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Archive for the ‘misogyny’ Category

The Pelican Web

Posted by honestpoet on August 20, 2009

Just a quick note to acknowledge that I’m adding The Pelican Web to my blogroll under “Building a Better World.” Here’s this from their mission statement:

There is overwhelming evidence that violence is the main obstacle to sustainable development. It is also well known that there is an intrinsic link between patriarchy and violence. Therefore, mitigating violence requires overcoming the patriarchal mindset in both secular and religious institutions.

The mission of The Pelican Web is to collect and analyze knowledge on obstacles to sustainable development, and to publish the monthly, free subscription, open access PelicanWeb Journal of Sustainable Development. The e-journal provides a monthly digest on current research pursuant to human solidarity, ecological sustainability, and both secular and religious non-violence.

I came across them in a message to a women’s poetry list I recently joined, about the importance of gender equity in the clergy. I’m thrilled to see someone doing this work.

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Posted in Building a Better World, Christians Worth Knowing, ecology, feminism, misogyny, peace activism, poetry, spirituality | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

No Free Speech in India

Posted by honestpoet on February 11, 2009

Here’s an article about a writer and her publisher being held for “offending the religious feelings” of Muslims (which is apparently a crime there) for an article in which she wrote “I don’t respect the idea that we should follow a ‘Prophet’ who at the age of 53 had sex with a nine-year old girl, and ordered the murder of whole villages of Jews because they wouldn’t follow him.” The title of the piece is “Why Should I Respect These Oppressive Religions?” Personally, I think that’s a good question.

I understand Muslims’ desire not to have thrown in their faces the fact that Mohammad was a pedophile and a genocidal maniac. And I understand India’s desire not to stir up their Muslim population, considering their tendency to violence when their religious feelings get hurt. But they’ll never progress as a democracy if they don’t embrace the concept of free speech. If someone can’t handle hearing someone else point out the problems with their religion, they need to examine their beliefs more closely, not silence the offending speaker.

It’s high time the fundamentalist Muslims of the world got their heads out of their collective asses and joined the present, rather than clinging to their past. There’s a reason Muslim countries are among the poorest, least developed places on the planet, and that’s the way in which they suppress dissent. New ideas, so necessary for progress, can’t flower in such a climate. Not to mention the fact that they cut off half (the female half) of their population from participation. That’s a lot of brains to leave out of the problem solving.

Some Muslims actually fantasize (the evidence of this litters the internet) that one day Islam will cover the globe, so we all may as well just give in to it. They don’t understand how great it is to live in a place where we are free to use our minds, and to speak our minds. We’re not going to give that up to go back to some medieval era when the church and the state were one (we experienced that already, when Christianity was as oppressive as Islam is now, in its own adolescence). Instead, if they don’t give up on the idea that they’ve got a firm grip on the truth and some divine mandate to shove it down the world’s throat, they’ll find their religion stamped out like a brush fire. The more they resort to violence and repression, the more opposition they’ll find among the world’s free thinkers. Already the events of 9/11 caused in this country public discourse, with writers like Sam Harris, questioning the validity of religious belief. With any luck, with their continuing idiocy, they’ll cause the death of religion altogether.

Posted in anti-establishment clause, fundamentalism, history, india, Islam, mental illness, misogyny, monoculture, Muslims, ridiculous beliefs | 1 Comment »

Sam Harris on the Importance of Breaking Religion’s Spell

Posted by honestpoet on November 18, 2008

Here’s an excellent bit from the question and answer period after a debate with Rabbi Wolpe. I’ve been watching a lot of Mr. Harris on YouTube, and I have to say that I like him even more than Richard Dawkins. Don’t get me wrong, I love Dawkins, but, as an American, Harris is more aware of the need to speak with the religious politely and without snarkiness. Dawkins can come off a bit smug, which is a mistake when dealing with the American religious, who already feel beset and belittled, and whose defense mechanisms thereby fly up as soon as the subject is broached with any sort of superior attitude.

Here’s another bit: Sam Harris at the TruthDig conference, talking about how beliefs have consequences, and why the taboo on not examining religious beliefs needs to be lifted.

