that the people that you despised and hated turned out to have helped more women than you ever did with your gender theories and pontification. I mean IF.

  • You mistake criticism for hate. I take a Hippocratic approach to religion.

    It’s best when people “Do no harm”. 🙂

  • “They are not captives. It’s not surrogacy in the novel, it’s concubinage.” Denial is a cheap form of argument. it’s still exploitation.

  • Either that or you’ve gotten to a point where you can’t tell the difference anymore between criticism and expressions of hatred. How’d it go now?, “Remind me not to be so polite the next time…” “I…people who…Levitical laws…” Did you delete those threads?

  • In all this, I’ve been forgetting to ask you. Do you think Jesus would agree with your assessment of RWFCs and your opinion on their impact on the way women are treated in the world today?

  • If you work at a job you dislike out if necessity are you the same as slave labor? Of course not. False equivalence here.

  • Being forced to rent your womb out for whatever reason is commdification of womanhood. Its degrading and denial of that is serving the Empire.

  • Why does the concept of economic coercion and commodification of motherhood elude you?

  • People impute to Jesus whatever self serving opinions they want. Moreso when they want to justify malicious or anti social behavior and want to duck personal responsibility.

    Given the tenor or your statement, my suggestion is to ask Jesus the next time you see him. Atwood has a handle on certain elements of it. Which is what makes you so uncomfortable here.

  • Heheh…Or maybe what’s making you uncomfortable is me criticising Atwood’s RWFC bogyman narrative and redirecting attention to the real life villains doing real harm… what’s your stake in this anyway? It’s not as if good old Margaret is going to cut you a cheque from the TV royalties.

  • Not at all. Because you aren’t doing that.

    Nobody wants to consider they might be the bad guys in another’s narrative. Think of how films Little Big Man or Soldier Blue took the traditional Hollywood cavalry from westerns (typical representation of both American power and white racial dominance) and turned them into murderous villains.

    My stake is a pathological inability to walk away from a conversation. 🙂

    Plus Atwood’s book is a modern political SF classic.

  • I will say this, the movie impressed me in the early 90’s. Natasha Richardson’s best role. Plus I had a crush on Elizabeth McGovern back then. (See also Ragtime, A Shock to System) She played an interesting supporting role

  • Sorry to keep you waiting, Robbert. Still getting accustomed to my new work schedule.

    What do you see as ‘rigid social roles’…?

    A few examples from John Piper:

    “And it would be hard for me to see how a woman could be a drill sergeant — hut two, right face, left face, keep your mouth shut, private — over men without violating their sense of manhood and her sense of womanhood.”

    “…suppose a man with a knife jumped out of the bushes and threatened you. And suppose Jason knows that Sarah has a black belt in karate and could probably disarm the assailant better than he could. Should he step back and tell her to do it? No. He should step in front of her and be ready to lay down his life to protect her, irrespective of competency. It is written on his soul. That is what manhood does.”

    And perhaps the most execrable of all:

    “If this man, for example, is calling her to engage in abusive acts willingly – group sex, or something really weird, bizarre, harmful, that clearly would be sin. She’s going to say, however, something like, “Honey, I want so much to follow you as my leader. I think God calls me to do that, and I would love to do that. It would be sweet to me if I could enjoy your leadership.” And so – then she would say – “But if you would ask me to do this, require this of me, then I can’t – I can’t go there.”

    Now that’s one kind of situation. Just a word on the other kind. If it’s not requiring her to sin, but simply hurting her, then I think she endures verbal abuse for a season, she endures perhaps being smacked one night, and then she seeks help from the church.”

    …how are theirs less beneficial than your opinion of how men and women are supposed to relate to each other?

    You mean, as people equally made in God’s image, with respect for the intelligence, abilities and gifts of each individual? Do you really need to ask how that’s less beneficial than the bizarre and dangerous nonsense outlined above?

  • And also about valuing virginity, are you stigmatizing virgins now?

    Oh, please. Adult virgins might face ridicule and social embarrassment, but they’re not stigmatized. When young folks are disowned by their own families, kicked out of their homes, and denied jobs and rental housing simply for being virgins, then you can talk about stigmatization. Not before.

