Coral's Recommended Reading & Resources - Patriarchy, Religion & the Oppression of Women
A Tribute to Matilda Joslyn Gage: Women, Church & State - Addressing Our Patriarchal Violence-Accepting Society
I agree with Matilda Joslyn Gage, a progressive visionary of women’s rights and human liberation in the late 1800’s, that the
Euro-American patriarchal Christian/Catholic religions are the root cause of violence in our society today. The greatest obstacle to
woman’s freedom and equality lies in the teachings of the church: that woman was created inferior to man, brought sin into the world
and is therefore under an especial “curse.” I know these teachings to be false and support my statement with my life testimony and documentation. ORDER "Women, Church & State" by Matilda Joslyn Gage
EXCELLENT ARTICLE by Louise, Pandora's Project - TRAUMATIC BONDING
"Traumatic Bonding: Judith Herman writes about the tendency of abused children to cling tenaciously to the very parents who hurt them. Perpetrators of sexual abuse may capitalize on this tendency by giving their victim the only sense of specialness, or being loved, that they have ever had. Bessel van der Kolk tells us that people subjected to trauma and neglect are vulnerable to developing the tendency to traumatically bond with those who harm them. Traumatic bonding is often behind the excuses of battered women for the violence of their partners, and for the repeated returning to a batterer." (Posted with the Permission of the Pandora's Project, August 10, 2014)
"The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. These subtilized interpretations are highly manifold according to their nature and have almost nothing to do with the original text. For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people.
"I do not believe in a personal god and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it." In his book "The World as I See It," he wrote: "A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which are only accessible to our reason in their most elementary forms—it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man." - Albert Einstein
You may find the following Bible verses hard to believe even though fundamentalist Christians claim they are inspired by God and
everything in the Bible is true for all time and must be taken literally. (Keep in mind that Bible translations differ.)
All too little has changed since the first public exposure of pedophilia by priests and pastors. "Betrayal of Trust" (92 pages) documents
the patterns of denial, inaction, cover-up, collusion, "forgiveness of sins," and blame of victims endemic in many church congregations and denominations.
What is a good enough reason for divorce? Well, according to Rick Warren’s Saddleback church, divorce is only permitted in cases of
adultery or abandonment -- as these are the only cases permitted in the Bible -- and never for abuse.
Crown Him Patriarchy by Kathleen Trigiani
What is the kernel of patriarchy? What is the core concept which undergirds this complex, paradoxical social system? The general consensus is that it's the fear and control mechanism of "somebody's got to be in charge--and that somebody's got to be a male."
Fundamentally, patriarchy is "the manifestation and institutionalization of male dominance over women and children in the family and the extension of male dominance over women in society in general. "While it implies that men control society's institutions, it does not infer that woman lack rights. Many people are aghast when they hear we're still in a patriarchy. Didn't the women's movement abolish those backward laws? Haven't most weddings removed "obey" from the vows? True, second wave feminist activism brought about many breakthroughs. But the net effect of those reforms was the modernization of patriarchy, not the absolution of it. Never forget that fear and control kept the Equal Rights Amendment out of the U.S. Constitution.
In a contemporary American patriarchy, the family name is the father's name. Brides don't obey, but grooms don't promise to treat them as equals.
Many women wonder why men sometimes seem insecure. Allan Johnson would respond: "Men's participation in patriarchy tends to lock them in an endless pursuit of and defense against control, for under patriarchy, control is both the source of and the only solution they can see to their fear." In such a culture, is it any wonder that most men paradoxically feel powerless? Most men don't harbor delusions of grandeur. But in a patriarchy, "every man is diminished if he can't sustain a self-image in which somewhere, in someone's eyes, he's seen as triumphant, a winner, dominant, heroic, or at least, in control of things."
15 Bible Text That Prove that God's Own Party (GOP) is at War with Women by Valerie Tarico
50 Simple Questions for Every Christian by Guy P. Harrison
Written in a respectful and conversational style, this unique book is designed to promote constructive dialogue and foster mutual
understanding between Christians and non-Christians. The author, a skeptic and journalist, asks basic questions about Christian belief.
