Posts Tagged ‘Women’


(For the last few months we’ve been running the best posts from years past, posts that will be new to most of our subscribers. This one is from July 2013. We’ll be posting more blasts from the past for the next several months, and will intersperse them with new material.)

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A FEW QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BIBLE

1. Why do the Ten Commandments forbid worshipping false gods, graven images, and taking the lord’s name in vain, rather than slavery and torture?

2. Why doesn’t the Bible condemn slavery  or torture anywhere in its pages?

3. Why does the Bible command slaves to be obedient to their masters? (1 Timothy 6:1, 1 Peter 2:18, Ephesians 6:5)

4. Why does the Bible instruct slaveholders on how to treat (and mistreat) their slaves? (Exodus 21:20-21, Exodus 21:2-6)

5. Why does the Bible endorse slavery? (Leviticus 25:44-46)

6. Why does the Bible command female subservience? (Ephesians 5:22-23, Colossians 3:18, I Corinthians 11:3, I Corinthians 14:34, I Timothy 2:11-12, Genesis 3:16)

7. Why does the Bible treat women as “unclean” inferior beings? (Job 25:4, Revelation 14:4, Leviticus 12:2-5, Leviticus 15:17-24, 32-33)

8. Why are Christians fixated on the “abomination” of homosexuality, when the Bible also lists remarriage (Deuteronomy 24:4), “lying lips” (Proverbs 22:12), usury (Exodus 18:10-13), sex with an “unclean” woman (Leviticus 18:19, 27), short-weighting (Deuteronomy 25:13-16), and, of course, sacrificing a blemished ox (Deuteronomy 17:1) as abominations?

8. Why is the Bible filled with contradictions, such as “[F]or I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger forever” (Jeremiah 3:12) vs. “Ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn forever” (Jeremiah 17:4)?

(See also Ezekiel 18:20 vs. Exodus 20:5; James 1:13 vs. Genesis 22:1; Matthew 6:19 vs. Proverbs 15:6; Exodus 21:23-25 vs. Matthew 5:39; Proverbs 3:13 vs. Ecclesiastes  1:18; Ecclesiastes 1:4 vs. 2 Peter 3:10; Matthew 10:34 vs. Matthew 26:52; John 5:31 vs. John 8:18; John 5:28-29 vs. Job 7:9; John 10:30 vs. John 14:28; and Genesis 32:30 vs. John 1:18 vs. Exodus 33:23).

10. If these blatant contradictions are the result of mistranslation, why should any other part of the Bible be more reliable?

11. Why does the Bible mention only plants and animals found in the region familiar to its authors?

12. Did the same god who created sunsets, hummingbirds, and butterflies also create cockroaches, scabies, Donald Trump, and Bill O’Reilly? (Helpful hint: google O’Reilly falafel.)

13. What happened to all of the water after the great flood? (If all of the ice on Earth melted, it would raise the sea level by less than a hundred meters.)

14. Why does the Bible command “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” (Exodus 22:18)? (See also Leviticus 20:27.)

15. Why does the Bible command the murder of EMTs, firemen, nurses, doctors, convenience store clerks, and everyone else who works on the sabbath? (Exodus 35:1-2, Exodus 31:14-15, Numbers 15:32-36)

16. Why does the Bible command the murder of rebellious children? (Deuteronomy 21:18-21, Leviticus 20:9)

17. Why does the Bible command parents to beat their children? (Proverbs 23:13-14)

18. Why does the Bible command mass murder and the taking of juvenile female sex slaves? (Numbers 31:17-18)

19. Why does the Bible command murder (burning alive) of those who have sex with their mothers-in-law? (Leviticus 20:14)

20. Why does the Bible command the killing of innocent beasts that are victims of sexual abuse? (Leviticus 20:15)

21. And while we’re on the topic, doesn’t the death penalty for bestiality seem a bit over the top? (Leviticus 20:15)

22. Why are your morals so much better than those of the god of the Bible?

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SolTranslated by Pietro Casati (pietrokuyath@gmail.com)

Edited by Rodolfo Montes de Oca (http://rodolfomontesdeoca.contrapoder.org.ve/)

