15 Ways the Bible Is Used by Christians and the GOP to Control and Malign Women
Photo Credit: Dr John2005
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Why can’t GOP politicians trumpet their religious credentials without assaulting women?
Because fundamentalist religion of all stripes has degradation of women at its core, and fundamentalist Christianity is no exception. Progressive Christians believe the Bible is a human document, a record of humanity’s multi-millennial struggle to understand what is good and what is God and how to live in moral community with each other. But fundamentalists believe the Bible is the literally perfect word of the Almighty, essentially dictated by God to the writers. To believe that the Bible is the literally perfect word of God is to believe that women are tainted seductresses who must be controlled by men.
Listen to early church father Tertullian: “You [woman] are the devil’s gateway: you are the unsealer of that (forbidden) tree: you are the first deserter of the divine law: you are she who persuaded him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God’s image, man. On account of your desert—that is, death—even the Son of God had to die.”
Or take it from reformer John Calvin: “Woman is more guilty than man, because she was seduced by Satan, and so diverted her husband from obedience to God that she was an instrument of death leading to all perdition. It is necessary that woman recognize this, and that she learn to what she is subjected; and not only against her husband. This is reason enough why today she is placed below and that she bears within her ignominy and shame.”
Both Tertullian, a respected Catholic theologian, and Calvin, a leader of the Protestant Reformation, took their cues on this matter straight from the book of Genesis:
To the woman [God] said, I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you. - Genesis 3:16
No matter how outrageous Santorum and Gingrich may seem to secularists and moderate people of faith, they are right on target for an intended audience of Bible believing fundamentalists. If you have any doubt, check out these 15 Bible passages.*
1. A wife is a man’s property: You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. Exodus 20:17
2. Daughters can be bought and sold: If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do. Exodus 21:7
3. A raped daughter can be sold to her rapist: If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives. Deuteronomy 22:28-29
4. Collecting wives and sex slaves is a sign of status: He [Solomon] had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 1 Kings 11:3
5. Used brides deserve death: If, however the charge is true and no proof of the girl's virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father's house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. Deuteronomy 22:20-21.
6. Women, but only virgins, are to be taken as spoils of war: Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man. Numbers 31:17-18