Chilliwack, BC is home to many First Nations peoples such as the Sto:lo who are part of the many bands of Coast Salish in the Pacific Northwest. Chilliwack is also home to many non-aboriginal people as well. Unlike the US, which is a Third World country, Canada has a welfare safety net for its poor and social medicine.
Canadians are really lucky. And many are spoiled insofar as they feel justified in maintaining racism against their aboriginal communities while they hypocritically wag their scolding finger at the US for being a social mess.
I am referring to the racist and rude February 14th letter by Sandy Van Eysinger published in the Chilliwack Progress. Ms. Van Eysinger complained that the artwork commissioned by the hospital for its newly renovated emergency room didn’t belong in the hospital because the Sto:lo artists displayed Native spiritualism reflecting their culture. She said:
“No one will deny, least of all our community’s aboriginal folk; that these artworks are of a spiritual nature and embody or represent spirits in the local aboriginal tradition. I would like to point out that many conservative people of the three great monotheistic faiths (Jews, Christians, and Moslems), and possibly others such as Sikhs and atheists might find such public depictions not only deeply disturbing but also against the tenets of their belief system…”
She then cited the Bible/Torah/Quran verses prohibiting idolatry and the worship of other gods and the making of images, asserting that many non-aboriginal Canadians might even forego care at the ER because of wanting to avoid the “sin” of seeing something reflective of Sto:lo spiritualism. I have more than just a few rebuttals for Sandy Van Eysinger, and I hope she reads what I’m about to say because she’s long overdue for a reality check. I hope other Canadians read this, too.
The Cultural Effects of Christianity in the US — Poverty and Suffering is God’s Will:
In my country (the US) there are about 60 million poor, jobless and low-income working Americans who are without access to health care. As a long-term unemployed middle-aged woman, I am one of them. Many without access to health care are poor pregnant women who are not getting any pre-natal and pre-birth gynecological care at all. We have a maternal disability and death rate and infant mortality rate that rival that of many Third World nations.
The same militant Christian “pro-lifers” who have bombed family planning clinics and murdered doctors because they believed their “god” commanded it, got laws passed that are hurting women in the name of their Christian “moral beliefs.” They have also flexed their political muscle to prevent any real universal health care measure from being passed and have also pushed for the cuts in programs of critical importance to the survival of poor pregnant women and poor children.
Per the most recent US Census, 84% of the US poor unable to afford housing, food, utilities and medical care are women. An estimated six to ten million poor US households are without at least one life-sustaining utility and thousands of poor Americans freeze to death in the winter because of deregulated “privatized” utilities and a real lack of adequate help for the poor.
We have no social medicine and no welfare safety net thanks to the Welfare Reform Act of 1996. Funding for subsidized housing was eliminated during the Reagan Revolution. The life expectancy among the poor in the US is the lowest in the West, second only to Haiti. And it’s not just those without educations suffering in poverty without job opportunities and hope; many poor people have gone into steep unaffordable student loan debt for “marketable” degrees. I am one of them.
Last year, 50,000 Americans died for lack of access to health care. My 37 year-old unemployed neighbor who died from an abscessed tooth was one of them. Those of us here in the states who are suffering life-threatening deprivation and inescapable poverty due to deeply entrenched classism, racism, sexism, misogyny, and theocratic fascism would be more than grateful to have access to medical care.
Remote Area Medical, which normally goes to places like Haiti and the Congo, have added the US to their growing list of poor countries’ people without access to basic medical care. The last US region where Remote Area Medical visited was downtown Los Angeles, California in 2008. Those of us who have been economically excluded and socially marginalized — regardless of the superhuman efforts we’ve made escape poverty and the utter despair that goes with it from being told every day that we don’t count and that we’ve got no chips to get into the game of life — we would be damn grateful for access to medical care like our more fortunate Canadian neighbors.
Canadians like Sandy Van Eysinger whose biggest health care gripe is having her delicate sensibilities “offended” by First Nations/Native American art and cultural expression in a renovated emergency room need to get a grip.
I don’t find the blatant racism against the First Nations/Native American communities to be “civilized” and brimming with the effervescence of humanitarianism. How can any Canadian reconcile its disease of racism while proclaiming Canada’s moral superiority to the US?
