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Posts tagged ‘Religion’

Shut up because the views must be the same

A guest blogger at the Volokh Conspiracy is doing a series of posts about treaties and the United States’ Congress’ powers and the ability to enforce them.

Rather than offer my own views on that subject (which is way beyond my expertise, in part because IANAL), I’ll instead draw attention to a curious contradiction among many in the religious right wrong. In concerns the United States’ Constitution’s Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Clause 2), which reads as follows:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

The people in the religious right wrong use this section to argue that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, if ratified by the US Senate, will somehow threaten “parental rights” or homeschooling or other such stuff. (As every other country [except Somalia, which hasn’t signed] shows, such claims are nonsense, but showing why is beyond the scope of this post). In other words, they are required to believe that any international treaty overrules whatever laws are in force in the US, even if Congress legislating in that area would be ultra vires (beyond its powers).

The religious right wrong also believe that the US is founded as a Christian nation. This is in spite of the Treaty of Tripoli, which the US Senate unanimously ratified over two centuries ago. The relevant section is Article 12, which reads as follows (spelling and wording in original):

As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

In other words, the religious right wrong believes that treaties overrule law when they provide rights to children, but not when they refute the Christian nation myth.

Those two positions are contradictory. One cannot rationally believe both. If they truly believe that the US was founded as a Christian nation and that the Treaty of Tripoli does not apply, then they can forever shut up about the UNCRC overruling any other law and threatening parental rights. If, by contrast, they believe that the UNCRC does overrule other laws, they then can shut the fuck up about the US being founded as a Christian nation.

So much for the promiscuity shot

Remember how wingnuts and conservatives objected to the HPV vaccine because they thought it might cause promiscuity? Well, a new study (hat tip: Feministing) shows that this is not the case:

Since public health officials began recommending in 2006 that young women be routinely vaccinated against HPV, many parents have hesitated over fears that doing so might give their children license to have sex. But research published on Monday in the journal Pediatrics may help ease those fears.

Looking at a sample of nearly 1,400 girls, the researchers found no evidence that those who were vaccinated beginning around age 11 went on to engage in more sexual activity than girls who were not vaccinated.

This was obvious from the start. But I know that anti–choicers won’t stop their freaking out and sexophobia.

Dangerous denials

I recently read the following in The Guardian:

Schoolgirls are being denied a potentially life-saving cervical cancer jab at their schools on religious grounds.

Some schools in England have opted out of the HPV vaccination programme because their pupils follow strict Christian principles and do not have sex outside marriage. The jab guards against two strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) virus – 16 and 18 – which cause 70% of cases of cervical cancer. It is offered routinely to girls aged 12 to 13.

[…]

The reasons schools gave for not giving the jab included “not in keeping with the school ethos”, “pupils follow strict Christian principles, marry within their own community and do not practise sex outside marriage” and “the school does not want parents/students to feel pressured by peers or the school setting”.

[…]

Every year, 1,000 women in the UK die from cervical cancer.

The fact that girls are being denied this vaccine is important, as it hinders the ability to generate “herd immunity” using the vaccine, something it has recently been shown to do (cite, cite).

These actions are of course par for the course for religious conservatives. Whenever some medical advance has arisen to make women’s lives easier, some religious dipshit has been there opposing it, abusing, hurting, or otherwise oppressing women. In the US, the same objections— by preventing a common STD, HPV vaccine was creating “a licence to engage in premarital sex” (cite)— were raised. Those people are the successors to the people who objected to using antibiotics to treat other STD’s, to anesthetic in parturition, and that Plan B would lead to “sex–based cults” (cite). Since almost the beginning of history and probably before, religious conservatives have been seeking to control women’s sexuality.

Maybe these people truly believe that these girls will never be raped and will never have premarital sex. If that is the case then I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell them because they are hopelessly naive. Or maybe they really want some sort of metaphorical stick to wave over people’s heads because they see it as more important that people not engage in premarital sex than in not getting cancer. If that is the case then Dan Savage seems more and more correct.

