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I am writing because conservative Christian leaders have been stunningly and tellingly silent on one of the most pressing moral and social issues we face today: rape.

Written by Lynn Beisner for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

Dear Conservative Christian Leaders:

According to the Pew Foundation, the majority of Americans are members of your churches and look to you for spiritual and moral guidance. I am writing because you have been stunningly and tellingly silent on one of the most pressing moral and social issues we face today: rape. At least twice in the past three months, you have had occasion to speak out about the issue of rape, and you willfully cast those opportunities aside.

The most recent example is the press conference/prayer service that six pastors from your ranks held in Steubenville just two days before the trial of two young men accused of raping an unconscious teenage girl. You cited as the reason for calling your prayer service a desire to end the “discord” that was tearing the town apart. You could have moved the town closer to resolving the conflict by using the moral authority you wield in that community to clarify that inserting anything into the body of an unconscious person is rape. You could have used the occasion to denounce sexual assault in more general terms. Instead, you prayed for mercy for “the alleged victim, the alleged perpetrators of the crime and all those who may have somewhat contributed to it” and urged the town to engage in “amelioration.” Your plea for unity and peace sounded an awful lot like, “Sit down, shut up, and stop talking about rape.”

A more global example is what happened this past Christmas. The world’s attention, prayers, and good wishes were focused on the New Delhi rape victim. As the Pope gave his Christmas sermon, the victim hovered between life and death. But rather than use his time at the world-wide microphone to condemn rape or even to pray for the victim’s recovery, he used the festive occasion to rail against homosexuality.

The problem does not seem to be that you feel shy or squeamish talking about sex. You have talked in exhausting depth about a long list of what you see as America’s sexual sins—everything from pornography to gay marriage. You have written entire series of books telling women how to be pure and other books, such as Every Man’s Battle, instructing men on how to keep themselves from lustful thoughts. And on the other side of the equation, there are countless Christian sex manuals that tell married couples in very explicit detail how to have a mutually satisfying sex life.

Yet, in the thousands of church services that I have attended, in the countless hours of Christian radio I have listened to, and in the hundreds of books I have read by Christian authors, not a single one has exhorted the faithful not to rape. I conducted dozens of Google and Yahoo searches and was unable to find a single instance in which a conservative Christian leader has advocated publicly for consent in sexual interactions.

My second year in Bible College I was intrigued by why no one spoke about rape—not in our ethics classes, not in chapel sermons, and not in the churches we visited. I began asking pastors and professors why they were silent on the subject. I continue to ask that question of the many pastors and priests whom I meet as a researcher. Consistently, I get a variation on one of two answers.

The first answer is usually delivered in a very defensive tone. I am told that you do not need to preach about rape for the same reason that you do not preach against robbing banks. It is self-evidently wrong, and nobody in your congregation would do such a thing.

The idea that all rape is self-evidently wrong is belied by the fact that a significant percentage of Americans do not even believe that penetrating unconscious woman is rape. And the notion that no one in your congregation would do such a thing is equally and obviously false. Google the words rape and Evangelical, or rape and Catholic, and you will discover that not only are many of your flock committing rape, but a significant number of your pastors and priests are committing the crime as well.

Perhaps the most compelling evidence that rape is not self-evidently wrong and beneath your followers is the comments sections on many feminist websites. The most frightening and graphic rape and death threats come from people who identify themselves as conservative Christians. They tell us that God will judge us for not believing in Jesus, and then threaten to rape our daughters, often in the same paragraph.

Since rape is not self-evidently wrong in our culture, and your followers clearly commit this crime, you must speak out against it. You have established yourselves as moral authorities and fought to retain control over sexual education. This obligates you to condemn rape and to teach about consent. It is your responsibility to teach that there can be no meaningful consent when there is a significant power imbalance such as that between a teenager and a teacher or between a pastor and a member of his congregation. You must be absolutely clear and unequivocal when delivering the message that marriage does not grant one person permanent and irrevocable consent to sex, that no one is obligated to have sex with anyone else, and  that a person can withdraw sexual consent at any time, even if they are naked and were begging for it twenty seconds earlier.

The second and most common reason given for why you do not speak out about rape is that you have an overarching sexual ethic, heterosexual marriage, that makes discussions about rape unnecessary. You believe that rape is not an issue when all sexual activity is confined to heterosexual marriage.

There are several problems with using your overarching sexual ethic as rape prevention. First, you ignore the very real problem of marital rape. Furthermore, your devotion to this master ethic of heterosexual marriage renders you unwilling to educate about consent. You believe that, like access to birth control and comprehensive sex education, this undermines your message of abstinence outside of marriage. That you would be left saying “Don’t, but if you do…”

The foremost problem with your overarching sexual ethic is that it creates false equivalencies between rape and other acts that you consider sexual sins. The clearest example of this false equivalency at work can be found in the sections of the Catholic Catechism which enumerate and categorize sins. Rape is not considered an offense against another person’s bodily integrity. Instead, it is listed alongside lust, masturbation, fornication, and pornography as “offenses against chastity.” The wording of the Catechism makes the gravity of these offenses seem relatively equal. For example, while rape is said to do “grave damage,” fornication is said to be “gravely contradictory to the dignity of persons” and a “grave scandal.”