The God That Promotes Rape, Torture, Pillage, Murder Sexism, Genocide, Colonialism and Slavery:
Let’s talk about those “values” and “tenets” of the “three great monotheistic faiths” versus the values and cultural traditions of First Nations/Native American spiritualism and traditions. All three branches of Abrahamic monotheism derive from the mad ramblings of misogynist, sexist, racist, Bronze Age men with camel shit for brains.
The very same Bible — the Old Testament in particular — is the basis for all three imperialism-promoting, rape-condoning, genocide-justifying cults of cruelty and misogyny centered on an angry vindictive male god who is an obsessed sexual sadist and social deviant. The same “holy” book cited to justify griping about aboriginal artwork promotes rape, incest, murder, treachery, deceit, thievery, and the oppression of women and people of different races and beliefs.
It also promotes child sacrifice and calls these men “righteous.”(Abraham’s almost-sacrifice of Isaac to God in Genesis 22:1-19, and Jepthah’s sacrifice of his virgin daughter as a burnt offering to God in exchange for fame and glory in Judges 11:31-39). Abrahamic monotheism promotes an unhealthy loathing towards love-making and humanity in general. Genesis 3:16 sets women up as “less than” where “god” blames women for the entrance of “sin” into the world and leading her man astray, resulting in the death of men. This “moral” male god curses women with painful (and even sometimes fatal) childbirth and domination by men, justifying misogyny, tyranny and patriarchy.
This verse was not only used to justify centuries of legal discrimination against women by depriving women access to educations and good jobs, it was also used to justify the anti-atheism laws with the jailing of any physician who used any medical remedies to ease women’s pain and trauma during childbirth. These laws prevailed in the US well into the 20th century.
The practice of denying women sexual and reproductive autonomy, adequate pain relief, and denying women safe and non-traumatic (or at least, less traumatic) childbirth experiences has become normalized as acceptable oppression and cruelty towards women in modern obstetrics and gynecology even today. This same male god promotes one of the most heinous human rights violations: rape.
Anyone who gets their moral guidance from a book centered on a god that not only approves of rape, but even commands it, is someone whose moral compass lies between “criminal misogynist” and “criminal sociopath.” In many Biblical passages there are references to “taking a wife” by force. These are not voluntary marriages — murder and force was used to “take” these “wives.” Here are just a small few of the Biblical passages where “the Lord” approves rape, commands rape, orders the “honor-killing” of women, and the stoning of non-believers:
Murder, rape, and pillage at Jabesh-gilead (Judges 21:10-24).
Murder, rape, and pillage of the Midianites (Numbers 31:7-18). “The Lord” commands Moses to kill all the Midianites, sparing only underage virgin girls who are to be taken by the Israelites as war spoils and raped. Before Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt, he was on the lam for killing an Egyptian overseer. It was a Midianite who gave Moses shelter, employment, and his daughter Zipporah for a wife while Moses was in hiding. So when Moses led a genocide and child rape campaign against the Midianites in the name of “divine right”, he raped and killed his wife’s people and her family. What a way to show gratitude for hospitality.
Colonizing a community, rape, murder, and slavery (Deuteronomy 20:10-14). God tells the Israelites to feel free to enjoy raping the virgin girls and the loot of conquered peoples. It’s beyond offensive to claim that a religion centered on a god that orders genocide, theft, rape, and slavery and the treatment of women and children as livestock to be bartered and disposed of as men see fit deserves any respect at all. Especially when that religion justified the most egregious human rights violations throughout history. And this same deity held by Christians, Muslims and Jews as the only legitimate moral arbiter even set the standards for how “righteous” men are to rape in a “holy” way (Deuteronomy 22:28-29) and how the victims are condemned to accept it. What kind of psycho would force a rape victim to marry the cretin who brutalized and raped her? Answer: the “god” of the Bible.
- The “divine” blueprint for the “honor-killing” of rape victims who fail to cry out loud enough by stoning them to death (Deuteronomy 22:23-24).
The stoning of non-virgin women (Deuteronomy 22:20-21)
Stoning unbelievers and “idolaters” and Sabbath-breakers to death (Exodus 31:14-15, Exodus 35:2, and Numbers 15:32-36).
The “pro-life” Christian Reconstructionist movement, which has been aggressively influencing all branches of the US government, admittedly seeks to supplant the US Constitution with Mosaic Law. They plan to impose this without any regard to the human rights of women or other people who do not share these beliefs, customs, or traditions.
