I have been watching articles today about the driving protest in Saudi Arabia where women are “tearing apart the fabric of Saudi society” – according to Wahhabi muslim clerics.
What are they doing? Daring to drive a car – the licentious whores.
You see, in the Saudi Kingdom, there is no separation of church and state. Saudis are highly educated. Many are extremely wealthy. It is not some back-water civilization. But it is a theocratic and deeply misogynistic one. The combination is no coincidence.
All the Abrahamic faiths are deeply misogynistic at their root. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all originate from what Christians would call the “Old Testament”. Those texts define women as the property of their fathers, husbands, slave masters, or male relatives. They define these attitudes as moral – prescribed by the creator of the universe as just and right. So it follows naturally that societies that use these texts as sources for their moral compass oppress women as a mater of course.
In Saudi Arabia, a particularly pious mutation of Islam called Wahhabism runs the show. Roughly translated, it means “fundamentalist”. Where have you heard that before? The result of the influence of these clerics is indefensible.
Setting aside the fact that the 9/11 hijackers and countless other Islamic terrorists all come from Saudi Wahhabism, so too does a host of other barbaric injustices visited on Saudi women as a mater of law, today.
Saudi women may not go into public without a close male relative, or ride a bicycle for the purpose of transportation. They must get the permission of a male family member to marry, and cannot visit stores deemed harmful to their virtue (like music stores). What happens when they do?
The religious police beat them with batons or they are whipped publicly in the streets.
Let that sink in a while. Without the protection of a secular constitution that uses the power of the state to protect people from fundamentalists – even in a rich, modern, and educated country, you find yourselves being beaten in the street (or worse) for doing anything a holy man does not like.
The articles on the Saudi protest are all over the web today. Google it and read the defense the clerics give to justify their misogyny. Then, do another search. Search for fundamentalist, conservative, dominionist, and ironically-named “free-will” Baptist websites in this country.
Go ahead, I will wait…
Notice any similarities? If you change the name “Allah” to “God” you just might. Make no mistake about it. The cries of persecution we hear from these groups (the majority group, no less) are crocodile tears.
Their agenda is the same as the Wahhabi. Join us or die, here or in eternity. And not satisfied with that, they tell you that your sin (that they made up) will so anger their god that he will inflict devastation on everyone if you don’t do what *his* followers tell you to do. So, even if we must whip women in the streets for buying a Madonna album, or drag a homosexual behind a truck on a chain, or hang 19 people and press a 20th to death over an unsubstantiated accusation of witchcraft, that is the moral thing to do. It has to be done. It is the ultimate will of a just and holy god.
One week while I was in Boston (for work), I was able to go out to the Occupy Boston encampment one night on Dewey Square during a planned march in solidarity with the first raid on Occupy Oakland. I filed into the rear of the march and about two blocks into it, something happened that still has me thinking.
As the group passed, three smartly dressed men began heckling me as they crossed the street from one of the banking buildings. I suppose they thought it would be cathartic to do so, but if you know me, it was an invitation to engage in lengthy and deliberate conversation.
Keep in mind, that I was still dressed for work. Dress shoes, dark slacks, button up shirt, dress trench coat. I looked like them. After persuading them that I was genuine in my request to have a honest and respectful dialogue with them, and convincing them that as an adult, employed, property-owing, middle-class American, I had some limited standing to address them, we got started.
Though they were initially dismissive of my point-of-view, they were most angry that I refused to become flustered or combative, and addressed each of their criticisms with my own perspective on the subject. Eventually, one of the three was nodding in agreement with me on several points.
After about 15 mins of conversation, the group thanked me for speaking with them but had one more thing to say:
“Where did all the money for this come from? I looked at the camp and all of the tents are exactly the same. George Soros or one of his democrat buddies must be funding this if you all have the exact same tents.”
I said that the tents were generally brought by the occupiers themselves, that they paid for them. Some of them may have been donated by individuals that had an extra tent around the house and came by to drop it off, but that they were not bought by an outside group “funding” the occupation.
“That’s a bunch of crap, if they had been brought by the protesters, they would not all be the same brand, the same tent. Someone is funding this.”
I said that the tents were not the same brand or model. They were in fact, all kinds of tents. Again he said that is was a bunch of crap. At this they left, and I thanked them for their time.
As I walked back to the occupation, I realized what the man had seen. The tents (of all makes and models, ages, designs) were covered with blue tarps. Unbelievable. These men had, apparently, never covered anything with a TARP…
Except their losses while gambling our money away on toxic, sub-prime mortgage derivatives.
319 years ago today, the last of the 20 innocent people accused of witchcraft (in what would become the US) were hung, by their own neighbours, with the full authority of the colonial government of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, under “direction” of God. “Witch-hunt” would enter the American lexicon, and the premise of theocracy in American government would prove itself destructive, once again.
This would be a tragic footnote in history if we had not succumbed to religious zealotry so many times in our brief history on the planet. Indeed, we have excused these atrocities away time and time again. We cite bad apples or individuals that “pervert” the true meaning of religion, or false prophets, even supernatural demons at work among men. For every documented instance of barbarism in the name of God, we invent another excuse for Him so that we do not have to challenge our own worldview, or the myths we tell ourselves.
At any rate, religious fundamentalists wielding the levers of the state is always a bad idea. In Salem, not even those that were accused and murdered were safe, though all were Puritans (except perhaps Tituba, a slave from Barbados). As far back into history as we have records, people have used the mantle of God to justify the most horrible acts imaginable against each other. Where science and reason, observation and thoughtful consideration, flexibility and compromise are absent, irrational superstition fills the gap. Church-state separation is as much a protection from religion as it is a protection for whatever religious beliefs you may hold.
Since I doubt that this story will see much exposure elsewhere, I am posting pictures that I took of each of the 20 Salem Witch names inscribed in the only monument to this tragedy of justice. It is in a small stone-walled area right next to the old Salem cemetery constructed in recent times. Because the bodies were “thrown into cracks in the Earth” rather than buried in the Christian cemetery, this is the only place where these victims of religious fundamentalism are honoured.
The moral of this story is simple, believe whatever you want, but don’t use your “faith” to lord over your neighbours who believe differently. If the myths that we tell ourselves in history books about the Puritans are your idea of the “Christian Foundation” we built this great nation on, you should look deeper. Be careful what you wish for, the next window they look into may be yours.
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For more information take a look at: law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/FTRIALS/salem/salem.htm