Evangelicals have created a similar false equivalency. For example, consider the case of Ernest Willis, who raped a 15-year-old girl. Court testimony reveals that the girl’s church compelled her to publicly confess to the sin of putting herself in a “compromising position” (she had accepted a ride home after babysitting Willis’ children) and to subject herself to her church’s ritualized form of public shaming. In addition, she was forced to write letters to Willis’ wife to apologize for having put Willis in a situation where he would break his marital vows. Even though it was clear that Willis was at the very least guilty of statutory rape, he was asked only to confess to breaking his marital vows, and was subjected to exactly the same public shaming in the same service as his victim. He was not brought to true justice until his victim discovered 14 years later that she could still press charges. Predictably, she was vilified and he was supported.

The example of Willis illustrates the true danger of the false equivalency created by having heterosexual marriage as the master sexual ethic. Victims of rape are seen as complicit in their attack by virtue of being in a “compromising situation,”  whether that is alone in a car with a man, as in the Willis case, or being drunk, as in the Steubenville case.

You need to face the fact that your master sexual ethic is not only failing, it is doing harm. It is not preventing sex outside of marriage and it is certainly not preventing rape. Your ethic is supporting the ideas and culture that make rape so prevalent.

I call on you to teach consent as your primary sexual ethic, to teach that a woman never deserves to be raped regardless of what she is wearing or doing, to reprove your followers for using threats of rape to harass people whose ideas they do not like. I urge you to educate your young followers that meaningful consent is enthusiastic and that it can be given only by people in full control of their faculties and when there are no negative consequences for refusing. I challenge you to use your public forums, your news conferences, television appearances, and radio shows to launch an anti-rape campaign that makes the rules of meaningful consent abundantly clear.

You teach that knowledge of the truth makes you responsible for acting on it. Now that you know the truth of the harm being done by your silence, you are responsible for taking action. If you remain silent, we will have no choice but to conclude that either you do not take your faith seriously or that you have a vested interest in seeing rape continue.

Originally posted to RH Reality Check on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 07:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  You never hear that men should be responsible (34+ / 0-)

    for their behavior from the Right-Wing Preachers. It's always someone eles's fault men are so weak they have no control over their impulses.

  •  Envision a world (15+ / 0-)

    where the Christian Right spends as much time opposing rape as it does opposing teh homersechshuls or abortion.

    We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

    by raptavio on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 07:57:22 AM PDT

    •  We have to go back in history, where... (10+ / 0-)

      plantation owners (and those who wanted to be a plantation owner) had the right to rape their female slaves to create more serviceable and marketable slaves. Plus, you couldn't get into trouble doing that.

      So, even 150 years later, not because of that kind of rape, but of the white male supremacy over everything still gives youngsters and their older role models the notion that anyone NOT a white male is OK to rape, so long as ya don't get caught... and that white males are NOT OK to do you-know-what... blah blah blah....

      Why don't our most vocal white male moral role models castigate rape or out-of-wedlock sex? They're saving it for when they get a chance. And look at all the cases where they did get away with it, saying "AH HAVE SINNED....!" (not a crime, just sin, 'cause a crime will cost you money, a sin will eventually get you pity money).

      Religion is an illusion, a delusion, and a scam.

      Ugh. --UB.

      "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

      by unclebucky on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 08:07:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am actually (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jan4insight, unclebucky, JBL55, irishwitch

        in strong disagreement with you on religion (though I am an agnostic atheist myself) and find those remarks unhelpful.

        However, with the first three paragraphs of your remark I am in large agreement. I think for these people, it is at least as much about maintaining privilege as it is about any notions of morality.

        We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

        by raptavio on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 08:14:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I love when we agree, mostly. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Carol in San Antonio, LookingUp

          Here is a reference to religion being a delusion:

          DE RERUM NATURA - LUCRETIUS
          (Written 55 BCE, Lost 900's CE, and found 1417 CE)
          Explained in "The Swerve - How the World Became Modern" by Stephen Greenblatt
          About Lucretius:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/...

          Points (1-20) from Greenblatt (2011)
          1. Everything is made of invisible particles.
          2. The elementary particles of matter - "the seeds of the things" - are eternal.
          3. The elementary particles are infinite in number but limited in shape and size.
          4. All particles are in motion in an infinite void.
          5. The universe has no creator or designer.
          6. Everything comes into being as a result of a swerve.
          7. The swerve is the source of free will.
          8. Nature ceaselessly experiments.
          9. The universe was not created for or about humans.
          10. Humans are not unique.
          11. Human society began not in a Golden Age of tranquility and plenty but in a primitive battle for survival.
          12. The soul dies.
          13. There is no afterlife.
          14. Death is nothing to us.
          15. All organized religions are superstitious delusions.
          16. Religions are invariably cruel.
          17. There are no angels, devils or ghosts.
          18. The highest goal of human life is the enhancement of pleasure and the reduction of pain.
          19. The greatest obstacle to pleasure is not pain; it's delusion.
          20. Understanding the nature of things generates deep wonder.

          BTW, I am not related to the authors or their publishers. ;)

          It is not an attack on Christianity, since Jesus hadn't been conceived much less been around. It's a consideration that religion had not even at that time been very helpful. And given that Jesus was enrapt with Paulism, basically a Greco-Roman interpretation of "The Way", I'd say that Lucretius applies to both Jesus (points 18-20) and to Christianity/christianISM (points 1-17).

          And pleasure is not (was not) a hedonistic interpretation, but rather more like "happiness" as in the US Constitution and many other analogs of Jesus, including Buddha, Rumi, Bahaulah (sp?) etc.

