Archive for the ‘Religious Crazies’ Category


Fondly Remembering Obama’s Days As A Gay, Cocaine-Using Hustler

by Kyle Mantyla

While visiting Scott Lively’s “Defend The Family” website this morning, we spotted a rather intriguing headline posted in the “Latest News” section reading “Claim: Obama was a ‘gay’ teen favored by older white sugar-daddies.”

Obviously, we were professionally required to check that out and what we found was an interview conducted by crackpot preacher James David Manning with a woman named Mia Marie Pope, who claims to have been a classmate of President Obama’s back in Hawaii in the 1970s when he was a gay, cocaine using foreigner.

“He very much was within sort of the gay community,” Pope said. “And we new Barry as just common knowledge that girls were never anything that he ever was interested in … He would get with these older white gay men, and this is how we just pretty much had the impression that that’s how he was procuring his cocaine. In other words, he was having sex with these older white guys and that’s how he was getting this cocaine to be able to freebase”:

 


George W. Bush to Raise Money for Group That Converts Jews to Bring About Second Coming of Christ

The former president follows in the footsteps of Glenn Beck, who addressed the group last year.

—By

Bush event invitation

Next week, former President George W. Bush is scheduled to keynote a fundraiser in Irving, Texas, for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, a group that trains people in the United States, Israel, and around the world to convince Jews to accept Jesus as the Messiah. The organization’s goal: to “restore” Israel and the Jews and bring about about the second coming of Christ.

Messianic Jews have long been controversial for Jews of all major denominations, who object to their proselytizing efforts and their message that salvation by Jesus is consistent with Jewish theology. Last year, Abraham Foxman, president of the Anti-Defamation League, told Politico that former Sen. Rick Santorum’s appearance at an event hosted by another Messianic Jewish organization, the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America, was “insensitive and offensive.” And Commentary magazine, which bills itself as a “conservative American journal of politics, Judaism, social and cultural issues,” noted, “it must be understood that the visceral distaste that the overwhelming majority of Jews have for the Messianics is not to be taken lightly.” Many Messianic Jews are Christians who have adopted aspects of Jewish ritual observance; others are Jews who share the Christian belief that Jesus is the Messiah.

Asked about Bush’s upcoming appearance at the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute (MJBI) event, Rabbi David Saperstein, the director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said, “It’s disappointing that he would give his stamp of approval to a group whose program is an express effort to convert Jews and not to accept the validity of the Jewish covenant.” Foxman was traveling overseas and unavailable to comment.

(After this story published, Rabbi David Wolpe of Los Angeles’ Sinai Temple, whom Newsweek has called the most influential rabbi in the country, tweeted, “This is infuriating.”)

Based in Dallas, the MJBI claims that it acts like the Apostle Paul in helping to “educate Christians in their role to provoke the Jewish people to jealousy and thus save some of them (Romans 11:11-14).” It has Bible schools in 12 countries, an online school of “Messianic theology,” and programs to train Messianic rabbis and pastors. Its logos feature a star of David and a menorah, and its website promotes the weekly Torah portion, a “Yiddish Mama’s Kitchen,” and links to purchase Judaica and books, such as Christ in the Old Testament. The nonprofit organization brought in approximately $1.2 million in revenue in 2011, the last year for which records are available.

At the November 14 event, which will be held at the Irving Convention Center, Bush will discuss his White House experiences, according to promotional materials. Bush, the group says, will “share his passion for setting people free.” Last year, Glenn Beck was the star of the group’s fundraiser, which was held at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

This year’s event is designed to bring in funds for the group’s proselytizing operations. And the former president is helping out with more than just speech-making. The most expensive of the ticket packages, which range from $100 to $100,000, includes 20 invitations to a VIP reception and photo opportunity with Bush, 10 signed copies of Bush’s book Decision Points, and passes to tour the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

Alisa Stephenson, MJBI director of events and partner relations, would not say whether Bush is receiving a speaking fee for his appearance. “We cannot have any outside advertising or any media whatsoever involved in this, so I most likely cannot answer any of your questions,” she tells Mother Jones.

