“..Your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you” Genesis 3:16
The Church of England is procrastinating whether women deserve equal promotion to senior clergy, initially proposing legislation that would mean “it would have enshrined in law the very prejudices against which supporters of female bishops have battled so long. It would, they say, create a two-tier system in which not only female bishops, but men who ordained women or who had themselves been ordained by women, would be considered second-rate.” Meanwhile in Afghanistan, Taliban tribesmen are using ‘Sharia’ law to execute women ‘accused’ of adultery. Religions the world over proclaim peace and equality whilst consistently using their beliefs to promote power and control of women.
As someone who was indoctrinated into an Abrahamic faith from a very young age, I have my issues with religion and whether it can ever be considered supportive of the feminist cause. God is masculine. His first human was male. His first female wasn’t designed exclusively of her own flesh and bone; she was created from one of man’s ribs. In another tradition, Eve is described as being the second wife of Adam. Lilith was God’s first female creation, an equal; she refused to ‘sleep or serve under him’ and was banished for knowing her own mind. This version of events is not in any of the holy books. When God is a man (and a blond blue eyed one, at that) and all the prophets, disciples and saints (more or less) are also men, as a woman you face one of two choices. Accept that man is wiser; pure and blessed, and revere him as the creator and administrator of the life force OR open your eyes, revel in your ability to create fullstop and accept you might have been a little duped by the men holding the pens who, 2-3000 years ago orchestrated the abomination that is the subjugation of women through ‘original sin’.
Several thousands of years of being so tempting to poor, pure man that he cannot control his own impulses and only because he is so gullible and naïve; when confronted with an apple, he cannot control the urge to take a bite. Eve might have presented the apple but she didn’t force Adam to eat it. How old is Adam? Small children and perpetrators of abuse often bemoan “they made me do it!” And apparently God, the highly strung sleep deprived parent took Adam’s word for it and grounded Eve! Loving and understanding and forgiving God gave Eve pain. What should be a joyful miracle of creation marred forever more by Eve’s seductive ways. Obviously I don’t really believe this. Evacuating a fully formed human out of your body takes a lot of effort and is going to be extremely painful. Not punishment but rather basic human physiology.
Allegorically, the Old Testament is anti-feminist. It describes to men the punishment they face if they are swayed by feminine wiles. Did Eve nag Adam into taking a bite? Eve is beguiled by the snake, all slithery and penis like. He tempts her and she tempts him. And then because they know it all, God banishes them from Heaven. Desire is bad. Temptation is bad. It’s all woman’s fault.
Without desire and temptation, one is pure and worthy of God’s affection. Except God made each and every one of us horny! Yet men from all over the world don’t seem to want to own their desires. It’s easier to blame the witches and wenches. What is the value of female life when the honour between two warriors of Allah is at stake?
Is this why religious institutions openly defend their rights to exclude their female believers from more involved roles? There is a belief that they will tempt the holy men of the clergy into debauchery by being so pervasive and goddamn sexy?
We recoil in horror and our politicians condemn the slaughter of a woman whose country they want to pillage for all their natural resources. We’re more ‘civilised’ here in the West, we exclude and eliminate women through proper bureaucratic channels. The centuries old witch trials of burning free thinking women at the stake are a distant memory for many.
If we are all equal in God’s eyes, why can’t they prove it?