          That religion is a delusion IS VERY HELPFUL, even if you then adopt a religion, whether it be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Baha'i and many others. Helpful, because then you are loaded for bear and a lot less likely to be a sheeple.

          --UB.

          "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

          by unclebucky on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 09:28:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This makes no sense: (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            raptavio, Dogs are fuzzy
            given that Jesus was enrapt with Paulism

            "The fears of one class of men are not the measure of the rights of another." ~ George Bancroft (1800-1891)

            by JBL55 on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 09:48:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well known that Saul of Tarsus (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Eyesbright, unclebucky

              hijacked Christianity in the early years and the modern church has little to do with the actual teachings of that long-haired, socialist, peacenik from Nazareth.

            •  Oops. Jesus was enwrapped with Paulism (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JBL55

              As Captain Frogbert says, Paul claimed that Jesus visited him in a vision and then commenced to re-define what Jesus said and meant. = Paulism.

              Lucretius/Epicurus really allows for Jesus.

              Paulism allows for nothing else.

              Ugh. --UB.

              "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

              by unclebucky on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 08:34:26 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thanks for clarifying your meaning. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                unclebucky

                One sure-fire way I have of pissing off certain of my fellow Christians is to say about any number of Paulianisms they are unwittingly spouting in the name of Jesus, "Well, Paul is entitled to his opinion."

                "The fears of one class of men are not the measure of the rights of another." ~ George Bancroft (1800-1891)

                by JBL55 on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 12:28:50 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yep, Paul is a real problem... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JBL55

                  He wrote first in an era when there was little difference between opinion, fantasy and of course, "history", as we know it.

                  So, Paul's tales of appearances of Jesus to him could be no better than Joseph Smith's tales of appearances of angels and others. Sadly, we know of no way that a dead person can appear again.

                  All of this fantasy morphed into theology before even Poor Mark wrote the first gospel (Mark stopped when the tomb was empty and the people ran away). Then a Matthew wrote after the fall of Jerusalem. Some say that the John Gospel was written about 20 years after the fall of Jerusalem and during the reign of the mad Emperor Domitian. It is possible that Luke/Acts might have been written as late as the first part of the 2nd century. Each one of those gospels and others had the chance to absorb Paul's "theology".

                  Thus Paulism lives and the Way was placed in the background as those who fervently knew Jesus, passed that Kerygma to their kids, and then died, were unable to write an accurate account OR after the Paulists burned the documents of the Way, only some of them surviving.

                  The whole mess is a serious blot on the good name of Jesus.

                  Ugh. --UB.

                  "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

                  by unclebucky on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 09:18:18 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Which is why ... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    unclebucky

                    ... studying it for oneself is such a good idea.

                    I'll never forget the first time I read about David and Saul as an adult and thought, "Poor Saul."  Then I read further about poor Bathsheba and thought, "David was a real scumbag!" But kids aren't taught about David sending Uriah the honorable and dutiful Hittite to his death, nor do they learn about how Nathan held up the mirror and David's reaction.  And that's just one small part of the Bible.

                    If more Christians read the Sermons on the Mount/Plain more often and were given only occasional doses of Paulian opinions couched as such, Christianity would look very different.

                    "The fears of one class of men are not the measure of the rights of another." ~ George Bancroft (1800-1891)

                    by JBL55 on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 05:32:50 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Not really interested (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JBL55

            in debating the merits of religion with you.

            Am interested in not being disrespectful to those who disagree with you on the matter.

            We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

            by raptavio on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 09:58:27 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Stating one's own position (0+ / 0-)

              and saying why is not being disrespectful. Not everyone will always agree with you, and not doing so is not inherently insulting.

              Sometimes I get really annoyed with the "courtesy police" on this site. Sometimes people disagree and do it in ways that are not entirely nice. That's life.

              No one can insult you unless you let them.

              "He called me a motherfucker!"

              "Are you?"

              "No!"

              "Then what's the problem?"

              •  Remember that (0+ / 0-)

                the next time someone uses the N-word at a black person.

                Disrespect is unnecessary.

                We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

                by raptavio on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 09:04:36 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Disagreement is not disrespect (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  unclebucky

                  Calling a black person the N word is light years different from saying someone's idea is ridiculous or that their statement was foolish.

                  There is a huge difference between making a counter argument and an ad hominem attack or a racial slur.

                  And sometimes, when people say really stupid shit, disrespect is necessary. I have no intention of ever treating, say, Wayne Lapierre with the slightest shred of respect. He deserves none and has earned none.

                  •  Calling people deluded (0+ / 0-)

                    for having religious faith is not disagreement, and their faith does not make them comparable to Wayne LaPierre.

                    We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

                    by raptavio on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 05:45:02 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  If you told me (0+ / 0-)

                      you believe in Bigfoot and Santa Claus as an adult would I be justified in calling you deluded? If you believe that the GOP has your best interests at heart, could I call you deluded? If you believe that Lee Harvey Oswald killed Kennedy, acting alone, could I call you deluded?

                      If I believe you have been duped or are, in fact, deluded, can I call you deluded?

                      Or must I play the game of, well you can believe what you like, bit I think...

                      You are free to call me deluded because I believe the Earth is billions of years old and the universe is roughly 13.7 billion years old. You are free to call me deluded because I believe there is life on other planets, we just haven't found evidence of it, yet. You are free to call me deluded because I believe that all religion is the result of man's foolishness and attempts to co-opt God for their own nefarious purposes.

                      Go ahead, I won't mind.

                      Because I know I'm right and am capable of arguing for my positions from a position of strength.