A spokesman for Bush and a spokeswoman for the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum did not respond to requests for comment.

At last year’s MJBI fundraiser, Beck received a “Defender of Israel” award. During Beck’s time as host of his Fox News program (which ended in 2011), hundreds of Jewish leaders denounced his on-air rhetoric as anti-Semitic—particularly his repeated invocation of Nazis and the Holocaust to demonize political adversaries and his accusation that George Soros is a “puppet master” who collaborated with the Nazis. “One of the reasons why I love Israel so much is I’m a guy who’s for the underdog,” Beck told the audience. “I’m a Mormon, which is kind of the Jew of the Christian world.”

Robert Morris, pastor of Gateway Church in Dallas, which Beck attends, introduced Beck as a “prophet” at the event. Morris told the crowd that his church has supported MJBI because “when we do this, the Bible tells us, it’s going to change the whole world. That it’s going to hasten the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and it’s going to bring about worldwide revival.”

When asked how the MJBI managed to secure Bush to keynote its fundraiser, Stephenson cited its track record of drawing influential speakers, pointing to the appearance by Beck.

At last year’s event, members of the MJBI’s board of directors explained the organization’s mission of converting Jews to an audience of hundreds who were seated on a professional football field, wearing formal clothes, and eating pork barbecue. Rabbi Jonathan Bernis, a leading Messianic Jew and televangelist who chairs MJBI’s board of directors, maintained that “our numbers are growing and growing,” because “the Bible predicted that the day would come when the blindness would come off the eyes of the people it all began with.” He was referring to Jews. The Bible, Bernis continued, “tells us that the day will come when all of Israel will be saved.” The MJBI, Bernis said, “is one of the ministries that God has raised up to bring that to pass.” Other featured speakers last year included David Barton, the religious right’s discreditedhistorian,” who this week used Beck’s radio show to announce that he won’t challenge Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) in next year’s Republican Senate primary.

Another MJBI board member, Rabbi Marty Waldman of Baruch HaShem, a Messianic congregation in Dallas, described his own conversion experience before making a pitch to the audience to donate money to MJBI. Money, he explained, is needed to hasten the return of Jesus. With the funds it collects, Waldman said, MJBI trains “people to preach the good news of the Messiah to the Jewish people.” That’s important, Waldman noted, because when there are “enough” Jewish people who call Jesus their savior, “some sort of a trigger will go off in heaven, and our father in heaven will say, ‘Okay, son, it’s time to get your bride.'”

At last year’s MJBI event, a group called the Christian Heritage Foundation displayed a collection of Torah scrolls outside the Miller Lite Club at Cowboys Stadium. On the field, a shofar was blown, to applause.

Research for this article was supported by a 2012 Knight Luce Fellowship for Reporting on Global Religion. The fellowship is a program of the University of Southern California’s Knight Chair in Media and Religion.

Sarah Posner

Sarah Posner is an investigative journalist covering the intersection of religion and politics. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Atlantic, Salon, The Nation, The American Prospect, Al Jazeera America, and many other publications. Her website is http://sarahposner.com.


Breaking! Another NYC Baby Gets Herpes From Dangerous Haredi Circumcision Ritual

 

Metzitzah b'peh Chabad closeup

 

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has sent out an alert to medical providers warning them that another baby now has Herpes Simplex Virus 1 that was transmitted to the baby through metzitzah b’peh, the direct mouth-to-bleeding-penis sucking done briefly by haredi mohels after cutting off the foreskin.