A lack of relevant difference

In the Joyce Quiverfull book, there is a section concerning some Christian fundamentalists (The Pearls) who, besides advocating that people should use a ridiculous amount of corporal punishment on their kids to “train” them and that women should be submissive doormats, also believe in an excessive form of female modesty, as illustrated by the following passage on pp. 79–80 (my emphasis):

“[They] require wives to dress and behave modestly among men to whom they do not belong, lest the sight of their bodies tempt men into ‘sight’ or ‘thought’ adultery… The lack of men’s responsibility or culpability for their own actions and the acceptance of male ‘urges’ as irresistible forces of nature is the understructure of Christian modesty movements and their secular counterparts: seeing women’s bodies as almost supernaturally perverse and corrupting….”

I’m sure this asshole would agree.

Actually, that person I linked to? He’s a Muslim. But he’s expressing the exact same sentiment as the Pearls: pervasive victim–blaming that blames “immodest” women (those who don’t cover up almost everything) for the actions of others, in one case “Adultery” and in the other rape and sexual assault.

There really, really is no relevant difference in mindset between fundamentalists/extremists of different religions. They’re all misogynist, just with different junk in their heads.

I’m tempted to agree with deBeauxOs as for what to do about him (emphasis in original):

“Well, I want a law making it legal and mandatory for men who believe they will sexually assault women because of the way they’re dressed, or for those who have violated women for those very reasons, to be given skewers to poke their eyes out.”

If you truly believe that a woman’s attire drives someone rape her (as opposed to simply taking responsibility and not being a rapist), do you even know what you’re saying about yourself? That you’re some kind of monster or something. Or even better, if you see something you don’t like, why don’t you just turn the fuck away or close your goddamn eyes? I’m pretty sure yours and almost everyone else’s necks and/or eyelids work just fine.

Either way, problem solved.

The rot within

Lurking at a comment thread at Dispatches, comments there eventually led to me finding the following information (unless otherwise noted, my emphasis in all cases):

[TW:Sexual abuse, rape, child abuse]

From theologian Kathryn Riss:

“Traditional” Sex Role Hierarchy Is Associated with Domestic Violence and Incest

Studies of highly religious homes in which abuse and incest take place show that father perpetuators [sic] rigidly uphold “old fashioned” values, emphasize the subordination of women, and isolate the family unit. They often blame their sexual sin on their daughter/victims. The mothers, fearing conflict with the husband and censure by the religious community, often ignore the incest. Dependent on the fathers economically and emotionally, such wives avoid confronting their abusive husbands, thus allowing the incest to continue. Thus, the imbalance and inequality of “traditional” marriages can be dangerous.

To quote some experts: “Helfer and Kempe (1968) in their book ‘The Battered Child’ report that the assault rate on children of parents who subscribe to the belief of male dominance is 136 percent higher than for couples not committed to male dominance.”

From American Atheist Magazine:

Fundamentalism also increases the likelihood of sexual abuse according to many studies. According to a 1988 study appearing in Corrective and Social Psychiatry and Journal of Behavior Technology Methods and Therapy there are three family characteristics that pose high risk for sexual abuse. These are commonly seen in fundamentalist families. First, there’s the patriarchal family structure; second, a view that all sex is sinful, which actually confuses the distinction people generally make between healthy and unacceptable sexual behavior. And third, sexual activity becomes a family secret.

[…]

What’s noteworthy, explains Jackie J. Hudson, the author of Characteristics of the Incestuous Family, is that while sexual abuse is generally higher among stepfathers in the general population, the rate of incest is so high in fundamentalist homes that sexual abuse by biological fathers is more common than that by stepfathers.

From Examiner.com

The devil of the complementarian movement is the feminist, and by complementarian standards, any woman who does not accept a subordinate position to males is a feminist.