    And Spuddie is talking about much more than simply “valuing” virginity. In purity culture, this aspect of a young person’s life is elevated to almost idolatrous proportions. As though a woman’s worth is entirely wrapped up in her virginity, and as though she has no value as a human being if she’s been “defiled”. And that’s of no comfort at all to anyone who’s been raped or molested.

  • Spuddie doesn’t have to know any Christian women personally to have an opinion on this. No one has to. I’ve read plenty of stories of women escaping from harmful relationships in fundamentalist communities, and they horrify me.

    The experience of Dr. Ruth Tucker is especially illuminating.

  • Way off. When you mischaracterize and create straw men it weakens your argument considerably. Esther was not part of a ‘harem’. She was the queen. The text never mentions her sleeping with the king. In fact, the big issue near the end was she that hadn’t even been summoned into his presence in 30 days and she was hesitant to go in the throne room uninvited because the king could execute anyone who entered the throne room uninvited.

    Nothing in the text says Vashti was sexually abused by the king. Did you feel the need to just make that up? Vashti was actually pretty strong-willed. The king said go get my beautiful wife so I can show her off. She said, let me think about that. No. And he couldn’t make her do it. The text implies she had her own palace where she was hosting a banquet for women, and that for not saying ‘how high?’ when the king said jump she was simply not allowed to come before the king again. I think she was totally fine with that. You get the sense that she was unusually strong willed if you read it. The king and all his advisers were shook up by her giving them the palm and flat out embarrassing him in front of his entire crew. They didn’t know what to do, let’s make new laws, get a new queen, we have to do something! But you know what option was never put on the table? Doing anything to Vashti other than replace her as queen. No one touched her. You get the sense that she knows what she’s doing and is going to do what she does.

    Hagar sleeping with Abram was Sarai’s idea. We’re told that that Hagar was pretty upset about this and after she gave birth Sarai was pretty upset too. But in the text God is watching over Hagar. After Sarai starts mistreating her Hagar runs away. God tells her go back and gives her a promise almost similar to what he promised Abram – that Hagar’s son would grow up as the first of a great nation.

    When Isaac is born Abraham clearly loves both of his sons, but Sarah tells him to send away Hagar and her son Ishmael. Abraham is sad to hear this idea, but what does God say? Literally, listen to your wife and do what she says. Because, you know, nothing makes clear the point of male domination like the phrase ‘listen to your wife and do what she says.’ Dominance.

    Yeah, the story is soooo male dominated. Except Abraham takes hardly any initiative at all, the whole show is run by the women, and God is signing off on it.

    As far as Moses mother nursing him, I think she was pretty happy about that. That’s just me. Option 1- throw your son in the river for the crocs as the law requires. Option 2- raise him as long as you can keep him a secret then let him go and hope someone raises him well but never see him again. Option 3- Find out that a princess wants to raise him in a palace as a prince and wants you to help by nursing him. Tough choice. With those first two being the only options it’s just unclear how a mother would feel when she suddenly discovers Option 3. So unclear.

    When the land is being divided among the tribes, Zelophehad’s daughters went to the elders and said our dad had no sons. The law as it stands says land passes from father to son. But we don’t think we should get skipped because of this, or our dad’s land be given to some uncle or cousin or other male relative over us. Give us the right to the land. Moses goes and asks God about this and God says they are absolutely correct. Give them the rights. That’ll teach ’em male dominance. Oh, and change the law to make sure this isn’t a problem later for other daughters. Because, dominance!

    One of the earliest leaders of Israel during the times of judges was Deborah. She lead the nation and they believed in her ability and influence so much that the leader of the army said he wouldn’t go out to fight the enemy unless Deborah came with him. Her reply? Sure, I’ll go. And since I’m going, the honor of killing the enemy leader will also go to a woman. And that’s how it plays out. Dominance!

    In the story of Sampson, thousands of men try to stop him and all fail. What mighty force brings down the world’s strongest man? A woman. Dominance!

    Just dominance!

