My Mother’s Day Message

    May 11/12, 2013

    What’s wrong with the biblical ideology of the subordination of females is that it makes females less than the other, less than human. It removes from them the positive power that all human beings should possess and exercise. It subordinates them to another being and makes them the property of another.  It obliterates their power to exercise freewill and choice. It keeps them under subjection as less-than-mature human beings all their lives in all spheres of life—the public and the private spheres. 

    It tips the balance of power in favor of the male. It makes the male a “demi-god,” but a demi-god with less empathy, with the power to punish and reward and be the ultimate and sole decision-maker, protector, and provider.  It degrades and corrupts both the male and female. Therefore, this opens the door for abuse of power which can be demonstrated in sexual, psychological, financial, and religious violence against women.  Some examples of this are rape, incest, sexual assault, female genital mutilation, honor killing, marital rape, denial of basic human rights, discrimination in the workplace, sexual harassment, poverty, illiteracy, denial of property rights, denial to pass on citizenship,  denial of inheritance, dowry practices, child bride practices, polygamy, financial emotional neglect, immolation of women and children, prostitution, human trafficking, and the list goes on. 

    In fact, this is evidenced in the Bible itself.  Just check the practices of the cultures in which women were subordinated to men, starting with the Jews and Israelites.  The concept of the female as property is enshrined forever in the Ten Commandments.  “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.”  A wife is listed with the other things which are considered a man’s property. Yet, Christians think nothing of it and have stupidly internalized this notion. The crime of rape, in the Bible among the Jews and Israelites, was not an offence against the victim, but against her owner—her father or husband. That’s why reparation was paid to the father or husband. When a virgin was raped, to repair the family’s honor she was forced sometimes to marry her rapist. These are the practices found among the Jews and Israelites—the people of God.

    Those who wrote the books of the Bible belong to those cultures and held the same notions and biases; therefore, it is inevitable that these notions and biases be reflected in their doctrines, ideologies, and theology. That’s why the Bible is not for the “simple.” You’ve got to be able to reason, discriminate, recognize harmful beliefs and practices for what they are and reject them.

    In countries where women enjoy greater freedoms, exercise their full range of human rights; they are subjected to much less violence. In fact, those countries are more likely to be more prosperous because women are more likely to be educated and play an integral part in owning and generating wealth.

    On this Mother’s Day, let’s rejoice in our femaleness and personhood and resolve to get more involved in the struggle for gender equality and reject the harmful and discriminatory theological doctrine of the submission of women. No woman is free anywhere until all women are free everywhere.