                      Only people who believe they are owed a free pass and that they have a right never to be questioned or disagreed with play the "how dare you?" card.

                      If you have an argument to make, make it. But don't complain that you should never be questioned.

                      •  I love how you pivot (0+ / 0-)

                        from "It's disrespectful to call someone deluded" to 'Don't complain that you should never be questioned' in a post where you proudly proclaim that you argue from a position of strength.

                        You deceptively shift the goalposts to defend your right to be a dick to other people -- and ironically, are trying to argue that other people have no business telling you that you're being disrespectful when you do it.

                        So you're arguing that you have the right to be jerky to other people, but they shouldn't tell you not to be jerky to other people.

                        Do you see no levels of screaming hypocrisy in this line of thinking?

                        We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

                        by raptavio on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 11:48:44 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  No. (0+ / 0-)

                          I never said you don't have the right to call me a jerk (who's moving the goal posts again?) I said you can't expect people to always be nice and that disagreement isn't being a jerk.

                          It's not.

                          And even if it is, it's childish to imagine you can courtesy police all people at all times. Sometimes people, in the heat of the moment, don't finesse their arguments (go back and read your own post and tell me that's not true).

                          Be a grown up. Take it in stride. Understand the adult position that when people disagree, they are often less than polite about it. So what? Have a little backbone.

                          Jeez.

                          (See how I didn't whine and blubber about being called a dick and a hypocrite, even though I never once called you anything of the sort? That's called being a grown up. But just to be fair, Hypocrite much?)

                          Like way too many people, you make weak and sophistic arguments -- actually not even arguments, just blanket declarations -- then whinge when people call you on them. You have a right to your own opinions, but you don't have a right to never be called on them. Just because you feel something deeply doesn't make you right.

                          •  Yes, you did (0+ / 0-)

                            whine and blubber -- by loudly announcing you're not whining and blubbering. Which is exactly what I expected you to do.

                            Here's a hint: We all are dicks to people sometimes. We are also all hypocritical sometimes. Get over it.

                            At the core of all your bluster, however, is a fundamental fallacy: That disagreement requires disrespect, or rather, that one can hide disrespect in the cloak of disagreement. That's fundamentally false. One can say "I don't believe in religion and I don't see the value in doing so" without saying "You are religious, therefore you're deluded." The former is making a statement about your beliefs. The latter is insulting someone else for disagreeing.

                            And ya know what? If you want to do either, that's your right. It's also my right to tell you that if you're doing the latter, you're being a dick.

                            Don't like it? Well then, quit whining and blubbering at me for disagreeing with you.

                            We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

                            by raptavio on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 08:44:35 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

            •  Let religion defend itself ON ITS MERITS n/t (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Penny GC

              "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

              by unclebucky on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 08:32:00 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Who says that (0+ / 0-)

                religion requires a defense?

                Also, religion cannot defend itself, and neither can science. Both require people to defend them.

                Religion is just a matter of faith. If faith gives someone comfort and encourages one to be a better person, why do you feel the need to insult the faithful? You're not really possessed of such a low self-esteem that you need someone to whom to feel superior are you?

                We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

                by raptavio on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 02:59:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Then what is religion good for? (0+ / 0-)

                  Science has a track record, baby, whilst religion only relies on some scant records that were written by men, then edited and edited and translated and translated.

                  "just a matter of faith" ? That totally discredits such a religion, then.

                  For if you look at the Beatitudes, Parables, Lord's Prayer (up to but not incl. the "Doxology"), related passages and the Letter of James, you see a call to ACTION, not Faith. Or at least, ACTION FIRST, then Faith.

                  I have no reason to admit to low-esteem. Those who rely on a sky-god certainly do. For if you, as many thumpers do, pledge to be dependent on "God" (if exist) then you have a very low-esteem or a very false self esteem based on the claim of a ticket to heaven in exchange for said "faith". I don't bribe a sky-god. That puts me on a more honest relationship with the Universe.

                  I don't insult the "faithful". I merely point out that selling indulgences and trinkets was spotted many times by more ethical people who were often killed by the RCC or its descendants. Luther could have been boiled in oil like Pomponio Algerio had he ventured back to Rome.

                  So, settle down, this is a discussion based in evidence, not faith in someone's fantasies. If the "faithful" want comfort, ask them what happens when the light at the end of the tunnel winks out and NOTHING happens. Ask them what happens when the Sun runs out of hydrogen and expands to singe and then subsume the Earth? The goal is to educated ourselves properly worldwide so that we can develop the means to escape it before thumpers/fundies destroy it and before any celestial disaster ruins the chance of our descendants to get off.

                  Meh. christianISTs.

                  Ugh. --UB.

                  "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

                  by unclebucky on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 09:29:01 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You're shifting (0+ / 0-)

                    from "Religion is delusion" to a discussion of the evil actions of the RCC or Christianists.

                    No.

                    The right question is not "What is religion good for?" What is World of Warcraft good for? What is Doctor Who good for? What is The White Album good for? What is The Mona Lisa good for?

                    The question is, "What the fuck business is it of yours what people believe, as long as that belief doesn't translate to any harm to you or yours?"

                    You want to get pissed at the RCC for their efforts to deny equal rights to gays, to deny birth control to regions of the world that desperately need it, to protecting pedophiles in the clergy, then yo man, I'm right there with you. If you want to go after any so-called "Christian" leader in the US who wants to defend and perpetuate rape culture in the US, I'm your staunch ally.