  • Carl Jung anticipated the emergence of a new Religion, one that recognizes the necessary integration of the Masculine and Feminine in each of us and the awareness that we all contain a spark of the divine… and it’s shadow. The rising tide of Fundamentalism in Christianity, Islam and Judaism is a desperate retrenchment against the need for a new spirituality.

  • Since when? When we were an agrarian people. Kids no longer share in the economic production in the household. They’re just takers now. That’s not a bad thing, just a thing.

  • Matthew 5:10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

  • Yea, I know, that’s why I made the comment. Christians (conscious or not) go out of their way to feel persecuted by everything. I can only conclude that it is bc it makes them feel like a true Christian.

  • Never ending quest for power and money and dominion? My friend, you really are deluded if you think that’s exclusive to people who don’t share your political / religious conviction.

  • I never said it was. That would be stupid.

    But dominionist is a particularly Christian concept in this country– believe what I believe and I’ll use the law to make sure that you do. Certain Muslims have exactly the same idea, as do certain Hindus in India, certain Jews in Israel.

    It must be something about conservative religion, a desire to say “God said it. I believe it. That settles. It.”

  • ‘ I believe what I believe and I’ll use the law to make sure that you do.’ But that’s the mantra that Obama and other ‘enlightened’ people have been marching under sinc the 60’s.

  • As soon as I saw Feminist in this article, I was like, “Okay, I’m done.”

    It would have been far more accurate if the fundamentalist fascist religious state gov’t in the book has been islam, but the author probably didn’t want to live under the permanent threat of death from psychotic religious fanatics for the rest of their life.

    The most they’d probably get from a Christian is a stern look & a disapproving sigh. So, props for knowing which religion, when offended, is less likely to issue an unrepealable death sentence, like the one on Salman Rushdie.

  • When Hitler thought in terms of “Gott Mit Uns”, why do you assume that he assumed a “Christian God” instead of the ancient Teutonic one he gushed about? (I actually agree with Ben in Oakland in some ways. Nazi Germany was primarily a kind of “Christian” culture. But don’t confuse Hitler’s propaganda talents in playing to a Christian audience to his actual internal religious convictions. Yes, he had a Catholic background but Hitler never showed much evidence of wanting to sustain it in any meaningful way. Thus, those who swagger about Hitler’s Christianity are missing the woods.)

  • “The very belt buckles of the German Army were inscribed with “Gott Mit Uns.” wrote Ben in Oakland. Don’t make the common mistake of attributing that to Hitler. lt was a popular Prussian military motto since the 1700s and had appeared on various German military gear for many decades before Hitler rose to power.

  • Again, it doesn’t matter what Hitler may or may not have thought. what matters is what GERMANS thought.

  • Pretty much the way one would expect a religious authoritarian to react to “The Handmaid’s Tale”, isn’t it? Dominionists have never accepted the establishment clause of the First Amendment. I suppose they think that Christianity is the state religion by default. Who knows? Or perhaps, deep down, they realize that Atwood struck a chord, a basic truth about their designs on freedom–religious and otherwise–in this country. All we have to do is watch, day by day, the “work of their hands”. And it’s a pretty frightening view, with or without Margaret Atwood’s excellent exposition.

  • It’s authoritarianism, pure, plain and simple. While most of us may think religion exists to guide folks to ethical and moral ways of living, for those whose focus is on domination of others, the use of religion must seem an ideal tool to use and then maintain that dominance. I find that particularly heinous, but y’know, it isn’t just religious- style attainment of power that should trouble us. Remember the secular orthodoxy of Pol Pot, when he and his followers butchered Cambodians with any semblance of education and experience to create the nightmare of Kampuchea with its killing fields? Daesh uses similar techniques–and I don’t doubt that evangelical-style takeovers of basically secular countries like ours would be any different. Power is the aim, the only end result desired. Those who use a religion as a tool to domination aren’t people of faith in any way, in my view.

  • Yep. The spurious “war against Christmas” on certain conservative outlets comes to mind, even though it seems more than a little whimsical compared to the violence that appears to be buried within that drive to feel persecuted. Turn the persecution around and use it as a raison d’etre and a weapon against those whom you are convinced have been persecuting you. Neat, ain’t it? And more than a little creepy.