Metzitzah b'peh Chabad closeup

Direct oral suction during ritual Jewish circumcision (metzitzah b’peh) has been documented to transmit herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 1 to newborn males (1-4). In December 2012, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) received a report of a new case of HSV-1 infection in a newborn male infant attributable to direct oral suction.
In total, 12 laboratory-confirmed cases of HSV-infection attributable to direct oral suction have now been reported to DOHMH from 2000 – 2012. Two of these infants died, and two others suffered brain damage (4). In the most recent case, the location of herpes lesions (on the penis), viral type (HSV type 1, which is commonly found in the mouth of adults), and timing of infection (10 days after circumcision) are consistent with transmission during direct contact between the mouth of the ritual circumciser (mohel) and the newly circumcised infant penis. When evaluating an ill infant boy in the weeks following circumcision, providers should inquire whether direct oral suction was performed during circumcision and consider infection with HSV or other oral pathogens. Consult with a pediatric infectious disease specialist for guidance regarding the diagnosis and management of an infant with suspected herpes infection; also, see reference #5 under “References and resources” at the end of this alert.…

 


Erik Rush: Obama Bringing About the Apocalypse

Conservative columnist Erik Rush continues to test the boundaries of Poe’s Law in his latest column which argues that President Obama is part of a communist government-media-law school conspiracy that is bringing about the End Times:

At present, the snapshot looks like this: There is a dedicated communist residing in the White House in the form of one Barack Hussein Obama (This is probably not even his given name, but we won’t go there right now). Many conditions conspired to bring this about, and to keep Obama in power.

Part of it had to do with the cult of personality, particularly concerning his ethnicity. Part of it had to do with patriotic and otherwise engaged Americans having capitulated to the dictates and erroneous interpretations of American law proffered by communist academics and lawyers; this gave rise to the rise of progressive and Marxist thought and policies in America, which should have been addressed with extreme prejudice 70 years ago.

A starry-eyed press, indoctrinated into liberal-socialism by communist journalism school professors, have become no less than a state propaganda bureau. Thus, the press as most of us understand it, no longer exists. We can count on their doing all they can to aid Obama and the mission of the radical left in the foreseeable future. The most harmful realm in which they currently operate is that of nondisclosure, whereby they are withholding vast amounts of information concerning the criminality of this administration from the public, and the degree of power it continues to criminally usurp and coalesce.

Many Americans have wondered why, like the press, GOP leaders are also withholding vast amounts of information concerning the criminality of this administration from the public. Whether they are too well-sated and disconnected to care, or they are deliberately running interference for congressional socialists, it still spells complicity.

I don’t often go out on the limb of religious doctrine, but you have to admit that in the aggregate, this all lends credence to Armageddon dogma, whether one subscribes to the Millennialist view, of if one merely accepts the Book of Revelation (there being a difference). If one recognizes neither, there’s still the dystopian science fiction atrociously-oppressive government scenario. Interpreting it as politics as usual would be, in my view, a form of desperate denial.

Whether the individual American, apprised of these facts, determines to become a full-blown prepper in response to it, or to set aside a revolver with one bullet in the chamber, the days of sitting on the sidelines are over, like it or not.

Sorry if you though the Mayan end-of-the-world thing would be our “easy out…”


Strange Gods: The Religious Right’s Offensive Response To The Tragedy In Connecticut

by Rob Boston in Wall of Separation

As soon as we start talking about official prayer in public schools, we also start talking about which religion, what prayer and whose God. The God that gets talked about or promoted in your school could easily be the God that is worshipped by people like Mike Huckabee and Bryan Fischer.

As soon as I heard about Friday’s horrific school shootings in Newtown, Conn., I knew it would only be a matter of time before some Religious Right extremist blamed it on the lack of mandatory prayer in public schools.

It didn’t take long. First out of the crazy box was former Arkansas governor and erstwhile presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

“We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools,” Huckabee said during an appearance on the Fox News Channel. “Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?”

He added, “We’ve made it a place where we don’t want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability — that we’re not just going to have be accountable to the police if they catch us, but one day we stand before, you know, a holy God in judgment. If we don’t believe that, then we don’t fear that.”

Not to be left out of the Nitwit Sweepstakes, the always-offensive Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association quickly chimed in with this gem: “You know the question’s gonna come up, where was God? I thought God cared about the little children, God protected the little children. Where was God when all this went down? And here’s the bottom line: God is not gonna go where he’s not wanted.”