                    But if you want to smugly dismiss everyone from Martin Luther King Jr to Mahatma Gandhi to Paul Wellstone to Barack Obama to Fred Rogers as "deluded" then all you're really declaring is you want to place yourself in judgment of other people who you've got no business judging. And that says something ugly about you, not them.

                    We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

                    by raptavio on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 08:51:37 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  No. (0+ / 0-)

                      The evil actions of the RCC and other thumper/fundie sects (Mormons incl.) are a detail in the whole argument of "religion is a delusion".

                      In saying that "religion is a delusion", as I posted earlier, it only prepares the postulant to be skeptical with a Martin King, Fred Rogers, and even the "written" words of Jesus (goes without saying Paul is off my list).

                      To be skeptical and to critically examine the claims of religion, literally testing what any minister, pastor, or archbishop of Rome says to see if it holds together against criticism.

                      Nope. I'm right on the path with Epicurus, Lucretius, Buddha, Jesus, Rumi, Francis of Assisi, Gustavo Gutierrez, Jon Sobrino, Pablo Friere, etc.

                      Meh. christianISTs.

                      Ugh. --UB.

                      "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

                      by unclebucky on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 09:43:58 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Here's the thing. (0+ / 0-)

                        "Religion is a delusion" is a statement of fact.

                        Agnostic atheists -- and indeed, anyone applying the rules of sound science -- understand that we cannot prove the nonexistence of God(s). We cannot demonstrate the existence of same, obviously, and thus the null hypothesis is in nonexistence. And thus, atheist.

                        To say religion is a delusion, however, is to by implication make a definitive statement -- "God definitely does not exist" -- which you cannot support with evidence. (You cannot prove a negative, as they say.) So you cross the line from rational skepticism to your own brand of faith which you present with all the zeal of the christianISTs you decry.

                        You become your own declared enemy. And all so you can insult people who believe in things which should not matter one whit to you.

                        We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

                        by raptavio on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 10:20:55 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  "God definitely does not exist" didn't say that. (0+ / 0-)

                          Remember Gandhi's statement:

                          "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

                          That's the problem, you don't seem to separate the following:

                          1. God (if exist)
                          2. "sky-god" (did NOT exist, created by men)
                          3. Jesus (did exist)
                          4. Paul (unfortunately did exist)
                          5. People of the Way (did exist)
                          6. Catholics/Christians (exist but fading)
                          7. RCC Clergy and murderers from Paul to 19th Century (exist but are increasingly irrelevant)
                          8. ChristianISTs (the danger of the 21st Century)
                          9. Dogma/Faith, the Bible, the Credo, etc.
                          10. Secular Humanity, Science, Lucretius, etc.

                          It is not a zero sum game, pal. Rather, one can have varying feelings for and against any of these topics, and more feeling for one does not necessarily mean less for the others.

                          So, keep in mind, I tease about the "sky-god", but I am serious. If a person defines "God" in a text, image or sculpture, that is a graven image. And if one then worships that man-made (the Bible was written by men...) graven image, it's blasphemy. The Muslims offer the point, don't speculate about God, because this is something ultimately unknowable. Fine with me, so I don't worry about what a God likes or not, since if the Creator is of infinite wisdom, everything is good, but not perfect for a person in a particular time or place.

                          It is RELIGION, the man made description of "God" that is the delusion, but given that a "Creator" of the Universe/Multiverse is unknowable, we cannot say that "God" is a delusion, only the crackpot religions that seek to define "God".

                          IF these religions didn't matter a "whit" to me, I wouldn't bother. Problem is that these religions inveigle and interfere with my life and they at times have tried to control on the pain of death other people's lives. For that reason, I am loaded for bear, and I confront these delusions with sarcasm, mocking, and jokes, if only to wake some people UP!

                          Ugh. --UB.

                          "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

                          by unclebucky on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 01:26:56 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  No, you did not say that, (0+ / 0-)

                            but to say "Religion is a delusion" is to proceed from the position that God definitely does not exist. Because religion can only be a delusion if God doesn't exist -- if He exists, then it is not delusional to believe in him.

                            But now you've narrowed your scope (we call this a "backpedal") in that only those religions which try to define God are delusional. (Again, not true if their definitions prove to be correct, which again is an untestable hypothesis, so my point stands: You are asserting fact which is untestable.)

                            And here's point three for you. Religions never inveigle, inveigh or interfere. A religion is an abstract. Only people can interfere in your life. And perhaps you should direct your focus to those practitioners of religion who cause you distress rather than to insult all practitioners of faith, whether they do or they don't.

                            All you do with your mockery is show your own ass, and miss what should properly be your target -- the people who use their faith as an excuse to harangue secular people like us. In your "a pox on all their houses" approach, you alienate potential allies among the faithful and exemplify the very character traits which, when present in the religious, cause you such annoyance.

                            We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

                            by raptavio on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 01:55:06 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  No. Wrong. (0+ / 0-)

                            Religion is what people make "about" God. Religion often makes a "sky-god" which people then think they can worship or praise, or leave fruit in front of. Religion is noxious. As far as God, there is no evidence, and so I leave my text littered with (if exist).

                            God (may exist) ≠ sky-god (does not exist).

                            Religion ≠ Universe, Multiverse & God (if exist).

                            With regard to mockery, if the faithful are so thin-skinned as to see the mockery of an extreme idolatry having anything to do with them, well, tough cheese. If they are truly reflective and moderate, they will see that the barrel misses them by miles.

