Sunday, July 17, 2011

Religion Pretends to Offer Choice to Women


Interestingly, I find myself following tweets about Michele Bachmann’s ideologies. I have been directed to the Reality Check website several times in the past few days. Information I am gleaning indicates that Bachmann’s is an anti-feminist movement of the Republican right wing of religious fanaticism. She and her followers are against abortions and against freedom for women in general. She promotes women’s strict biblical adherence to their husbandly wishes, which quickly translates to “loss of self.” She knows nothing of women’s rights beyond staying pregnant and barefoot. Maybe Michele herself is exempt somehow, but others are not so fortunate if they listen to her religious spiel.

Religion is quickly going backwards, not only in the eastern cultures such as Muslims, but now Christianity appears to be jumping on the fanatical bandwagon of “submissive women.”
When I first heard of Bachmann's movement, I thought surely women are smarter than to buy into such antiquated thinking.

When I read, I Spy With My Little "i" ... The Not-So-Subtle Misogyny of THE FAMiLY LEADER's Marriage Vow, I felt afraid for the vulnerable woman or girl who found herself with an unwanted pregnancy. If she walked into one of these pretend “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” she would be misled into needless delays in receiving an abortion, because at these “pretend” choice clinics, abortions are not provided. As many people know, the sooner an abortion is performed the better, and abortion is especially desirable within the first three months of pregnancy.

Michele’s husband, Marcel Bachmann lists himself as a clinical therapist, even though he is not registered anywhere as such, according to another article at the Reality Check’s Website. Nevertheless, the Bachmann’s fanatical religious family seems to promote the idea of being qualified based on scriptures Christians will use to "prove" that God is the entity that “qualifies” them. I know the scriptures, because this is also the view of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, another fanatical right wing fundamentalist religion who are against abortion. I know, because I am a past-member of that organization. If a young JW girl “got into trouble” her parents would take her to the elders for counseling. These elders have no professional qualifications, and are lucky if they have finished high school. No doctorates here. Just the Bible which they say is the “Sword of the Spirit” and the only weapon needed to overthrow Satan and his machinations (Ephesians 6:10-18). The JWs also quote 2 Timothy 3:16, 17: “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.” These fanatical religions sincerely believe that the Bible alone can provide greater qualifications to counsel than any PhD.

If you want to know what changed my mind about the rightful place of abortion clinics, it is the touching story of a woman who found herself in a position of having to choose. While still in University, the young woman found herself pregnant and feeling completely unprepared for motherhood. She struggled within herself, but finally decided she would have an abortion. Several years went by and her circumstances changed. She found herself in a loving situation and chose to become pregnant again. Once the baby arrived, she realized it was the very same soul that was aborted earlier. The baby had simply delayed her arrival and was perfectly at ease with the mom’s decision to abort, seeming to understand at a “soul” level the reasons her mom made the difficult choice she did. The story emphasized to me the “healing” nature of the second pregnancy. The lesson in this for me was the inappropriateness of judging someone’s motives for choosing to terminate a pregnancy.
 

Visit Esther Harrison's main website. Visit website "Phoenix of Faith" the memoir. Follow on Twitter: _Phoenixoffaith Copyright © 2011. Permission is granted to copy and re-distribute this transmission on the condition that it is distributed freely.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Religion is a Structure of Co-Dependence

Religion is a structure of co-dependence whereby people are taught they cannot live without it. To be sure, religion cannot survive without its members. Like an alcoholic or drug addict, the religious people “need their fix.” And like an alcoholic or drug addict, the churches need a cash flow to keep functioning — somewhat.
 
Why would I theorize thusly?
 
Go to meetin’ and are lifted up, told you are a sinner in need of redemption. You need Jesus, but more importantly, you need the approval of the minister to say, “you’re okay.”
 
The natural question arises: Don’t people automatically “know” they are okay? Apparently not, they are taught to believe that without the redemption they are nobodies. They are the walking dead. They are going to hell or will surely die at Armageddon. Zero state. Tell me: is there such a  religion in existence that doesn’t teach a hellfire or Armageddon doctrine from which its members need to be saved or rescued? Ah, but isn’t a “rescue” a sign of dis-respect, based on the Karpman Triangle principles?
 