Fischer continued, “Now we have spent, since 1962 – this, we’re 50 years into this now – we  have spent 50 years telling God to get lost, telling God, we do not want you in our schools, we don’t want to pray to you in our schools, we don’t want to pray to you before football games, we don’t want to pray to you at graduation, we don’t want anyone talking about you in a graduation speech. We’ve kicked God out of our public school system. And I think God would say to us, ‘Hey I’ll be glad to protect your children, but you’ve gotta invite me back into your world first. I’m not gonna go where I’m not wanted. I am a gentleman.’”

People sometimes ask me why Americans United is so adamant about keeping organized, school-sponsored forms of prayer and religious worship out of public education. On occasion I encounter those who assert, “What’s the harm in a little prayer or talk about God? Isn’t it good for kids?”

Huckabee and Fischer are walking examples of the harm. Remember, as soon as we start talking about official prayer in public schools, we also start talking about which religion, what prayer and whose God. The God that gets talked about or promoted in your school could easily be the God that is worshipped by people like Huckabee and Fischer.

Personally, I have no use for the God of the Religious Right – and I don’t think I’m alone there. The God of the Religious Right allows 20 children and eight adults to die in a school because he’s in a snit over his alleged expulsion from public education.

The God of the Religious Right is mean, petty, vindictive and not very ethical. The God of the Religious Right is all hate and retribution, with no love and acceptance. The God of the Religious Right, in my opinion, is not worthy of our worship.

This is America, and supporters of the Religious Right are free to worship that God. Members of that movement are free to approach that God in fear – never joy – as is their wont. But let’s be clear: They want to use our public schools, a taxpayer-supported institution that serves children of many faiths and philosophies, to push that God on your children, mine and everyone else’s. They have no right to do that.

The good news is that millions of Americans reject the God of the Religious Right.  They reject a God based on fear, division, violence and retribution. The God that many Americans worship is so far removed from the God of the Religious Right that we can’t paper over the difference by pretending it’s a minor theological tiff and that, at the end of the day, most Americans worship the same deity.

No. The entity Huckabee, Fischer and their allies tremble before and beseech is so alien to most of the devoutly religious people I know that they would not even recognize it as God.

(Millions of Americans also know that in the wake of a tragedy like this, the proper response is  words that offer comfort, not divisive displays of ignorance.)

So let us make no mistake: When Huckabee, Fischer and their allies speak of bringing church and state closer together or removing a few bricks from the church-state wall to allow “a little religion” into our schools, this is the God they would set loose. This is the God they would preference by law. This is the God they would force you to support. This is the God they would foist onto your children.

If this isn’t your God, or if you’re one of the many Americans who recognize no God, you must speak out against offensive Religious Right foghorns like Huckabee and Fischer. You must challenge those who exploit sorrow for political gain.

And you need to stand up for the one thing that keeps the God of the Religious Right from becoming the government’s favorite: the wall of separation between church and state.


Everything you wanted to know about male supremacy and were too oppressed to ask

Why did ancient cultures only ban homosexuality among men and see abortion as a crime against males? Dr. Zvi Triger examines how ancient laws and social norms have promoted patriarchy.

By Avner Shapira
Patriarchy and sex

Illustation by Yael Bogen
Tali Meyer
Zvi Triger, whose lectures are aired on Army Radio. Photo by Tali Meyer
The terms “gender” and “homosexuality” had not been invented in the 11th century, but even back then the Persian ruler and poet Keikavus already knew what “real men” needed. In his book “Qabus nama,” he recommended that his fellow men not restrict themselves to sexual intercourse with only one of the sexes. Instead, he maintained that they should feel free to conduct relations with women or adolescent boys, according to the seasons. Keikavus explained that because women’s bodies are cool it was better to sleep with them in the summertime, as that would help cool the man’s body. On the other hand, sleeping with boys was recommended in wintertime because their warm bodies would also warm the man making love to them.