Crónicas Negras are a series of interviews with different anarchists currently living in Venezuela, narrating all the struggles that they face living in one of the few socialist regimes of the 21st century. These interviews deal with the everyday lives of men and women and highlight the precarious situations to which they have been subjected.
In this edition we interview Sol Terán, our libertarian colleague who belongs to the group of Venezuelans that have had to immigrate to other countries. She is the editor of feminist magazine Döderline and member of the band BETOE.
 To start this conversation can you tell me a little more about your magazine Döderline and where this name comes from?
 The Döderlein Zine is an anarchist magazine elaborated manually that deals with several issues like feminism, sexual liberation, politics and punk. We gave the magazine this name because the bacillus bacteria in charge of protecting the vagina from infections and diseases is named after it. It is somewhat of a tribute towards these microorganisms hat support us in the protection against external agents that want to hurt us jejeje
How did you manage to run the magazine in Venezuela with the high cost of printing and paper shortage?
During the days when the first number was released we didn’t really notice the paper shortage, although copies were very expensive. What we did was only print when somebody solicited the magazine, along with always asking for collaborations in order to get photocopies.
Venezuela is renowned for its beautiful women. Do you think that this is a stereotype from those who control capital?
Of course! Publicity is completely exploited, in Venezuela girls grow up dreaming of becoming Miss Venezuela and Miss Universe. From a young age they are educated into a certain lifestyle, specific ways of eating, how to dress and act. The only beneficiary of this upbringing is capitalism.
Is there any way of being an anarchist and feminist whilst maintaining the gentleness and sweetness of women?

I think that ideals don’t define your character and gentleness and sweetness aren’t conditioned by gender.

The presence of women inside initiatives and libertarian activities in Venezuela is scarce…What causes this “masculine” majority in Venezuelan anarchism?
 I think that libertarian ideals are stereotyped, I have known many libertarian and anarchist women in Venezuela that embrace a self-sufficient lifestyle off the grid, working with the community and doing things for themselves without the necessity of using any labels. On a conceptual level they don’t know that this lifestyle entails a label, for instance in the case of women that live in the countryside and indigenous women.
How was it living in a country where you must queue for hours to obtain menstrual pads or where obtaining contraceptive pills is a nightmare?
It was sad to see how conditioned Venezuelan women are thanks to the oil income, which has given the country industrialized products without providing the opportunity for any choice and in a certain way this is a favourable advantage. Through publicity capitalism creates the illusion of the necessity of a certain product and when this product is scarce, people start looking for other options. Menstrual pads, tampons and contraceptive pills are not a good choice, there are thousands of natural alternatives that are less harmful for organisms and the planet. In fact, one of the reasons I wanted to start this magazine was to spread these natural resources for everyone.
In Venezuela maternity is seen as an obligation and not a choice…What are your thoughts on this? Are you in favor of abortion?
This happens due to the values indoctrinated into girls when they are little, as they are taught that their only goal in life, growing up, is having children and spending the rest of their lives being mothers and looking after the house and taking care of the family. This is like a form of control caused by our overwhelmingly sexist culture. In Venezuela there are still many families that think this way and don’t propose female empowerment. I am in favour of abortion because I think that as owners of our bodies we have the right and freedom to do whatever we want, and I also think that sex should stop being a taboo in the sexual education of children.
In Venezuela no crime statistics exist, do you think that this is due to the complicity of the state?
Silence is complicity. Venezuela has a criminal government, it doesn’t take any measures against the basic necessities of people, like human rights, in a criminal state. In Venezuela the majority of crimes receive impunity because the government allows criminal gangs to acquire power by giving them weapons and protection. 
In Venezuela the number of crimes committed against women has increased…are we the Ciudad Juárez of South America?
No, crimes against women haven’t necessarily increased, it’s just that now women have decided to report more because they now know that it’s a crime that is wrong. Abuse towards women has always existed, but there was always a lot of silence due to fear of retaliation.
You are from the Andesbut you have also lived in Puerto Ordaz and Caracas. How was it living in those places?
Caracas being the capital was full of people, lots of chaos in the street, lots of traffic, it was really hard for me to adapt to that city and I was very stressed. Afterwards I lived in Maturín, an eastern city of the country that was very hot, boring and quite sexist. Going out in the streets entailed listening to a variety of barbarities. Finally, I returned to San Cristóbal, which I think is the only city of Venezuela where you can live calmly, people are very shy and respectful, even though this has also changed throughout these last years.
Why did you emigrate? What pushes Venezuelan anarchists to leave their country and go to other places?
To learn new ways of living and doing things for my personal growth. In the tour that we did with our band B.E.T.O.E last winter we had the chance of sharing our experiences with many anarchists from many different places that did incredible things. This opened our eyes a little more in regards to different ways of living and doing things.
What recommendations and suggestions can you give to those who decide to stay?
Fighting for what you believe in is always comforting, it gives us all motive to keep moving forward.
To end…would you like to say something to your friends and comrades?