What is the born-again experience? Why would God want to sacrifice his only son for the world? Do miracles really happen? How reliable is the Bible? What is the rapture? Why isn't everyone a Christian? Each question is followed by commentary and analysis that is skeptical and tough but never argumentative or condescending. Christians will find the book useful as a basis for developing their apologetics, while skeptics will welcome Harrison's probing rational analysis of religious claims.
"Every Christian on the planet should read this book. They will be pleasantly surprised by Harrison's respectful tone and sincere desire to enlighten. Far from an attack or a series of arguments, this book explains, in plain English, why some people are skeptical of Christianity. This book is nothing less than a rare opportunity to close the gap between believers and nonbelievers, and to bring more light and tolerance to the world." -Peter Boghossian, Instructor of Philosophy, Portland State University
The real brilliance of patriarchy is right here: it doesn’t just naturalize oppression; it sexualizes acts of oppression. It eroticizes domination and subordination and then institutionalizes them into masculinity and femininity. Men become real men by breaking boundaries—the sexual boundaries of women and children, the cultural and political boundaries of indigenous people, the biological boundaries of rivers and forests, the genetic boundaries of other species, and the physical boundaries of the atom itself. The sadist is rewarded with money and power, but he also gets a sexual thrill from dominating. And the end of the world is a mass circle jerk of autoerotic asphyxiation.
Hate Thy Neighbor: How the Bible is Misused to Condemn Homosexuality by Linda J. Patterson
One of the most widely recognized teachings of Jesus is to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Unfortunately, many Christians seem to
ignore this extraordinarily laudable exhortation when it comes to their homosexual neighbors. Widespread misconceptions regarding
what the Bible says about homosexuality are negatively impacting the lives of millions of homosexual people and their families. Contrary to what many people seem to believe, the Bible does not record a single instance where Jesus mentioned the subject of same-sex relations. In fact, of the over 30,000 verses contained in the Scriptures, only six refer to the issue. This eye-opening book explores each of these six verses, and explains why none of them should be used to condemn loving relationships between two men or two women.
Over the centuries some of Jesus’ followers have used the Bible to support such horrors as the Crusades, the Inquisition, oppression of women, burning of “witches,” anti-Semitism, and slavery. Remarkably, many Christians appear to have learned little from such offenses, and they continue to use the Bible as an excuse to oppress some of their neighbors, including their homosexual neighbors. The author discusses how biblical authors accepted and approved the practice of slavery, and how these views were used to support the scourge of slavery in America. Although the struggles of slaves and homosexual people are distinct in many ways, slavery has much to teach us about the present debate regarding the Bible and homosexuality.
Horror of Family Court, Religion & Burning Witches by Coral Anika Theill
Throughout Euro-American history, women and children were considered legal property, the chattel, of the father or husband. By taking his name, the wife "belonged" to her husband. Today, women and children are not legal property, but attitudes have been slow to keep up with the law and many men still believe it is their right or privilege to control women. I experienced, first hand, the truth of this statement when I sought safety from my husband and left with my youngest children and baby in January 1996.
In our society, domestic violence is encouraged and condoned by patriarchal based religious organizations. The fundamental evangelical Christian movements (cults) that thrive today refuse to speak out against domestic violence, rape, incest and abuse because their doctrines are the foundation for conditioning women and children to accept abuse.
Women and children are taught shame, fear and guilt and that patriarchal hierarchy must be lived out in the homes. Patriarchal religion has proven to be devastating for women around the world. External oppression of a people leads to internal oppression.
Some religious beliefs may create habitual thought patterns that actually alter brain function, making it difficult for people to heal or grow.
Religious Trauma Syndrome: How Some Organized Religion Leads to Mental Health Problems by Valerie Tarico
Groups that demand obedience and conformity produce fear, not love and growth.