Literary scholar Dr. Zvi Triger recounts these pseudo-medical recommendations in the course “Crimes against patriarchy: adultery, abortions and homosexuality from antiquity to today,” which he is currently teaching on Army Radio’s “University on the Air” show on Mondays at 8:30 P.M. The lectures will also come out in book form next year, in the “University on the Air” series published (in Hebrew ) by Modan.

Triger sees expression of a phenomenon that recurs in quite a few ancient cultures in Keikavus’ text: Just as in ancient Greece, there is no sweeping prohibition of sexual relations between men in the “Qabus nama.” Still, the apparently accepted norm is that an adult male is entitled to sleep with women and adolescent boys, but not with other adult males.

“On the face of it, Keikavus’ words express sexual fluidity and a great deal of openness,” Triger says, during a conversation in Tel Aviv. “But, in actuality, we see that patriarchal values are reflected in them, in the manner of representation of the woman’s body and of the adolescent boy’s. The advice is being given to an adult male … It is a wholly masculine point of view, and there are no parallel recommendations for a woman about when and with whom she ought to sleep.”

In his talks, the scholar presents the diverse ways in which laws and social norms have served the male heterosexual position throughout history. He examines the attitude toward sex and sexuality in antiquity, and explains why certain actions – such as adultery and abortion – were primarily forbidden, whereas others – such as homosexual relations – were banned only for men.

The birth of the horns

According to Triger, for the purpose of preserving its existence, the patriarchal social order, under which certain men dominate women and other men, had to define “gendered crimes.” In other words, crimes that apply only to one sex, and as such should be viewed as crimes against the patriarchy. The lecturer provides plenty of examples from ancient Greece, Rome and other countries and eras, and also underscores the way adultery, abortion and homosexuality are treated in Hebrew law, as well as in contemporary Israeli law. Additionally, Triger analyzes the punitive measures against those who committed these offenses in the light of feminist and queer theory.

Triger, 40, is vice dean of the Haim Striks School of Law at the College of Management Academic Studies in Rishon Letzion, and also teaches law at Tel Aviv University; his specialties are family law, contract law and the interface between law and culture. Along with his work as a jurist, he has published a novel, “In Case of Emergency” (Hargol Publishing, 2005 ). He also cowrote (with Haaretz writer Amalia Rosenblum ) the book “Speechless – How Contemporary Israeli Culture is Reflected in Language” (Dvir, 2007 ).

In one of the first lectures in his radio course (which Dr. Hagai Boas edits ), Triger relates that in 711 C.E., a new legal procedure was enacted vis-a-vis incidents of adultery in the Byzantine Empire. Until then, it had been permissible for a man to kill his wife in the event that she had cheated on him, as well as the man with whom she had committed adultery. However, Emperor Justinian II then enacted new laws: From now on, a husband who killed a man for engaging in intercourse with his wife on a single occasion would be put on trial for murder and did not have immunity from prosecution, as had been the custom.

“Under the new laws of Justinian,” Triger explains, “the cuckolded husband had to send his wife’s lover three warning letters demanding that he stop seeing her. Only afterward, if the lover had not obeyed the letters, could he kill him and enjoy immunity from prosecution. This dictate aroused the scorn of the legal sages, who composed a parody of a letter in which a husband with the generic name Martinus Cornelius (playing on the Latin word cornutus – having horns ) urges his wife’s lover to stop seeing her. This humorous letter is the source of the expression ‘made him grow horns,’ which refers to an adulterous wife who has publicly humiliated her husband.”

Throughout history, social attitudes toward adultery reflected fear of female sexuality, Triger continues: “Originally [adultery] was an offense within the family unit, in which the father asserted his authority over his daughters and wives in an attempt to supervise their sexuality. In the ancient world, women were always perceived as suspects; as naive and therefore vulnerable to seduction; and mainly as irrational creatures who could not be relied upon. When adultery became a crime, this apparently expressed an attempt by the governing regime to weaken the family institution [because it took the supervision out of the father’s hands].”