Here he is talking about the relative morality of various books of the Bible and what would happen if as a society we actually followed it.

And one more, at the Idea Festival in Aspen, where he disputes a lot of common misconceptions about atheism:

If you’d like to hear more of what he has to say, here’s the link to his website, which includes links to a number of articles and videos (including the full debate with Rabbi Wolpe). His thinking is even more in line with my own than Richard Dawkins’s. Dawkins and the rest of the recent crop of atheistic authors turn their backs on mystical experience, whereas Sam Harris, while approaching it as a skeptic, acknowledges that there’s something there to examine that could prove worthwhile, perhaps yielding up that which religions seek but never truly find, tied up as they are in their supernatural superstitions and dogmatism. He’s experienced contemplative states and acknowledges that they can lead to an increase in the ability to experience empathy and compassion, which are clearly in short supply these days.

A neurobiologist, he was motivated to start writing by the events of 9/11, and his focus is on the affect of beliefs on behaviors. Some people have painted him as some sort of warmonger Islamophobe, but that’s hardly the case when you read the suspect passages in context. Does he say that people holding the beliefs indoctrinated by Islam can be led therewith to bad behavior? Absolutely, but that’s hardly the same thing.

Posted in atheism, Building a Better World, catholicism, Christianity, Christianofascism, climate change, economic crisis, evolution, feminism, freedom, fundamentalism, gay rights, genocide, global warming, hegemony, history, homophobia, Iraq, Islam, Jesus, Jews, Koran, language, literature, marriage, mental illness, misogyny, monoculture, morality, Muslims, peace, psychiatry, religion, religion and science, Richard Dawkins, ridiculous beliefs, science, secular humanism, secularism, skepticism, terrorism, the Bible | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Imagine: A Happily Married Couple in the White House, For Once!

Posted by honestpoet on September 26, 2008

Over at Huffington Post I just read this excellent article written by a married couple, Kathlyn and Gay Hendricks, who’ve been doing marriage counseling for years, about having an authentic couple, equal partners, in the White House, and the benefits that would have for all of us.

Elect Barack Obama. That way, we get the gift of seeing two people having an easeful friendship with each other. We get as a role model two people who communicate with each other as equals and stand beside each other as true partners. If we elect Barack Obama we are electing a new possibility in our relationship lives as a nation: respect, affection and authenticity. Michelle and Barack speak clearly and openly. You know she won’t bullshit you or embarrass you by playing the demure little wife. We’re ready to see that kind of relationship, and we hope you are, too. The question is: are we as a nation ready to end our national addiction to duplicity, phony adoration and Stepford wifedom in the White House? If not, we’re going to get what we deserve.

We have a chance now to make a real difference in the world. If we elect Barack Obama, we can all focus on the critical challenges that must be met now. Speaking personally, we feel a sense of warmth and pride when we think about the support and love the Obamas have for each other. We breathe easier when we see how they live their lives with balance, honesty and clarity. They’re the real deal. In November, let’s give ourselves this new mirror of our own value.

Contrast that with a man who once called his wife a cunt in public, who left his first wife after she was in a car accident that ruined her looks, who cynically chose an unqualified female as his running mate in a ploy to gain attention and some female votes, and who opposes legislation that would mandate equal pay for equal work.

Posted in Barack Obama, feminism, John McCain, marriage, misogyny, politics, power of love, sexism | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Why Will My Daughter Earn Less than My Son?

Posted by honestpoet on June 9, 2008

Thanks to my dear friend Nan for this link to the American Association of University Women’s study showing that women, all things being equal, and even accounting for motherhood, etc., earn significantly less than their male counterparts. Still. And it starts within a year of graduating college.

I abhor the blatant sexism of Islam. But the insidious sexism practiced here in America isn’t much better. I think Sen. Clinton and her supporters could tell you something about it, as well. I know one woman, a bright, articulate hospital administrator, who is hopping mad about what she heard from folks during the campaign. She’s so mad about it she doesn’t think she’ll be able to support Obama, even though she’s been a lifelong Democrat (she’s got other issues with him, as well, and NOT that he’s a reptilian-human hybrid).

