Understanding other cultures and being tolerant is important. However, I think being tolerant of the way women (and men) are treated in fanatical religious groups like the one Deborah Feldman’s memoir describes is tantamount to being “tolerant” of slavery. It is essentially the same thing. These people do not grow up having agency over anything in their lives. It took a massive amount of will and bravery for her to leave her culture (and take her son with her). Though the memoir is an incredible story and she is a great writer, I feel mostly infuriated and depressed by the knowledge that such an insanely repressive, misogynist and cruel culture exists so close to me (literally about 10 blocks from the apartment I’m currently writing in).
The end of the book was very inspiring. But though it was amazing to see her personal journey, it drives me insane that there are so many others out there trapped in systems like this, whether they’re Hasids or part of any other fundamentalist religion or cult. It strengthens my opinion that as long as fundamentalist religion teaches men to hate women and women to hate themselves there can not be anything like gender equality for large swaths of even this supposedly liberal country. To be fair, we can’t even achieve gender equality in the totally secular community.
My rage aside, I would recommend this book to everyone. It is certainly making me think and makes me want to not take my freedom for granted.
Who wants to sneak copies into the libraries around South Williamsburg with me?
“I don’t know if it’s the past so much as the religious state of mind, if that makes any sense. Human beings are predisposed to complete irrationality or a desire to believe in something that is inexplicable, and potentially even devote themselves to that. That’s what religion is, and what people have always fallen back on. I was raised in a super-Catholic environment. Now I’m not religious, but I do have the memory of how either a religious mindset or being religious works. A lot of my favorite composers and artists were really religious, and I think when you’re creating art that isn’t about your life, it’s about a higher human consciousness or higher state of being that might not be human or might not be conscious. I think that’s really beautiful. But then there’s the fact that I play dance parties and exist totally on the Internet. I feel like I’m getting totally abstract here.”
Church experts said it was surprising that 157 priests would sign a statement in support of the American priest, the Rev. Roy Bourgeois, because he did much more than speak out: he gave the homily and blessed a woman in an illicit ordination ceremony conducted by the group, Roman Catholic Womenpriests. That group claims to have ordained 120 female priests and five bishops worldwide. The Vatican does not recognize the ordinations and has declared the women automatically excommunicated.
In a 1994 declaration seen as intended to end the debate, Pope John Paul II issued an apostolic letter, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, saying that the church “has no authority whatsoever” to ordain women. Among the reasons the church gives is that the apostles of Jesus Christ were all men, and that that has been the church’s practice all along.
But then, who would really go grab a pack of cigarettes and drop by the doctor’s office for a trim on their 18th birthday?! Then there are the First Amendment concerns—circumcision rates are high among Jews and Muslims.
All this, plus the fact 80% of American men have gone under the knife makes it more of a cultural thing for San Francisco anyways. But what do you think?! Should parents have the right to snip—or would you flip?
Reblogging because I want to know what people think about banning circumcision.
Speaking as someone who was circumcised pretty late in childhood, I’m definitely in favor of a ban. Of those 80% of men who are circumcised, I doubt many of them made the choice to be circumcised. I certainly wasn’t given a choice. On the issue of religion, I don’t think it’s too much to ask religions to drop the bit about genital mutilation from their dogma. And if it is too much, then it shouldn’t be legal to mutilate your child’s genitals for your personal religious experience. Let the kid choose when he’s 18 whether or not that’s what god wants him to do.
The child development community, of which my mother is a respected member, is pretty much 100% against circumcision, and I agree with them. It’s a horrendously traumatic and cruel thing to do to a tiny infant, and it serves no medical purpose whatsoever. It should be abolished.
Zoe’s mom is legit, yo. She knows her shit. (bolding mine)
“My friend Haroon calls this fear the “ham sandwich” effect. Like me, he’s a first-generation American, born to a religious family. He’s Muslim. His parents would tell him not to eat pork because it’s evil and God will send you to hell. They had a similar attitude about sex. But he was 16 and curious, so why not? He sat down one day, bought a ham sandwich, ate it and then threw up. He tried again, though, and was eventually able to eat ham sandwiches like any other American. It was the same way with sex.”
A small church in Toledo, Ohio has spent $1,500 for a one month commitment to a digital billboard that reads “Being Gay is a Gift from God.”
“The Rev. Bill Barnard, Central’s part-time pastor, said the billboard message will be linked to a four-week sermon series, and the overall campaign goal is “to make a leap beyond tolerance.”
“Members of the congregation have experienced places and times where being lesbian or gay was tolerated — kind of ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell, I know God forgives you,’” Barnard said. “We’re saying, ‘This is the way God created you. There’s nothing to forgive.’”
They will continue the campaign as long as funds are available.