The unyielding attitude toward both the adulterous wife and the man with whom she cheated did not disappear. Indeed, it still resonates in the Israeli criminal justice system. Triger points out that the current penal code contains the “provocation defense,” which allows a murderer’s guilt to be diminished, and his crime commuted from murder to manslaughter if there was some provocation that led him to act as he did.

“Actually, the origin of this offense is in Roman law, which was understanding in cases when a husband catches his wife ‘red-handed’ in the arms of another man and kills them both on the spot,” the scholar explains.

“In Israel, a well-known Supreme Court verdict from the 1990s – the [Maurice] Azuelos case – was lenient on a man who had murdered his wife and a neighbor, whom he suspected of being his wife’s lover. Justice Aharon Barak ruled at the time that, ‘the blood of the average Israeli [male] and average Israeli [female] might boil, when they see the female spouse or male spouse cheating.’ Even though Barak’s wording is gender-neutral, historically the ‘provocation defense’ was tailor-made for men, and experience shows that women generally do not murder husbands who have cheated in similar cases.”

Moreover, because of the Orthodox monopoly on domestic relations in Israeli law, a woman cannot marry a man with whom she had committed adultery prior to her divorce. Adultery can also lead to loss of child-support payments to the ex-wife and of the sum the husband undertook to pay her in the ketubah. And if a married woman becomes pregnant from a man who is not her husband, her children will be designated bastards.

“All these restrictions are imposed only on women,” Triger emphasizes. “A married man who has cheated on his wife and ‘made her grow horns’ will not suffer from them.”

A national womb

As with adultery, abortion was always historically deemed an offense, the punishment for which reflected man’s control over a woman’s body. In contrast to Christian thinking – which completely banned abortion and viewed it as killing the living being developing in a woman’s womb – in ancient Greece and Rome, abortion itself was not considered an offense: The rights of the fetus were not an issue there, rather the rights of the father. If the husband of the woman seeking to abort her fetus agreed to it, the abortion was legal.

Triger: “The most important thing was the consent of the man from whose seed the child was conceived, since the wife was perceived as someone who merely warmed the seed in her womb and enabled it to develop. She had no rights over the fetus, no right to decide about an abortion.

“If she had the abortion done on her own, she violated the husband’s ownership. The wife and her womb were his property. Even when a forbidden abortion was performed, the punishment was imposed on the person who carried it out (for example, whoever gave the wife a drug or potion meant to cause a miscarriage ) and not on the woman in whose body it was performed.”

He adds that in view of the birthrate crisis in ancient Rome, the campaign against abortion was designed, among other things, to compel men to get married. The laws banning abortion were also related to a demographic issue: the state’s interest in the birth of boys, who would become soldiers and fight in its service. This phenomenon, which viewed a woman’s womb as a “national womb,” recurred in modern regimes as well: In fascist Italy, abortion was deemed a “crime against the race.”

There are still people today who wish to deprive a woman of the right to decide about her own body, as evident in the widespread debate over abortion in the United States, where the issue is a highly sensitive political matter. In October the issue also made headlines in Israel, in the wake of the tragic death of teenager Raz Atias. He was shot dead by police after he threatened to kill his pregnant girlfriend and then commit suicide. The boy’s family claims the girl decided not to get an abortion after activists for the Efrat organization allegedly pressured her against it. The group, which works to encourage the Jewish birthrate, offers aid to women who are contemplating having an abortion, and tries to persuade them to change their minds.

Triger believes that, “similarly to the activity of the evangelical right in the United States, the activity of Efrat and other entities in Israel is sustained by the presumption that a woman is not mistress of her own body and that she absolutely must not have an abortion. In the case of Israel, there is the added demographic aspect – in other words, the perception that women must be encouraged to use their wombs to give birth to Jewish children as part of the demographic battle against the Arabs.”