I recently read the excellent novel by Ursula K. LeGuin, Lavinia, which not only illuminates the causes and costs of war, but also what it feels like to be an intelligent female coping in the world of men, set in the time when Rome was but a backwater. Things haven’t changed all that much.

Posted in feminism, Islam, misogyny, sexism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

Ann Coulter Is a Cunt

Posted by honestpoet on June 27, 2007

WARNING: MATURE CONTENT

Sometimes it’s more fun to be mad than sad, so since I got an email from a democratic candidate (how I got on these lists I don’t know, since I’m not a democrat, actually) about this woman I’ve long detested, I just thought I’d let y’all know how I feel.

Ann Coulter is a cock-worshiping cunt. I bet she has fantasies about taking three at a time. I bet Cheney has fantasies about getting a Cleveland steamer from her, that scat-muncher.

That woman gives women a bad name. I wish she’d get cancer and lose that well-maintained head of bleached hair. I wish she’d get a tumor that takes out her verbal center, so she can choke on her hate in silence, unable to write or speak another word. I won’t wish her dead, since women in my family have a history of having such wishes come true, but I’ll dance the day her death is announced, that’s for damn sure.

Universal love? It’s a nice idea, but I’m only human, after all, and Ann Coulter’s an individual the species can definitely do without.

Posted in Ann Coulter, Christianofascism, feminism, fundamentalism, misogyny, politics, separation of church and state | 7 Comments »

God is Not Great: Excellent Excerpt at Slate

Posted by honestpoet on April 27, 2007

Here’s one of three excerpts from Christopher Hitchens’s book, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. I haven’t read the other two yet, but this was so good I had to post it here.

A little bit to whet your appetite:

While some religious apology is magnificent in its limited way—one might cite Pascal—and some of it is dreary and absurd—here one cannot avoid naming C. S. Lewis—both styles have something in common, namely the appalling load of strain that they have to bear. How much effort it takes to affirm the incredible! The Aztecs had to tear open a human chest cavity every day just to make sure that the sun would rise. Monotheists are supposed to pester their deity more times than that, perhaps, lest he be deaf. How much vanity must be concealed—not too effectively at that—in order to pretend that one is the personal object of a divine plan? How much self-respect must be sacrificed in order that one may squirm continually in an awareness of one’s own sin? How many needless assumptions must be made, and how much contortion is required, to receive every new insight of science and manipulate it so as to “fit” with the revealed words of ancient man-made deities? How many saints and miracles and councils and conclaves are required in order first to be able to establish a dogma and then—after infinite pain and loss and absurdity and cruelty—to be forced to rescind one of those dogmas? God did not create man in his own image. Evidently, it was the other way about, which is the painless explanation for the profusion of gods and religions, and the fratricide both between and among faiths, that we see all about us and that has so retarded the development of civilization.

Posted in anti-establishment clause, atheism, Christianity, Christianofascism, fundamentalism, Islam, Jesus, Jews, misogyny, Muslims, politics, prayer, religion, Richard Dawkins, ridiculous beliefs, secular humanism, separation of church and state, skepticism, terrorism, witchcraft | 18 Comments »

Now This is More Like It! Secular Islam

Posted by honestpoet on March 26, 2007

Here’s a group of really sane folk. Thank goodness.

We are secular Muslims, and secular persons of Muslim societies. We are believers, doubters, and unbelievers, brought together by a great struggle, not between the West and Islam, but between the free and the unfree.

We affirm the inviolable freedom of the individual conscience. We believe in the equality of all human persons.

We insist upon the separation of religion from state and the observance of universal human rights.

We find traditions of liberty, rationality, and tolerance in the rich histories of pre-Islamic and Islamic societies. These values do not belong to the West or the East; they are the common moral heritage of humankind.

We see no colonialism, racism, or so-called “Islamaphobia” in submitting Islamic practices to criticism or condemnation when they violate human reason or rights.