We are here to speak truth. Religion most patriarchal and controlling, you have been a great many things to humanity. We will call you
now by your many names. Religion – you have been a thief. A stealthy thief of the old ways, you stole the symbols, rites, and wisdom
from our ancient keepers. You melted it down, molded it, dressed it in white robes and called it purity and divine truth. Religion –
you have been a tyranny against Woman.
Shattered Scriptures: The Bible Through the Eyes of a Former Christian by Linda Patterson
In her comprehensive guide to the Bible, former Christian Linda J. Patterson explores numerous topics that have captivated scholars and theologians for centuries and explains why she no longer believes that the Scriptures are divinely inspired.
"Many Christians, particularly fundamentalists, have been taught that the Bible offers absolute and irrefutable answers to life's most
important questions, including questions regarding morality. To be sure, the Scriptures contain some commendable ideals.
However, they also contain some pronouncements that are based upon various assumptions about the world, human beings, and social relationships that few modern Christians accept. For example, few Christians advocate polygamy, genocide, slavery, or the stoning to death of non-virgin brides or of children who curse their parents. Yet the Bible depicts God as directing such activities, and blessing those who engaged in them. And over the centuries, Christians have used the Bible to justify such horrors as the Crusades, the Inquisitions, anti-Semitism, slavery, misogyny, and the burning alive of people condemned as witches. It's critically important to increase biblical literacy by bringing scholarly knowledge to the general reader. Given the significant impact that the Bible has on social discourse, it seems to me that no person---Christian or non-Christian---can be considered well informed without having at least a basic knowledge of its texts. On hot-button issues ranging from abortion to same-sex marriage, the Bible is often invoked without even a basic understanding of its contents. There are Christians, particularly fundamentalists , who view morality as black and white, good and evil, us and them. Such an absolutist view is naive and harmful."- Linda J. Patterson, Author
Spiritual abuse is the use of spiritual knowledge to deprive, torture, degrade, isolate, control, or (in rare and extreme cases) even kill
others. It is used by evil-minded church and cult leaders, to gain advantage, dominate, or exercise control over others. The type of trauma individuals experience from cults and their leaders is similar to that described by POW’s. The trauma experienced by cult members results from being powerless and abused day after day, year after year, whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually – souls are literally emaciated. The Word of God is used like a thrust of a knife, constantly reminding the cult member (victim) of God’s displeasure and eternal damnation.
"Whenever we read the obscene stories the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon rather than the word of God.
It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it as I detest everything that is cruel.
"I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church. All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit." - Thomas Paine
For centuries the Bible has mandated the degradation of women and motherhood. Scripture has encouraged brutality toward children.
On Mother's Day, as in every year, sermons around the nation will pay homage to the "virtuous woman" of Proverbs 31, a self-sacrificing drudge who is praised for fearing "the Lord." Why should women -- and the men who honor women -- respect and support a religion that preaches women's submission? The Bible does not elevate or honor womanhood, nor does it promote a safe and wholesome environment for children. The daily newspapers are full of tragic evidence of the harm of religion, of the human suffering that results from religious indoctrination and fear. Why are physical and sexual child abuse and medical neglect multiplying in Christian homes, communities, and churches? Because the Bible sanctifies child abuse. Why do women remain second-class citizens in our country?
Why is there a religious-fostered war against women's rights? Because the Bible is a handbook for the subjugation of women. There are more than 200 Bible verses that specifically belittle and demean women. Elizabeth Cady Stanton said: "The Bible and the Church have been the greatest stumbling blocks in the way of women's emancipation."
The Patriarchy Still Rules! And Still Needs to be Upended! Why Doesn't the Victim Just Leave? by Maria De Santis of the Women’s Justice Center, Santa Rosa, CA The glaring blind spot is rooted deep in the self-preservation mechanisms of patriarchal rule. If the violent repression of women were to be recognized on a par with other violent repressions it would require nothing short of upending the missions of law enforcement, prosecutors, courts, and service organizations, and not just the adjustment of rhetoric we have now. The patriarchy male-dominated power structure resists implementing its real powers on behalf of women in order to preserve the power for itself. That’s fairly obvious.