A big hug to everyone that fights every day to make this world a more just and egalitarian place! If you want copies of döderlein zine send an email to doderlein.diystro@gmail.com and we will send you copies. Thank you for the support and long live anarchism!


QADIYA, Iraq — In the moments before he raped the 12-year-old girl, the Islamic State fighter took the time to explain that what he was about to do was not a sin. Because the preteen girl practiced a religion other than Islam, the Quran not only gave him the right to rape her — it condoned and encouraged it, he insisted.

He bound her hands and gagged her. Then he knelt beside the bed and prostrated himself in prayer before getting on top of her.

When it was over, he knelt to pray again, bookending the rape with acts of religious devotion.

“I kept telling him it hurts — please stop,” said the girl, whose body is so small an adult could circle her waist with two hands. “He told me that according to Islam he is allowed to rape an unbeliever. He said that by raping me, he is drawing closer to God,” she said in an interview alongside her family in a refugee camp here, to which she escaped after 11 months of captivity.

–Mauricio Lima, “ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape,” New York Times 8-13-15

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Before you begin spouting your canned response, “ISIS is a perversion of Islam” or it’s a “misinterpretation” of Islam,  please think about this: What kind of religious scriptures lend themselves to such “perversion” and “misinterpretation” on a mass scale?

And before you Christians start feeling too self-righteous about this, please consider that slavery flourished for over 1,500 years in Christian lands, with Christian scripture supporting the practice. Of course, Christian apologists use the same excuses as Muslim apologists: the practice of slavery resulted from “perversion” or “misinterpretation” of scripture (in this case Romans 13:1-2, Colossians 3:22, Titus 2:9-10, Exocus 21:2-6, Exodus 21:20-21, Leviticus 25:44-46, 1 Peter 2:18, 1 Timothy 6:1). Again, what kind of religious scriptures lend themselves to such “perversion” and “misinterpretation” on a mass scale?

Is this systemic “perversion” and “misinterpretation” evidence that Christian and Muslim scriptures “encourage morality,” or is it evidence that they encourage the worst types of immorality?

Is this mass “perversion” and “misinterpretation” evidence that Christian and Muslim scriptures were divinely inspired, or is it evidence that they were written by all-too-human savages?


“I think Christian women are the mot liberated women in the whole world. I love being under submission to my husband.”

–Tammy Faye Bakker

Quoted in The Heretic’s Handbook of Quotations

Front cover of "The Heretic's Handbook of Quotations


by Chaz Bufe, publisher See Sharp Press

Know-nothingism has become fashionable on the religious right. Many right-wing fundamentalists insist that assertions contained in an ancient mish-mash of a book are every bit as valid as carefully arrived-at, repeatedly tested scientific theories and conclusions.

In a striking bit of irony, some go even further and (unconsciously) mimic academic postmodernists, insisting that all “opinions” (including scientific conclusions) are equal. Thus willful ignorance among the least educated mirrors willful ignorance among the most educated.

Given all this, it’s good to remind ourselves of why facts matter, and why science is superior to religious faith.

Failure to take facts into account has real-world consequences. To cite a trivial example, if you believe you’re invulnerable because you believe you are, test your hypothesis by stepping in front of a truck. To cite a sadder, all-too-real example, science has established that the similarities between human beings vastly outweigh the differences, and that there’s no basis for assertions that any race is superior to any other. So, are the opinions of racists just as valid as  the scientific conclusion that the differences between racial groups are trivial?