[…]

Complementarians are everywhere, not just in church. Throughout society, they influence and affect the lives of those around them. In politics, complementarian officials cannot be trusted to act in the best interests of women. In the workplace, both male and female employees feel the brunt of complementarian, anti-woman, sentiment.

[…]

Domestic abuse and violence is a much more frequent occurrence among professing Christians than is commonly believed. It has become a popular conference and discussion topic within the evangelical community. Some family counselors, such as, Barrington H. Brennen, assert that complementarian teaching is directly responsible for accelerating abusive and violent behavior in husbands.

To put it bluntly, complementarianism is really hierarchicalism.

And from an study available online:

Gender role attitudes have been extensively studied in the empirical literature (Bryant, 2003; McGovern & Meyers, 2002). Positive relationships have been found between traditional sex role attitudes and negative attitudes toward women and the acceptance of rape myths. For example, in a landmark study, Burt (1980) reported that individuals who had more stereotypical gender role attitudes were more likely than those with egalitarian attitudes to endorse rape myths. This finding was replicated by Mayerson and Taylor (1987), who reported that individuals with stereotypical gender role attitudes were more accepting of rape myths and the use of physical and sexual violence than those with egalitarian attitudes. Similarly, Finn (1986) reported that for the 300 college students in his study, those who endorsed the most traditional gender role attitudes were more likely to endorse the use of force in marriage. Willis, Hallinan, and Melby (1996) found that individuals who espoused stereotypical gender role attitudes were more likely to blame the victim and less likely to see the seriousness in domestic violence scenarios. More recently, traditional gender role attitudes in a sample of adolescents were also associated with less perceived seriousness of scenarios depicting interpersonal aggression (Hilton, Harris, & Rice, 2003).

[…]

[Compared to previous studies], other [studies] have found that Judeo-Christian beliefs are consistent with male dominance. For example, Jeffords (1984) argued that these beliefs contribute to a patriarchal system that assigns women a subordinate role to men. He investigated relationships among gender role attitudes, religious orthodoxy, and beliefs about forced marital intercourse and found that those who held traditional gender role attitudes and those who reported religious orthodoxy were more likely to endorse the use of forced marital intercourse than those with egalitarian gender role attitudes or those who did not report religious orthodoxy. He also reported that traditional gender role attitudes were positively associated with the religious variables in his study.

And this is on top of the meta–study I posted about months ago.

To put it very explicitly, (conservative) religion harms women and children. And isn’t it obvious that in order to advance women’s rights, conservative religion and social conservatism must die and the sooner the better.

This is a post about premarital sex

Last week there was a sudden spree of posts about premarital sex. They have inspired me to write my own post concerning the same topic.

First of all, premarital sex is extremely common and it has been for an extremely long time. “Extremely long time” does not mean since the mythical 1950s, but rather since before then. Indeed, premarital sex has been the normative behaviour for much of the past eighty years. In the 1930s, 70% of men and women had premarital sex (cite). Similarly, today 95% of Americans have had premarital sex (cite). And the 1950s are of a mythical view. In her book The Way We Never Were, Stephanie Coontz refutes the idea that the 1950s were some sort of pure “family values” period. Back then a majority of people still had premarital sex. Indeed, she sums it up succinctly: “The 1960s generation did not invent premarital and out–of–wedlock sex.”

Clearly then, the religious right’s wrong’s promotion of abstinence ignorance–only sex (mis)education is not only an attack on women and an attack on public health, but is also an attack on reality.

A few of the posts in the recent spree mentioned supposed “negative consequences” of premarital sex. As I will show, those supposed “negative consequences” ought to be considered irrelevant and furthermore, the things tied to opposition to premarital sex have sinister and bad effects.

More discussion is after the jump.

(more…)

Prepare to get a new keyboard, folks

From the Onion: NASA Completes 52-Year Mission To Find, Kill God.

It’s too funny.

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