It’s time to let go and rise above the outdated and cruel exploits of our past that we inherited from our ancestors, and realize that our
early misinterpretations of our world do not have to define the future of humanity. We have grown. We have reached a time in our history where the misunderstandings of the past must be reconciled and the truth about the origins of our early beliefs must be revealed. It’s time that our world’s religions face the tragic horrors of their past and make honest progression towards love and kindness for all of humanity. Our world, our peace and our growth all depend upon us and our ability to move forward in our understanding. It’s time to embrace our humanity and cultivate the harmonious future we all deserve.
There is a desire felt by tens of millions of Americans, lumped into a diffuse and fractious movement known as the Christian right, to
destroy the intellectual and scientific rigor of the Enlightenment, radically diminish the role of government to create a theocratic state
based on “biblical law,” and force a recalcitrant world to bend to the will of an imperial and “Christian” America. Its public face is on
display in the House of Representatives.
Patriarchy is the insidious cultural force governing our planet today; a hierarchical system supporting male domination and elite
supremacy; rooted in all religious, JUDICIAL & political belief systems that patronize a male GOD, gives MAN dominion over the Earth and appoints MAN head of the household. We must all expose PATRIARCHY for what it is - a system to subjugate women.
Narcissistic Abuse recovery for the nation truly begins by changing the dinner table dialogue in contemporary American homes.
Situational ethics include responding appropriately to the now — not repeating destructive habits in the present moment because that’s the way we were taught to think, feel, do, see things, or be.
Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence--from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror by Judith Herman, M.D.
When Trauma and Recovery was first published in 1992, it was hailed as a groundbreaking work. In the intervening years, Herman’s
volume has changed the way we think about and treat traumatic events and trauma victims. In a new afterword, Herman chronicles the incredible response the book has elicited and explains how the issues surrounding the topic have shifted within the clinical community and the culture at large. Trauma and Recovery brings a new level of understanding to a set of problems usually considered individually.
Herman draws on her own cutting-edge research in domestic violence as well as on the vast literature of combat veterans and victims
of political terror, to show the parallels between private terrors such as rape and public traumas such as terrorism. The book puts
individual experience in a broader political frame, arguing that psychological trauma can be understood only in a social context.
Meticulously documented and frequently using the victims’ own words as well as those from classic literary works and prison diaries,
Trauma and Recovery is a powerful work that will continue to profoundly impact our thinking.
Most Evangelical Christians earnestly strive to worship the God of Love and Truth. But a belief that the Bible is literally perfect can put
them in the odd position of defending falsehood, bigotry, and even violence. What do Evangelicals believe? And how do these beliefs
subvert humanity's shared moral values, including the compassionate ministry of Jesus in the New Testament? Is the Good Book even “good,” given its historical inaccuracies, scientific impossibilities, and moral contradictions? Trusting Doubt answers all these questions … and more. It also provides a clear picture of this variant of Christianity which has risen to political prominence at a spiritual cost.
Raised in a staunch fundamentalist family and educated at Wheaton College – home of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelicalism –
Valerie Tarico speaks as a former "insider." She offers alternative biblical, social, and scientific explanations that are compatible with
contemporary Christianity, interfaith understanding, and non-theism.
Why has the main current of Christianity produced a steady diet of misogyny for over 2000 years? The answer may lay partly in human biology and culture. But it also lies in the Iron Age texts of the Bible itself. The Judeo-Christian tradition of building up men by tearing down women goes all the way back to the most ancient parts of the biblical collection, to the opening pages of Genesis, and continues unabated through the New Testament.
During the years of our marriage, fear of my husband, his religious leaders and religious authorities was branded in my mind. The quiet still voice inside of me reminded me that something was very wrong. I felt alarmed, but there was nowhere to go and no one to tell. Several years of severe mental and physical abuse left my senses blunted; everything became blurred. The instincts of self-preservation, of self-defense, of pride, deserted me.