                            Of course, here, we are talking about one aspect of this problem, the apparent blasphemy of sky-god punishers and Calvinist scolds. But I have more in my toolbox than this.

                            There is a whole bunch of stuff I would rather promote than mocking blockheads who create/worship a graven image they "call" God.

                            1. Lucretius really jibes with Jesus.
                            2. Jesus, while not God, is like us, a Son of the Creator.
                            3. Beatitudes, Parables, Lord's Prayer (up to but not incl. the "Doxology"), related passages, and the Letter of James are the "marching orders" that we should be about to build the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth (not religion, but sweat and aching backs).
                            4. Emmaus Houses in various cities.
                            5. Liberation Theology, by Gustavo Gutierrez
                            6. No Salvation Outside of the Poor, by Jon Sobrino
                            7. When my Great-great-great-grandparents were kids, there was less than 1 billion. When my Grandmother was a kid there was less than 2 billion. When my Mother and Dad were kids, there were 2 billion. When I was a kid, there were only 3 billion. Now there are 7.2 billion, and they think we can use technology to support 9 or even 12+ billion. Nonsense. Soylent Green is our future in that case, depend on it.
                            8. 7 billion can't live like the average person in Arlington Heights, IL, and 12 billion won't. But if we try, we will deface the planet and exterminate everything but what we think is necessary (it turns out to be a monoculture). We must return to overall lower expectations and between 2-3 billion, it seems we can support no more.
                            9. Music. My gosh, I could inundate you with music that is the most beautiful in the world, from all ethnicities.
                            10. Poetry. Likewise.
                            11. Language. We are losing many languages in the search for efficiency. When that happens, there goes the poetry, music, beauty and our souls.

                            Nope. I WON'T give up bashing the stupidities of thumpers and fundies. If reasonable users of religion can't see the difference, I will educate them. But my tolerance of religion is thin, given the vein of death, destruction and sorrow that is caused by religion, on the whole.

                            Believe what you want or nothing at all. I will not pander to "believers" who don't see how their tolerance of crazies like Westboro Baptist Church, Megachurches, and Personality-Based Cults. They need to be woken up.

                            That's it, raptavio. Tolerate your enemy and he will stab you in the neck.

                            Ugh. --UB.

                            "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

                            by unclebucky on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 04:53:44 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Really... (0+ / 0-)

                            So your evidence for this is?

                            God (may exist) ≠ sky-god (does not exist).

                            Religion ≠ Universe, Multiverse & God (if exist).

                            You also try to redefine 'religion' to suit your argument.

                            The remainder of your post is full of nonsequiturs and other fallacies which, frankly, serve only to provide a thin veneer of rationalization for what I have become convinced is nothing more than bigotry on your part.

                            I really tire of arguing this with you... obviously you want to feel that sense of smug superiority about being secular while others believe in a (sky, earth, space, extradimensional, transubstantiated) god(s).

                            Myself, I find people with confidence in their philosophy don't feel the need to put adherents of others down.

                            More's the pity for you, because your claimed goals run counter to your tactics.

                            This will be my last post on this matter.
                            End of line.

                            We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

                            by raptavio on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 05:12:26 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I had no inclination to "argue", but you... (0+ / 0-)

                            are simply one of those who are "hair splitters" and not interested in finding ways to communicate.

                            "last post" eh?

                            Hehehe.

                            Ugh. --UB.

                            "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

                            by unclebucky on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 02:07:01 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

      •  What is wrong with out of wedlock sex as long (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        irishwitch

        as all parties (including the husband/wife of the person in question, it's not cheating as long as everyone agrees to the "house rules" in advance) are fully consenting?

        You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

        by Throw The Bums Out on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 10:01:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  no moolah in that and it takes lucre to get a sin (8+ / 0-)

      top billing in a sermon.  Rape is a nonstarter because many good Christian men could see circumstances where they could be guilty of such and who wants to hear about a sin you may commit?

      Better to hit abortion because that is not a guy thing and as far as Teh Gay, that is icky so no good Christian male would ever do something like that.  After all sermons are performance art and this means the preacher has to pander to his audience or else they won't throw coins into the hat errrrrrrrr collection plate.

      After all we go to Church to hear what a great afterlife we are scheduled for and how awesome we are while our enemies are condemned to Hell and we are told how horrible they are.  

  •  BTW (7+ / 0-)

    Tipped and recommended for great justice.
    I'd create a sockpuppet account just to rec this twice. :)

    We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

    by raptavio on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 07:58:31 AM PDT

  •  And the RCC steps in IT again... n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Onomastic

    "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

    by unclebucky on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 08:00:16 AM PDT

  •  Women are responsible for rape. (14+ / 0-)

    Not men.

    Therefore, it's a womens problem.

    And since they just don't give a shit about women.

    There's no problem.  

    My dogs think I'm smart and pretty.

    by martydd on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 08:06:09 AM PDT

  •  Taking a stand against rape (11+ / 0-)

    would imply that women have the right to control their own bodies.  That would be an obvious conflict with written rules in many religions.

    Consequently, the leaders of these religions must look the other way while men rape women in order to maintain the power that they derive from keeping women in inferior roles.

    So much for morality.

    "Trust only those who doubt" Lu Xun

    by LookingUp on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 08:06:18 AM PDT

  •  Religion is control (12+ / 0-)

     Men want desperately to control women.  When they feel they are losing control  they use other methods to gain control.  Stalking, abusive behavior, (financial, physical or mental) are methods they use.  When they lose control over their lives they are more likely to strike out.