To cite still another example of why facts matter, in the Middle Ages in Europe, with science at a standstill, many believed that disease and bad weather were caused by witchcraft. End result? Tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of “witches” were brutally murdered for “causing” storms and disease.

There are innumerable other examples demonstrating why facts matter. And, yes, you can’t absolutely prove anything, but probabilities are so high in so many cases that it’s reasonable to act as if the probablity is 100%.

So, facts do matter. But why does science trump religion?

1. The scientific method is the only reliable way to arrive at the most probably correct explanation of almost anything. Scientists reach conclusions by formulating hypotheses, checking those hypotheses against observed phenomena, devising experiments to test the hypotheses, checking them for internal consistency, and checking to see if the hypotheses can generate accurate predictions. Then doing all this over and over again, with different scientists repeatedly testing the hypotheses (“theories” if they consistently pass all these tests over a prolonged period of time) through experiment, observation, and analysis.

This is a bit different than pointing to a hoary book written by iron-age slaveholders and asserting, “This is a fact! It says so here!”

2. Science is self-correcting. Religion isn’t. Science continually tests and refines hypotheses and theories to arrive at more accurate explanations. Religion doesn’t.

A good example of this is provided by scientific exploration of racial differences between humans. In the 19th century, some scientists asserted that whites were superior to other races. By the middle of the 20th century, other scientists had definitively debunked those assertions through observation, experiment, and analysis. (Yes, there are still a few racist scientists, but their assertions are knocked down almost as soon as they make them, and the vast majority of scientists now accept, in line with scientific research, that assertions of racial superiority or inferiority are baseless.)

The overt racism of the Book of Mormon slightly predates the racist assertions of some 19th-century scientists, with the Book of Mormon itself referring to caucasians as “white and exceedingly fair and delightsome” (2 Nephi 5:20-21); and as late as 1935, Mormon Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith asserted that “because of [Cain’s] wickedness he became the father of an inferior race.” (The Way to Perfection, p. 101)

Finally, in 1978, in response to widespread social condemnation (and undoubtedly a desire to increase the number of potential converts), then-prophet Spencer W. Kimball announced a new “revelation” that the church should abandon its racial restrictions on the priesthood (but not the “revealed” racist passage in 2 Nephi, nor the racist statements of previous “prophets”). That’s a bit different than the way science handled the matter, eh?

3. Science improves daily life. Religion doesn’t. One clear example of this is in the field of medicine. Scientists discovered the microbial nature of disease. That discovery led to use of antiseptics and the later development of antibiotics, which have saved the lives of untold millions.

In contrast, religion has led to no developments that improve daily life. (And please don’t start talking about the power of prayer and the peace it brings–we’re speaking here of demonstrable physical improvement.)

4. Science leads. Religion lags. A good example of this is our understanding of the universe beyond the Earth. Early scientists (Copernicus, Galileo, et al.) led the way to accurate description of the physical universe.

At the same time, the church was insisting that the sun revolves around the Earth, and hauling scientists who dared to state the opposite before the Inquisition.

Another example is the scientific versus religious attitude toward women. Science has established that while there are obvious and not-so-obvious differences between men and women, their intellectual abilities are almost identical (with a few end-of-the-bell-curve differences in a few specific areas).

In contrast, religion has insisted on the inferiority and consequent subordination of women from antiquity. To cite but two of a great many Bible verses denigrating women, “How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?” (Job 25:4) and “These [redeemed] are they which were not defiled with women.” (Revelation 14:4)

Today, some religions have acknowledged reality and accept the equality of men and women. Others have dug in their heels and still insist upon female subordination, though most are now wary of openly stating that women are inferior. And it’s safe to say that the more conservative the religion–that is, the more literally its members take their scriptures–the more likely they are to insist upon the inferiority and subjugation of women.

5. Finally, as Neil deGrasse Tyson famously remarked, science opens doors and religion closes them. Science not only leads to improvement in daily life, but to broader intellectual horizons; it encourages people to think for themselves, to question everything; it leads to one question after another.

Religion insists that all the answers are contained in ancient holy books, and that it’s wrong, dangerous to question those answers–that you have an intellect, but you shouldn’t use it.

It’s hard to conceive of anything more stultifying.