In his lectures, Triger also discusses a so-called offense that relates only to men: homosexuality, and describes the incarnations of “the love that dare not speak its name,” as it was expressed in Greece and Rome, and Hebrew law. He also explains why homosexual relations were in some societies severely looked down upon, whereas lesbian relations were not generally perceived to be a serious threat per se.

Triger contends that the historic reason why sexual relations between members of the same sex were perceived as an offense that only men can commit stems from the patriarchal concept, according to which it is appropriate to punish a man who allows another man to treat him as one treats a woman – i.e., a man who waives the privileges granted to him by the power of his being a man and thus “degrades” himself.

“Inherent in this is potential that threatens the patriarchal order, which is based on a strict division between ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ roles, and on the supremacy of the ‘masculine’ roles,” Triger says.

In his opinion, one of the aspects that the three phenomena he discusses have in common is the violation of male honor: “A married woman who sleeps with a man who is not her husband, and also that same man with whom she sleeps – both violate the husband’s honor, because they disrupt his dominion over his family; a married woman who has an abortion likewise violates her husband’s honor, because she aborts a fetus that does not belong to her but rather was merely placed in her care by the husband; and a man who has sex with another man violates male honor in general, by his sheer waiving of ‘manly’ conduct.”

Alongside this, Triger stresses that the attitude toward the three offenses entails a silencing of the female voice and a near-sweeping neglect of women’s needs and wishes, which are viewed as inferior in the social hierarchy.

American claims

In his final lecture, Triger discusses the influence of patriarchal perceptions in our own day. He shows that the gendered offenses have not disappeared from the world, despite the great advances made in the 20th century in the status of women and gays. He bases his argument on the claims of the American theoreticians Carol Gilligan and David A.J. Richards, who have drawn a connection between the progress in women’s status and the rise of religious fundamentalism – Christian, Islamic and Jewish.

“The growing power of religion in the public domain over the last two decades is seen by Gilligan and Richards as a counterreaction to the retreat that occurred in patriarchal power in certain areas,” Triger says. “They hold that the religious radicalization – which is reflected, among other things, in the strengthening of the anti-abortion campaign in the United States, or the lengthening of head and body coverings for women in Islamic nations – is a sort of ‘corrective’ that patriarchal systems are applying in response to the spread of the human-rights culture in general and women’s rights in particular.

“What all types of religious fundamentalism have in common is the attempt to regain control over a woman’s sexuality,” he continues. “The crimes the patriarchal order created in an effort to protect its basic principles exist and are enforced to this day, despite all the improvements that have been achieved. Not only women but men too are suffering from them, because the patriarchal world forces both sexes to obey norms of conduct that are dictated in advance, and to live according to norms of ‘femininity’ or ‘masculinity’ they have no say in, and which they are able to rebel against only if they are willing to pay a high personal price.

“To do away with the crimes against patriarchy,” he concludes, “we must do away with patriarchy itself. We must exchange it for a genuinely democratic social order, free of hierarchy, in which both men and women have an equal voice and an equal right to shape their personal version of masculinity, femininity – or any combination of these they can think of – without being perceived as criminals.”

 


Arthur Goldberg Likens his Embattled Ex-Gay Therapy Group to Weight Watchers

Submitted by Brian Tashman

Before founding the ex-gay therapy group JONAH, Arthur Goldberg was an investor convicted on felony charges and served time in prison for mail fraud and conspiracy. But the con man is being hailed as a hero by the Religious Right now that he is going up against the Southern Poverty Law Center in court, which is representing several customers of his New Jersey-based organization who are suing him for consumer fraud. Goldberg, however, will be unable to represent himself as he has been disbarred.

While speaking to American Family Association president Tim Wildmon and Family Research Council head Tony Perkins on AFA Today, Goldberg denied the SPLC’s claims that he defrauded customers by advertising that his group is able to “cure clients of being gay,” for example by instructing a group of men to “remove their clothing and stand naked in a circle” alongside a nude “counselor.”

Goldberg told Wildmon and Perkins that filing suit against an ex-gay therapy organization is like suing Weight Watchers for failing to lose weight through their program.