We call on the governments of the world to

reject Sharia law, fatwa courts, clerical rule, and state-sanctioned religion in all their forms; oppose all penalties for blasphemy and apostasy, in accordance with Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights;

eliminate practices, such as female circumcision, honor killing, forced veiling, and forced marriage, that further the oppression of women;

protect sexual and gender minorities from persecution and violence;

reform sectarian education that teaches intolerance and bigotry towards non-Muslims;

and foster an open public sphere in which all matters may be discussed without coercion or intimidation.

We demand the release of Islam from its captivity to the totalitarian ambitions of power-hungry men and the rigid strictures of orthodoxy.

We enjoin academics and thinkers everywhere to embark on a fearless examination of the origins and sources of Islam, and to promulgate the ideals of free scientific and spiritual inquiry through cross-cultural translation, publishing, and the mass media.

We say to Muslim believers: there is a noble future for Islam as a personal faith, not a political doctrine;

to Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Baha’is, and all members of non-Muslim faith communities: we stand with you as free and equal citizens;

and to nonbelievers: we defend your unqualified liberty to question and dissent.

Before any of us is a member of the Umma, the Body of Christ, or the Chosen People, we are all members of the community of conscience, the people who must choose for themselves.

I hope this turns out to be contagious.

Posted in anti-establishment clause, atheism, fundamentalism, history, Islam, misogyny, Muslims, politics, prayer, privacy, religion, secular humanism, separation of church and state, sexism, skepticism, terrorism | Leave a Comment »

Privacy and Responsibility

Posted by honestpoet on March 7, 2007

At another blog (which will remain nameless) some ego-ridden pundit who thinks using his middle initial gives him the moral high ground has decreed that my blog is somehow not valid because I choose to remain anonymous. Just like a religious person (he’s not religious, though he’s just as attached to his own ideas) he can’t accept that someone else’s choice, while different from his, could still be valid.

He reminds me of Tom Cruise dissing Brooke Shields for using antidepressants, looking ridiculous on his high horse (which looks an awful lot like a hobby horse from here — he fancies himself a writer, but I think he’s just a lawyer).

I wasn’t going to write about this, but I began to think I ought to. You see, his lack of understanding my perspective is, I’m afraid, too common. Despite the fact that one of his “authors” recently wrote about her rape, he seems to fail to recognize that things are a bit different for women in this world than they are for men.

I remember in my political science class in college (which I took before the iron curtain came down), my prof was trying to explain to us what “low-grade terror” was like, to help us understand what it was like for people living in the Soviet Union. He made a comparison to what women experience here, with the pervasive violence. We (if we’re smart) are always on the lookout for men hiding, waiting to jump out and grab us. My dad was a cop, and he taught me to check my backseat, to check under the car as I approached, all that sort of thing. He also taught me some tricks his green-beret Vietnam-vet friend had taught him. (I taught them just last night to my daughter, in fact — you know, how to gouge out eyeballs, that sort of thing.)

Men here don’t get what it’s like to live with low-grade terror. So no man is going to make me feel bad for keeping myself and my family safe by blogging anonymously.

I used to blog with my name, but nutty men became attached much more easily, and then I had the additional concern that, with my name, it wouldn’t be too hard to come find me. Not a nice thought, and it became too hard to feel free to speak authentically, to really say what I needed to say, without concern of hurting someone’s feelings.

Yes, I may hurt feelings when I write the way I feel free to do here. But sometimes hurt feelings are necessary for growth. No one ever died by having their faith questioned. But women die at the hands of mentally-ill men every day.

Reading around the blogosphere the other day I came across a young woman’s blog. She had her young, pretty, smiling face right on the front page, and used her name. She was a bit outspoken, like me, not afraid to say it like it is. And here’s the thing. One of her readers was leaving comments about what he wanted to do to her, and it was pretty horrid. (Necrophilia, anyone?) I don’t think she took the threat seriously, but she should have. There have been too many cases now of young women being found by some nutbar who’s formed some sick attachment online, and ending up dead.

It may seem cowardly to write anonymously, and sure, we don’t get the ego strokes of seeing our name up on the screen (I get enough of that, seeing mine in print), but I think more women should take their security more seriously.

And no man has any business decreeing what our choices should be.

Posted in blogging, mental illness, misogyny, privacy, religion, sexism, terrorism | 16 Comments »