This is no different than the Islamic theocracies that impose Sha’ria Law like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan where female rape or incest victims are routinely brutally “honor-killed” as punishment for violating the Biblical/Quranic “modesty laws” for the “dishonor” to their male owners and masters — their husbands, fathers, or brothers.
The Bible is a sick book written by sick men about a sick god that doesn’t give a damn about women and children’s human rights. The only concern is for the violation of another man’s “property.” And Christian Reconstructionists and other Christian Dominionists want this to be the Supreme Law of the land!
Their “god” and their Bible heroes are immoral and inhumane — and so is anyone who uses their belief in this “god” and the Biblical code of ethics to justify their actions in the name of “divine right” and “morality.”
The Bible is pregnant from Genesis to Revelations with sexual sadism, genocide, rape, slavery, incest and murder. The god of the Bible represented by the “three great monotheistic faiths” despises women, relishes cruelty, savors rape and abuse, and approves of crimes against humanity. Hell of a way for such a “god” to show his love for his creation, isn’t it?
Abraham — the “founding father” of all three branches of monotheism —pimped out his own wife, who was also his sister (Genesis 12: 11-13), and was called a “righteous man.” Abraham’s nephew Lot, whose wife was turned into a pillar of salt (killed) for the “crime” of looking back at the burning cities of Sodom and Gomorrah they were fleeing, had incestuous sex with his daughters to preserve his line. (Genesis 19:32-36).
Before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot offered to hand over his virgin daughters to a violent rapacious mob and tells them to do whatever they want to his daughters so his male guests would not be harmed (Genesis 19:32-36). Lot was called a “righteous man.”
Any sentient human with an IQ above a houseplant who has actually read the Bible cannot ignore the blatant misogyny and cruelty aimed at women. The prominent “men of god” who wrote the Bible were the products of a patriarchal, violent, bigoted and tribal society. Their “god” and “moral” teachings reflect the ignorance and inhumanity of that society and fundamentalists and conservative adherents to Abrahamic monotheism insist that everyone be bound by that same society’s biblical law.
The doctrines of Abrahamic monotheism promote contempt for women’s bodies and natural functions. Even the acts of making love and giving birth is held in contempt — the Bible commands women to bring a “sin offering” to the temple after she is purified from her post-childbirth bleeding when the priest makes atonement on her behalf for her “sin” of having sex and giving birth. (Leviticus 12:1-8).
Women are nothing but disposable sexual and reproductive livestock that aren’t human enough for harm to us to matter. That is the esteem the “three great monotheistic faiths” confers on women. Cultures which press women into sexual and reproductive dhimmitude while demanding chastity and virginity in women have a double standard morality code as their bedrock. If men are encouraged to view women as depreciative chattel, they will never see women as human. And in disregarding women, all kinds of atrocities and injustices are permissible against us.
The Christian Right in the US uses the Bible as the authoritative manual for the enslavement of women. The Bible is infested with sexism, racism, violence and perversion. Under the guise of Christian “morality” and “family values”, the Christian Right is succeeding in reversing all of women’s hard-won gains towards human rights and full citizenship:
- The right to own property.
- The right to an education.
- The right to paid employment and equal pay.
- The right to childcare.
- The right to plan their families.
- The right to sexual and reproductive autonomy, including safe childbirth with dignity.
It’s time women saw the Bible for what it is. And despite apologists’ attempts to sugar coat or white-wash the Bible with endless excuses, it does not change the fact that the Bible is anti-women. And the New Testament Jesus with his message of “forgiveness” no matter what evil or what harm a man has done is the ultimate license for abrogating personal responsibility.
Serial killer Robert “Willie” Pickton is a Christian. Christianity teaches that Pickton only has to hit the “Jesus Forgives Me” reset button and then he’ll get to sit at the right hand of god in heaven when he dies. It was the Bible that helped inspire Pickton to feel justified in slaughtering 49 poor and marginalized women from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, according to some of Pickton’s prison cell writings.
Of course, the Bible’s “god” approved of a concubine being gang-raped and butchered (Judges 19) — giving Christian sexual sadists and psychopaths like Robert Pickton and Gary Leon Ridgeway the green light to murder women; especially poor women from the very bottom of the socio-economic heap that were forced into the sex trade for lack of other options for economic support due to a legacy of discrimination and misogyny. As a feminist and incorrigible atheist, I think I rather prefer the company of “heathens”, “infidels”, fellow atheists and heretics.