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Why Women Need Freedom from Religion: The Effects of Patriarchy

"PATRIARCHY is simple not the domination of women by men. Patriarchy is an integral system in which men's control of women's sexuality, private property, war, violence, and the institutions of conquests, rape, slavery, arise and thrive together. The different elements are so intertwined that it is impossible to separate one as the cause of the others. Patriarchy is an integral system of interlocking oppressions, enforced by violence. The whole of the patriarchal system is LEGITIMATED by patriarchal religions. This is why changing religious symbols is necessary if we hope to create alternatives to patriarchal religions." - Carol P. Christ

What is Patriarchy

Patriarchy is the insidious cultural force governing our planet today; a hierarchical system supporting male domination and elite supremacy; rooted in all religious & political belief systems that patronize a male GOD, give MAN dominion over the Earth or appoint MAN head of household. Patriarchy has dominated the world for many centuries now keeping the numerous powers and gifts of the female under its control. Since the Goddess as Divinity, Earth, Mother & Life-Giver has been deliberately suppressed, supplanted and diminished by patriarchal religion & social systems, along with the feminine powers of birthing and sustaining all life on earth, it has sadly resulted in the sick and dysfunctional world we live in today! Patriarchy creates illusions of male supremacy, power & importance. Of course the idea of male supremacy is absurd, but when we uphold this delusion we are actually supporting & sustaining a hierarchical system that keeps many people oppressed, sick, dependent, poor or powerless. We must also realize that by relinquishing our power to Patriarchy we actually justify, condone or rationalize condescending or abusive treatment toward females, children, animals, nature, and any other life-form considered less valuable! Patriarchy sits at the root of misogyny, codependency, sexism, racism, homophobia, religious fundamentalism, various addictions, wars, genocide, greed, pornography, violence against women and children; obsession with body image; eating disorders, domestic violence, child abuse, rape, incest, crimes against humanity & other abuses we see in the world today. Patriarchy is a belief system that stifles our true essence by creating a false sense of reality. It perpetuates shame and deterioration of the soul because it goes against the natural forces of life. The truth is... We are all spiritual beings, one with Nature, one in Spirit, valuable and complete in the framework of our design, and we must reclaim our divinity, unique mysteries, and deep connection with the natural world in order to fully recover. The laws and forces that govern life, yin and yang, are balanced, flowing harmoniously and equally between polarities. If we are not aligned with the natural forces & cycles of life we stay unbalanced, therefore unhealthy. Males as well as females are gravely affected by Patriarchy because it defines unrealistic roles for us that are impossible to emulate without creating conflict and confusion in our basic natures and in our relationships with one another. Patriarchy teaches males to BE GOD and females to SERVE GOD, which creates wars within the self, and when there's conflict and stress within there is always discord, dis-ease & dysfunction without. In The Sacred Circle... We are reclaiming our feminine power, unique mysteries, rites of passage & celebrations to heal and recreate our lives. We are also freeing ourselves from the mental & emotional bondage of Patriarchy because it lies at the core of our codependency, diseases, dysfunctions, compulsions, addictions & oppression and true recovery isn't possible until we are restored to sanity & wholeness as children of the Earth.

The Effects of Patriarchy Patriarchy is a misogynist system that instills in us the shame of being female, so many of us go through life inwardly feeling there is something wrong with us. When we continue living this LIE we develop our own brand of self-hatred which leads in time to internalized oppression, pain, rage, fear and inner turmoil resulting in many destructive patterns, habits and addictions which complicate our lives in various ways... Patriarchy creates the fragmentation of the soul that leads to the disease of Codependency and other deadly addictions. This soul sickness starts in early years of life when we are forced to adjust to the harsh realities of a sick world then progresses into many neurotic disorders, dysfunctions and diseases if we keep tolerating or internalizing the pain that comes with it. This becomes a way of life for many of us... and once we are in this dilemma it becomes difficult differentiating true from false because our awareness of being goddess-like or sacred as a female has been greatly diminished. As women we lose our power & sense of self in Patriarchy because our unique mysteries & female values are not reflected in the Patriarchal world around us. Images of the Great Mother or Divine Feminine have been erased for centuries so it's easy to lose sight of our true identity when we lack real or mythic models that can mirror who we are. Even when sparks of sacredness emerge from within at times, they can be quickly squashed by surrounding cultural forces that keep us in constant states of fear, oppression, rage, pain or denial & cripple our ability to express ourselves freely. To heal our minds, bodies and souls we must reclaim our sacred spaces and a spiritual path that honors our unique mysteries as women, made in the image & likeness of the Goddess. This is what true recovery for women is all about. Blessed Be

by Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

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.

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 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.

But what about the blind spot of so many social workers, advocates, and therapists? Those who care about the women, and dedicate their lives to helping them? Perhaps it's one more layer of the battered women's syndrome that needs to be exposed. Because if we ourselves truly recognize the gravity of women's plight, we, too, have to move beyond the safety zones of the nurturing, supportive roles we find so comfortable.

We will be compelled to step out, challenge, watchdog, fight, demand, and make sure that the powerful, male-dominated institutions are, in fact, upended, and that they, indeed, begin to implement their full powers on behalf of women, and against the perpetrators. Only then will domestic violence victims truly have a real choice to leave.

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"We are women resisting hetero-sexist patriarchy and valuing women as human beings—and other women [and men] can choose to do this, too. Patriarchy is also practiced in our courtrooms."- Coral Anika Theill

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