Women, Church and State by Matilda Joslyn Gage (First published in 1893)
This classic history of woman's oppression is one of the first attempts to document the sad legacy of injustice and discrimination against women, which is unfortunately inseparable from the history of both Christianity and the evolution of the Western state. Beginning in the pre-Christian era, where she finds more evidence of freedom for women than in subsequent eras, pioneering women's rights advocate
Matilda Joslyn Gage traces the patterns of male domination in both church and state that kept women in virtual bondage. Among the
topics of her research is the medieval exaltation of celibacy as an expression of the male belief that women were unclean and the cause of original sin, the gross discrimination against women in canon law, abuse of women in the feudal system, the persecution of women as witches, the virtual slave status of wives and their almost total legal subjugation to their husbands, toleration of polygamy, the debilitating drudgery of woman's daily work, and the widespread opposition to women's education by both church and state.
Perhaps the most farseeing and radical of the early feminists, Gage had the vision to realize that society's fundamental institutions had to be drastically reformed before women would begin to enjoy equal rights. Many of her concerns sound very modern: she deplored the unequal treatment of the prostitute vs. her client, the practice of non-conviction or of pardoning in rape trials, unequal pay, wife battering, the sexual abuse of female children, and many other abuses that only today are being seriously addressed. Originally published in 1893, this work was the fruit of twenty years of research and should be read by everyone who supports equality between men and women. This new edition is complemented by an introduction by renowned author, lecturer, and historical performer Sally Roesch Wagner, who helped found one of the country's first programs in women's studies. She is executive director of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation.
Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D.
Within every woman there lives a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing. She is the Wild
Woman, who represents the instinctual nature of women. But she is an endangered species. In WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES,
Dr. Estés unfolds rich intercultural myths, fairy tales, and stories, many from her own family, in order to help women reconnect with the fierce, healthy, visionary attributes of this instinctual nature. Through the stories and commentaries in this remarkable book, we retrieve, examine, love, and understand the Wild Woman and hold her against our deep psyches as one who is both magic and medicine. Dr. Estés has created a new lexicon for describing the female psyche. Fertile and life-giving, it is a psychology of women in the truest sense, a knowing of the soul. - Alice Walker
I am grateful to Women Who Run With the Wolves and to Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés. The work shows the reader how glorious it is to be daring, to be caring, and to be women. Everyone who can read should read this book."-Maya Angelou
Why I am Not a Christian by Bertrand Russell, 1927
You find this curious fact, that the more intense has been the religion of any period and the more profound has been the dogmatic belief, the greater has been the cruelty and the worse has been the state of affairs. In the so-called ages of faith, when men really did believe the Christian religion in all its completeness, there was the Inquisition, with all its tortures; there were millions of unfortunate women burned as witches; and there was every kind of cruelty practiced upon all sorts of people in the name of religion. You find as you look around the world that every single bit of progress in humane feeling, every improvement in the criminal law, every step toward the diminution of war, every step toward better treatment of the colored races, or every mitigation of slavery, every moral progress that there has been in the world, has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world. I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.
Organized religion always has been and remains the greatest enemy of women's rights.
Why do women remain second-class citizens? Why is there a religion-fostered war against women's rights? Because the bible is a
handbook for the subjugation of women. The bible establishes woman's inferior status, her "uncleanliness," her transgressions, and
God-ordained master/servant relationship to man. Biblical women are possessions: fathers own them, sell them into bondage, even
sacrifice them. The bible sanctions rape during wartime and in other contexts. Wives are subject to Mosaic-law sanctioned "bedchecks" as brides, and male jealousy fits and no-notice divorce as wives. The most typical biblical labels of women are "harlot" and "whore."
They are described as having evil, even satanic powers of allurement. Contempt for women's bodies and reproductive capacity is a
bedrock of the bible. The few role models offered are stereotyped, conventional and inadequate, with bible heroines admired for
obedience and battle spirit. Jesus scorns his own mother, refusing to bless her, and issues dire warnings about the fate of pregnant and nursing women. There are more than 200 bible verses that specifically belittle and demean women.