    Just like with the abortion issue.   Women are whores and harlots who want to kill Gods babies. never do you hear the religious right talk about the responsibility of the other party who created the fetus.  That men need to step up financially and emotionally for the woman.  That men need to keep their pecker in their pants, or face the consequence.  

    My Brothers Keeper

    by Reetz on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 08:06:33 AM PDT

    •  Well, sure they want to control women. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite

      But it's only because they are trying to protect women from evil men.  Or from themselves.  Poor misunderstood babies.

      (Disclaimer: this is not directed to men who are not trying to control women.  Just the dickheads.)

      "The fears of one class of men are not the measure of the rights of another." ~ George Bancroft (1800-1891)

      by JBL55 on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 09:56:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not quite "never" (0+ / 0-)

      Among some other, scary, things, the Promise Keepers preached that men should obey their marriage vows.

      Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

      by Dogs are fuzzy on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 12:16:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  in their eyes, rape is "normal" and any pregnancie (6+ / 0-)

    are a gift from God.  In their eyes, abortion and BC is murder; you have to start at this point as they feel murder is the most heinous of crimes except for Teh Gay.  Now how they pick out which sins or crimes are the worse, I dunno except these leaders stand for the status quo.

    For these statists, all civilization stopped developing 2000 years ago when we all got the rulebook.  Buffet Christians tend to abhor the sins which they feel they are least likely to commit, i.e. abortion and Teh Gay.  Other sins or crimes they are ambivalent over because they and theirs could one day find themselves committing said crimes.

    Also we have to mention the Fall, which was all Eve's fault and which has been used as a reason to mistreat women for millennia.   This means rape happens when women entrap men into attacking them for their own nefarious reasons.  After all, access to sex is the females' domain and anytime sex happens, it has to be the female who is at fault, no matter the circumstances.

    Perverted world view to be sure but to some degree the view of many Americans who view women as Bed and Breakfasts, created for sex and housekeeping only      

    •  Ah yes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      entlord

      Glorious men would never have lustful thoughts unless those women made us do it. They MAKE us rape them, I tell you!

      Those women should take responsibility for their own actions like we men do.

      And besides, it's not rape unless three or more of my respectable male friends are there watching.

  •  This is an outstanding diary. (8+ / 0-)

    I wish I could tip and rec it 1,000 times; my one tip and one recommendation will have to suffice.

    The sickly, corrupt Catholic church is rapidly waning as an authoritative voice in the human-rights discourse, but it still has too much influence in society.

    Thanks.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 08:31:08 AM PDT

  •  Rape is about control and so is religion. (12+ / 0-)

    They are just two different ways of enforcing such control.

  •  Do you know how much one such sermon (20+ / 0-)

    would have meant to me?

    My father used "Children obey your parents" to threaten me with hell if I didn't let him (not struggle) rape me.  When I once asked at Evangelical/Fundie youth group (during a "children obey your parents" sermon) "what if they tell you to sin?" The answer I got was, "God won't hold you accountable for that sin as your job is to obey."

    It never occurred to me that there was a sin separate from the fornication.  I knew I wasn't supposed to be having sex and so I was sinning by "allowing" (how the hell was I supposed to stop it?) my father to rape me.  I had no idea that my sin was not as great as his.  (Thanks to my great therapist who finally showed me the light!  I did not sin.)

    I'm now a UU.  We teach our children that no one should touch them in a way that makes them uncomfortable.  We teach our children about consent and mutual respect.  We teach our children about how societal messages perpetuate sexism and a rape culture.  How I wish I had been exposed to healthy, sex positive, religious/moral education!

  •  "you do not preach against robbing banks" (4+ / 0-)

    I thought that was preached?  Isn't one of the Ten Commandments "Thou shalt no steal"?

    Moral authority?

    Also enlightening was this:

    The clearest example of this false equivalency at work can be found in the sections of the Catholic Catechism which enumerate and categorize sins. Rape is not considered an offense against another person’s bodily integrity. Instead, it is listed alongside lust, masturbation, fornication, and pornography as “offenses against chastity.”
    I was a raised in a relatively strict Catholic household - certainly more strict than friends I know who are still practicing Catholics, but could certainly be termed "Cafeteria Catholics".  Funny how subjects like this are not even touched upon in the religious training of Catholic youth.  I went through the Cathecism up to Confirmation, and while the subject of lust was discussed, never in the context of rape.  I guess that's a subject for the "serious thinkers".

    Of course, when looking at the Abrahamic religions you are seeing a snapshot of morality as it existed over 2 millenia ago.  In those times there was no concept of "consent" or "rights" except for those in power.  IMO these religions are not only mysonginistic, but misanthropic.  It's all about "God" and hardly ever about "people".

  •  you expect a patriarch to defend women? (0+ / 0-)

    Running around saying and doing things for other people would surely defeat the purpose of being the big man in charge.

    •  That is precisely a patriarch's job, in fact. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassandra Waites

      I'm no fan of patriarchy any more than I am of monarchy, and for many of the same reasons -- but in both systems, it is the job of the one in charge to protect and defend those he rules.

      A patriarch bloody is expected to defend women, and children and the poor and the disabled and all the other non-patriarchs in the system, if he's taking the responsibility that goes with his privileges.

      Nobody takes that part seriously anymore.