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True, according to Karpman, as taught by one of my many therapists, all relational situations can fit into one of two triangles of dynamics:
 
The Triangle of Disrespect contains the following relationship dynamics:
  • Persecutor: blaming or finding fault
  • Rescuer: wanting to fix; even if it interferes with someone’s “free will” or choice
  • Victim: “poor me”
The Triangle of Respect contains the following relationship dynamics:
  • Vulnerable: awareness to identify feeings without judgment
  • Assertive: taking care of the Self by taking healthy action
  • Caring: feeling compassion without doing someone else’s “work”
So, let’s check and see how religion fits into either of these two triangles. Religion teaches that Eve, the mother of all humans, has made us all victims. Ever since she tricked Adam with a little help from a talking serpent in the Garden of Eden, we are ALL in need of a rescue. The Son of God became the assigned Rescuer; but not unless he was first a Victim, dying on a torture stake/cross, persecuted and killed by unbelievers. Carrying the torture/persecution idea further, all Christians were to anticipate and expect the same disrespectful treatment. Persecution at the hands of unbelievers was prompted by the big unseen enemy, Satan the Devil, the ruler of hell/the world. But the BIG Rescuer and BIG Persecutor was none other than God, since he could not find it in his heart to just forgive the newbies in Eden.
 
Quite frankly, the entire "Garden of Eden" story sounds truly disrespectful and really far-fetched. Furthermore, the patriarchal society currently in place promotes belief in such a convoluted scenario.
 
Where is our “free will” to believe or dis-believe? Church elders quickly label the unbelievers, the doubters and even the questioners as heretics, apostates and infidels.
 
So, again I ask the question: In which of the two triangles does religion find itself? For me, it was obvious: the Triangle of Disrespect. Naturally, the realization of which triangle religion fit into led me to believe that God and the Devil are equally evil.
 
Why don’t we simply honor one another's spiritual nature and leave religion out of the mix?

Visit website "Phoenix of Faith" the memoir. Follow on Twitter: _Phoenixoffaith Copyright © 2011. Permission is granted to copy and re-distribute this transmission on the condition that it is distributed freely.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sharia Law in Canada

While one might think now that Muslims/Islamists live in Canada, they would be happy to learn to live in a more “moderate” way. Well, you’d be wrong. Not everyone wants freedom. Many people do not know what to do with such freedom. And some people cannot even define freedom such as we have in Canada.
 
I was surprised while listening to an audio clip where a professor of Arab Studies Dana Olwan at Queen’s University, spoke out against the passing of the law banning niqabs in Quebec. As a feminist and an Islamic Muslim, she was outraged that niqabs were banned. When she gets “passionate” her Arabian accent comes forth. Otherwise, she speaks excellent English. “The bill intends to manipulate all women, she says, not just Muslim women.” Bill 94 reserves for the state a place in women’s closets. It tells women how to practice or choose their own beliefs. It regulates how women present themselves and how they dress, according to Dana.
 
While I believe people can surely choose their own beliefs, I can barely fathom why she feels there is no freedom here, in view of the oppression women live under in Arab lands. But because she is a professor in a University, she is believed and has quite a following.
 
Patriarchs have dictated to the Arab women how to dress for so long, it has been internalized and now the women “persecute themselves,” some might say. They choose to wear tents, hijabs, niqabs and mutilate their pre-pubescent girls bodies following the Sharia Law of circumcision, as well as learning the Qur’an by rote. Many of these people are Muslim/Islamists first. Many do not consider themselves as “one of us” namely “the West” or even Canadian. Many of their hearts are still in Islam.
 
It is true that while I am concerned about rights of women, I happen to agree with the face-coverings being a security risk. We all assume that the people under those tents are women. But, after the 9/11 attacks, it isn’t a stretch to think they could be men wearing bombs. Heck, the women could be bombers, too. It’s happened already in Britain. Quite frankly, it’s just too eerie not seeing faces.
 
Some feminists believe the veils are a tool of oppression. But there is another possibility. Perhaps the veils are worn to intimidate us non-Muslims/Islamists. After all, Muslims/Islamists believe they are superior to every other race. The “brown” Muslims/Islamists even believe they are superior to their African “Black” counterparts, according to Aayan Hirsi Ali in her book, Nomad. I suppose if you believe you are better than someone, you are entitled to more liberties, too. But, what liberties are they missing that we, by default for being white, have? Perhaps she is referring to the freedom to practice Sharia Law in Canada. The Muslims/Islamists pushed for it in Ontario—and Sharia almost became law. Think of the repercussions of such a law:
  • Freedom to beat your wife if she doesn’t agree with you on some issue.
  • Freedom to stone your wife if she commits adultery (maybe stop beating her and she will find some reason to respect you).
  • Freedom to cut off a hand or foot of someone who stole something from you.
  • Freedom to reduce a woman's power by half. A man’s word is worth twice as much as a woman’s word.
  • Freedom to make up more tyrannical rules as they go along.
  • Freedom to cut off a pre-pubescent girl’s genitals (clitoris, outer and inner labia), stitch up the entire vagina leaving a small hole from which to pee.
I say, when men cut off their balls, western women still would not want to lose their vaginas, so forget Sharia.
 