  • Even so, those two (and any others in government willing to support Trump despite having misgivings about his qualifications to lead, let alone his basic character) stand to accomplish at least a part of their goals using him as a tool. That makes him pretty dangerous, especially when you consider his own autocratic nature and all the other little goodies he shows us day by day.

  • You,re right, but pol pot was actually a Buddhist, if I recall. His approach, however was strictly fascist. He didn’t kill people in the name of atheism, but in the same of “secular orthodoxy” that was highly inimical to human health and happiness.

    It doesn’t really matter to the Victims or history whether people are slaughtered in the name of faith, or fascism, or communism, or whether god told them to do it, or the voices in their heads. The victims are still dead, and the ripples of the murders continue down through history.

  • Ms. Atwood is not attacking the Christian Right, but the FAR Right. It concerns people who are willing to go to the ultimate conclusion of their ideology. Radicals. Not mainstream Conservatives. I do not agree with them but mainstream conservatives would not go as far as the Salem witch trials. They have matured in the modern time. But let’s face it, there are die hard fanatics out there. And believe me, I do not like the ones on the far end of my spectrum either, the Left. They end up being very much similar to each other. And I want nothing to do with either of them. But any person with a belief system can always go to far, no matter what they believe.

  • Whatever Pol Pot was originally, his actions were absolutely antithetical to Buddhist teachings. You have to wonder what kinds of karmic “adjustments” his soul will choose to make in subsequent lives.

  • It is equally terrifying for any fundamentalist group to take over this country of USA. If the far right had it their way no more gay marriage, no birth control, etc, etc.

  • It’s hard to believe a religious scholar and teacher had no clue how terrible those Bible stories are to women. But if he’d been female, he probably would have seen it from Day 1.

  • Having heard men here in the States speak approvingly of controlling and hurting women (and many women co-signing that madness) based on their religion, the Handmaid’s Tale is truly frightening.

    Of all the horror books I’ve read, the Bible is the scariest. A perfect being creates imperfect humans, only to turn around to kill and eternally punish them for those imperfections. And just like with the old Jim Crow laws, just about anything you do can earn you a sentence of eternal crispiness. It’s like a catch-22 with a pinch of Final Destination, if it were made into film.

    If I favored one of my children over the other, it would be judged abhorrent. But this supreme character gets to play favorites and send them to kill the non-favored kids. They also got to kill their babies (not sure what they did wrong in their weakened infant state) and take the women. Take is a nice way to say things. They got to kidnap and rape women. I can’t imagine after seeing their sons, brothers, husbands and fathers killed that they would want to drop the knickers willingly. Pretty much would ruin my ‘mood’ for life.

    What’s most horrifying is how many fans of the book take it literally. These murders are rationalized in weird ways and accepted as normal. I can’t go into how his human son and the New Testament somehow erases allllllll that fugly like it never happened.

    If you truly and deeply care about someone else, could you hug them and imagine them being slaughtered (or even simply mistreated) in front of you over someone else’s beliefs? Beliefs their ‘god’ didn’t even bother to write down himself? These imperfect humans were somehow entrusted to write a holy book for generations later to ‘attempt’ to understand and obey (also a fail, based on the huge variety of Christian religions saying opposing things). But at the same time, his favorite humans often needed killin’ for not following basic instructions like ejaculating in unapproved locations or lovingly looking back on the city you called home and being turned to salt after being told not to. This guy!

    Well it’s been fun. My point is seriously Separation of Church and State, forever. You never want to see your right to simply exist and be left alone evaporate due to politicians’ Belief of the Day. My point may be that it happened before, is still happening, and can always get worse.

    *(LEARN their beliefs before you vote. Primaries ARE everything. Local voting IS everything. Ignoring what government is doing right now is exactly how the loss of freedom starts – ignoring truth, then maybe recognition, then denial, then excuse making, apathy, and finally you wake up wondering when did THIS happen?) PEACE

  • So true. All extremists sound similar to each other, even extreme opposites. If they weren’t so dangerous, it would be funny how they cannot see this.

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