Flannery O’Connor, who said Southerners’ tendency to write about freaks because “we are still able to recognize one” wouldn’t be able to improve on the weird stranger-than-fiction story that Alabama voters, Roy Moore and Southern evangelicals have served up to humiliate America. Our predator problem is not unique to white Southern evangelicals. It relates to an American version of a, Sharia law, or Islamic Law we fondly call “religious liberty” when – that is — it’s given a Christian or Jewish spin.
The Koran derives from tribal culture that produced Judaism and Christianity. Abrahamic texts anchor believers to ignorance: Men alone are created in the image of a God- women are mere vessels. Alabama evangelicals, Saudi Imams, Mike Pence and NYC’s Hasidim agree: Women are second class. And they act on this assumption because America’s idea of Religious Liberty undermines the rule of law.
The ultra-conservative Hasidic Satmar community based in Williamsburg New York is every bit as oppressive as Saudi Arabia to women and children. Abandoned by mainstream America daughters are forced to be a quiet, obedient, uneducated “God-fearing” woman who get married in their teens and start a large family right away. Boys are conditioned in Jewish Madrassas and are unequipped to survive having studied nothing but ancient texts.
Deborah Feldman in her memoir, “Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots,” chronicles her oppressive upbringing and arranged marriage. There are thousands of stories like hers but no changes are made because the courts have been routinely corrupted by the powerful rabbis in New York.
There is a reason parts of NYC resemble the Madrassas of Pakistan and Saudi towns. The Koran and Bible agree: Male-dominated hierarchy and women’s bodily rights are men’s property. Conservative Jews Christians and Muslims share atrocious attitudes to women.
Maybe it is time to say NO to private and public theocracy. The Rule of Law can’t give way to so-called religious freedom to oppress.
Hasidim in NYC deprive children of education and women of rights. Meanwhile evangelical Christians beat children and deprive them of education in countless home “schools” all in the name of Religious Liberty.
Enter Roy Moore’s defenders. They are right!
In the Bible and Koran young child-women ARE commonly given to old men. None of the concepts of human rights of children, or sexual consent exist in the world of the Bible writers’ or in the Koran. The Roy Moore story is all-too usual in conservative Jewish Christian and Muslim circles today.
In that sense we could define theology as the feeble modern attempt by more enlightened believers trying to make excuses for biblical and Koranic barbarity. But there is no escaping that even today and even in America, women Hasidim, Muslim, and Christian evangelical alike are often brutalized.
No wonder Roy Moore feels so comfortable waving both guns and Bibles in public meetings. Even rape in the Bible is not a violation not against a woman but against her male owner. In Levitical law virginity is prized because men want to know who fathered children. Roy Moore is all-too typical. He’d fit right into parts of NYC as well as into the upper government reaches of Iran.
For many biblically indoctrinated evangelical Trump voters Roy Moore is godly- even if he did molest a 14-yr-old. Why? Because the so-called enlightened New Testament teaches woman’s-submission to males. It never condemns or reverses the idea that women — like slaves — must submit to men. God has placed men in positions of power.
No wonder in the Christian Roy-Moore South women aren’t believed when they speak up. In the Bible livestock, children and slaves and reproductive-age women are legal chattel-property of their male owners. So to the extent the Trumped GOP caters to evangelicals its anti-woman. And talk of defending Religious Liberty is code for oppressing women from the “right” of churches and corporations to withhold contraceptives, to abortion rights, to forced young marriages in Hasidic NYC, to forced female circumcision in many Islamic-centric immigrant communities.
“Religious Liberty” is now right wing code for flouting the Bill of Rights. Period.
When I watched “One of Us,” the new Netflix documentary directed by Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing (of Jesus Camp fame), one narrative in particular hit close to my evangelical roots.The film follows the journey of three people — two men, one woman — in the various stages of leaving their Hasidic community in Brooklyn. As Anne Cohen notes in her review, “One Of Us Lets A Former Hasidic Woman Speak For Herself — & That’s Important” There’s Ari, who’s still trying to cope with the trauma of a sexual assault at the hands of a camp counselor; Luzer, who was forced to leave his wife and children behind to pursue a career as an actor; and finally, Etty, a 32-year-old mother of seven who is struggling to retain custody after deciding to leave her abusive husband.”
We see Etty struggling against a system that’s corruptly rigged against her. New York has what’s called “status quo” clause when it comes to children of parents seeking a divorce, which means that the parents must guarantee that nothing will change in the way they are raised. In Etty’s case, the ultra-Orthodox community uses this as a pretext to keep her children with their wife-beating father — if the mother is leaving the community, how can she raise them in its Jewish biblical “values” and traditions?
Those crazy Christians in Alabama are right: The Bible does approve Roy Moore-type barbarity as the courts in NYC enforce every day for the Hasidic “community.” In the Bible a man may force sex on a slave, his brother’s wife, and hundreds of female concubines. Fundamentalist Jews Christians & Muslims have always been the enemy of women’s rights.
Roy Moore’s actions were in fact all-too “biblical.” Just ask millions of abused New York Hasidim and American Muslim and Christian women who have tried to flee their communities. In the Bible females are created for the benefit of males.
Conservative Christians proclaim that the Koran encourages molestation of girls who are too young for consent. But it’s rare that they take to the airwaves proclaiming that the Bible does the same and that the worst communities in America to be a women in are run by Christian and Jewish as well as Muslim extremists — who – because of our American mythology of Religious Liberty — are effectively above the law.
Yes, we do have “Sharia Law” in America and it is enforced by many evangelicals, Muslims and Jews alike hiding behind notions of Religious Liberty that are code for bondage.
Let’s be honest: It’s time to call these oppressors out and ask if we are a Constitutional democracy or a place where some are free but others are imprisoned in conservative religious communities and do not have the protection of the law.