Just in case you are thinking Female Genital Mutilation does not occur in Canada…think again. FGM does occur in Canada.There are doctors who will perform the surgery in Canada, despite it being against Canadian law. No one has to fly to the Arab world to have it done. These immigrants are Muslims/Islamists first. Many bring to the new land barbaric traditions and practices, where they hope one day they will be in power. They believe becoming the ruling power is Allah’s will. He will bless them and their polygamous families as they proliferate many times faster than westerners, and Allah will give them our land.
 
It has now become abundantly clear to me that it is the Westerners who are the barbarians, the Infidels, the Apostates.
 
Yeah, right.
 
But then, every religion thinks they alone will dominate the world. They all think it is their God’s will. The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe they are the only ones who will survive Armageddon and live forever in Paradise under Jehovah’s theocratic rule. There are the Dominionist Christians who think the same thing by enforcing upon us the ancient Hebrew Scriptures known as The Old Testament.
 
It would be nice if the religious fanatics would lose the ego-speak.
 
Most women welcome the law to ban niqabs. It is a law for freedom, not oppression. Granted, it’s hard to get into the head of a Muslim/Islamist after being raised Jehovah’s Witness in Canada. Each belief system has a “warp” to it. Nevertheless, I do see the parallels and the twisted reasoning that both religions use to manipulate the governments in crying for never-ending liberties to practice their sick religions and practices.
 
I feel sure that people are waking up to some awareness and some inner sense of moral conscience that will act as a compass to bring humans into balance. After all, we are all humans and therefore we are all equal.
 

Visit Esther Harrison's main website. Visit website "Phoenix of Faith" the memoir. Follow on Twitter: _Phoenixoffaith Copyright © 2011. Permission is granted to copy and re-distribute this transmission on the condition that it is distributed freely.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Religion is Manipulative

Secular authorities appear to know little about how religions operate. Aayan Hirsi Ali, political scientist, spoke a universal truth when she said “government seems to feel they must enshrine cultural religions and hold [them] as sacred, no matter how dysfunctional these people act.” (_______, p.__). She has seen religious dysfunction in her life experiences as a Muslim in Africa, Saudi Arabia, Holland and the United States; and I can testify about my experiences with the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Canada.
 
Religious groups keep lobbying for more freedom. They cry “religious discrimination” when someone reacts to an apparent dysfunction. Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example, present to the public the ideal of “respect for family life,” yet their members are forced to shun family members who leave the religion, which is about two-thirds of their flock, according to Time Magazine To me, this reveals an obvious “disconnect.” Many families are broken up as a result of religious dogma. How do families "get taken in" by a shunning rule?
 

No choice but to “shun”

When my mom left the Jehovah’s Witnesses religion I had no intention of shunning her. Next thing I knew, a letter arrived in the mail from an elder in her town. I felt I had no choice if I wanted to continue associating with my friends --- all Jehovah’s Witnesses. I am ashamed to admit, I gave into the religious pressure to conform to the rigid rule: I squirm with discomfort now when I think how I began shunning my mom. Shunning her felt horrendously unnatural. It felt like a self-betrayal of my own principles.
 

Religion is “two-faced”

It seems to me that the Jehovah’s Witnesses have one face for the general public; presenting themselves as a “moderate” religion. However, for their members an entirely “other” face emerges: tyrannical.
 
Why does society continue to enable destructive behaviors like shunning, which takes place according to the direction of their elders?
 
Why do governments continue to give religious organizations money and power to control and manipulate their members?
 

Religion is manipulative of secularism, too

Interesting thought: religions manipulate their members. More importantly, because secular authorities continue to believe religions have members’ best interests at heart, these same secular authorities do not realize they too are being manipulated by the two-faced presentation of religious beliefs. Jehovah’s Witnesses “official” position presented to media regarding shunning is, “We do not interfere with family issues.” Yet, clearly that is not my experience. The Jehovah’s Witnesses split up my family with their harshly-enforced rules.
 

Visit Esther Harrison's main website. Visit website "Phoenix of Faith" the memoir. Follow on Twitter: _Phoenixoffaith Copyright © 2011. Permission is granted to copy and re-distribute this transmission on the condition that it is distributed freely.