      •  nobody ever took that part seriously (0+ / 0-)

        Just about every powerful man in history has been a monster who was only interested in indulging his various primitive impulses.  From endless warfare to endless eating, drinking, and womanizing, the aristocracy was pretty open about their primary responsibility being to glorify themselves, no matter the cost to the nobodies whose proper place it was to labor at the aristocrat's command.  To the extent that they were aware of other beings around them, they justified themselves with the arguments that simply being in their presence and serving them was honor in itself and besides, why would you want to be represented by anyone less magnificent?  The world does not shine brighter as the Sun dims in the evening.

        From emperors to gang leaders, the actions, the motives, and the results are all the same.

  •  I Can Speak With a Former Insider's Knowledge (9+ / 0-)

    I Can Speak With a Former Insider's Knowledge because I was in the business of evangelical Christianity for a while, consulting with pastors and other leaders.

    You'd be right in thinking that Republican leaders and pundits live in a bubble, but it's nothing compared to the bubble of evangelical leaders. They are easily the most uninformed and misinformed people I've ever met. Easily.

    And the most easily led. Push the right buttons and they activate.

    Further, most are truly motivated by vanity and ego, though it takes slightly different forms from one denomination to another, and sometimes from one leader to another. It's always disguised but make no mistake: it is vanity and ego.

    Now, of course, many have jumped from the "slow train coming" to the political choo-choo. Preaching the Roman Road week after week just got too boring.

    Why don't they rail against rape? Because they're male dominated and primitive. Always keep that in mind and they'll be easy to understand, and their actions will be predictable.

    A Southerner in Yankeeland

  •  The Bible LOVES rape....that's why!!!! (9+ / 0-)

    Rape and slavery are always permitted in the bible.
    That's why they won't speak out against it.
    Rape is encouraged.

    Why any woman would follow any religion is beyond me.
    Men make the rules to control women.

    1 Timothy 2:11-12:
    11A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.

    Deuteronomy 22:28-29:
    If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father.  Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.

    Judges 5:30:
    They must be dividing the spoils they took: there must be a damsel or two for each man, Spoils of dyed cloth as Sisera’s spoil, an ornate shawl or two for me in the spoil.

    Zechariah 14:1-2:
    Lo, a day shall come for the Lord when the spoils shall be divided in your midst.  And I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem for battle: the city shall be taken, houses plundered, women ravished; half of the city shall go into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be removed from the city.

    You wan't more examples?

    •  I'm a woman ... (0+ / 0-)
      Why any woman would follow any religion is beyond me.
      ... and I agree with you only in that I wouldn't be a member of any Christian church that advocated second-class citizenship for half the human race when Jesus taught the exact opposite.

      "The fears of one class of men are not the measure of the rights of another." ~ George Bancroft (1800-1891)

      by JBL55 on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 10:11:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bullshit... (0+ / 0-)

      ..I realize this website show great tolerance of those anti-Christian, anti-Bible & anti-religion.   And I am all for that tolerance.

      But the Holy Bible does not condone rape.

      Just like theocons cherry-pick scripture to justify their crazy stances, you have cherry-picked scripture to justify your equally crazy stance.

      If Daily Kos will not tolerate right wingers coming here talling shit about Muslims, it should also not tolerate left wingers coming here talking shit about Christians.

      To any Republican reading this, I request you write a diary about why Republicans are such assholes. I promise to tip & recommend such a diary.

      by wyvern on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 10:35:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're free to present (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        radmul, Dogs are fuzzy, tgrshark13

        scriptural evidence to support your alternative interpretation.  Simply saying that something is BS when someone has provided actual textual evidence isn't a very compelling counter-argument.  I value my leftist Christian comrades, but I must confess that I think rightwing Christians are generally more accurate and holistic readers of the Bible, the former instead seeming to cut everything out of the Bible except the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes.

      •  oh really? (4+ / 0-)

        I have given you actual examples. And the Bible is FULL of that bullshit.

        Can you give me 1 example of the bible saying raping a woman is bad?

        Just one....I'll wait.

        Seems to be missing from the 10 commandments....along with child molestation.

  •  They do not see 'rape' as actually existing (11+ / 0-)

    Women are made for the pleasure and support of the Man.

    period.

    Men can do with women what they want.

    ANYTHING that gets in the way of this is bad.

    Ignorance with a hint of sociopathy, couched in a primitive organized superstition.

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 09:40:39 AM PDT

  •  The Bible is full of rape examples. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nicci August

    Heck, Biblical culture, for centuries, was a rape culture.

    Jesus tried to change that by forgiving a prostitute, for goodness sakes, and telling everyone that "he who is without sin should cast the first stone."

    But I guess it really is hard for one guy to change four thousand years of cultural practice.  

  •  Good luck... (3+ / 0-)

    ..you are questioning a group that also refuses to speak out in behalf of the poor; who refuse to speak out concerning the evils of unrelegated gun play; who say nothing when anti-abortion radicals bomb clinics & say nothing when their unhinged parishioners make bigoted remarks about Obama, gays & Muslims.

    So you expect this same bunch to speak out again rape?

    Like I said, good luck.

    To any Republican reading this, I request you write a diary about why Republicans are such assholes. I promise to tip & recommend such a diary.

    by wyvern on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 10:29:22 AM PDT

  •  Old Testament: Lot, "Sacred Hospitality," and Rape (0+ / 0-)

    On the one hand, yes, protect people from lynch mobs.

    On the other hand, offering up your daughters to a mob instead?

    http://bible.cc/...

    So, yeah, there's that.

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