Misogyny In The Myth Of Sodom And Gomorrah

The Sodom and Gomorrah myth appears to have been a doublet, that is a story which is recorded twice in two different contexts in biblical literature. Each account entails out of town strangers being lodged by a hospitable host, only in turn to be subjected to the threat of gang rape. Such was averted in the Sodom and Gomorrah myth, though unfortunately not so in the lesser known doublet. These tales are representative of the vile and violent culture within which they were written, and likewise reflect commonplace bigotries of the day such as homophobia and misogyny.

As is the case with doublets in the Bible, there are certainly distinctions between these two narratives. The one takes place in Sodom; whereas the setting of the other was in Gibeah. The Sodom myth involves two males traveling together; whereas the Gibeah myth cites a man and his concubine (there is a passing mention of a male servant, yet his role in the tale was evidently too insignificant for further reference). The hospitable host in the Sodom myth has two daughters; whereas in the Gibeah myth only one daughter is mentioned. The Sodom myth was the pretext for the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah; whereas the Gibeah myth was the pretext for civil war against the Benjamite tribe of Israel. Indeed, there are distinctions between these two mythical tales, yet there are certain common elements as well.

In each of the two myths at hand, out of town travelers find lodging with admittedly hospitable individuals. Unfortunately, in each case there are groups of men who gather around the abode of the hospitable host, demanding to have sex with the male strangers therein. Inexplicably, in each case the hospitable host offers to send his daughters out to be gangraped in the place of the coveted male strangers. Although in neither case are the daughters actually sent out, the concubine of the Gibeah narrative was forced outside to the fate of an all night mass molestation, which lead to her subsequent death.

These two tales reveal specific cultural bigotries of the day. Each narrative stereotypes homosexuals as sexual predators, while at the same time each normalized misogyny. The fact that the group of sexual deviants wanted to gangrape those of their same gender paints homosexuality in an exclusively negative light. This is a transparent glimpse of the worldview of ancient Hebrew values. Additionally, the fact that modern day Homophobes often cite the Sodom myth as an authoritative source to justify their bigotry illustrates the detrimental effects of incorporating the values of ancient male oriented cultures into contemporary societies.

The fact that the hospitable host in each respective narrative offers to send his daughters out to be gangraped in order to protect his male guests blatantly normalizes misogyny. To add insult to the circumstances of a daughter being offered by her own Father to be gangraped is the fact that Lot, the Father in the Sodom myth, is described as a “righteous” man in New Testament biblical writings. To describe a Father who was willing to offer his own daughters to be the victim of a gangrape as being a “righteous” man trivializes women, a circumstance which was evidently commonplace in the ancient Hebrew world from which the Old Testament was produced.

As if the later biblical assessment of Lot is not insulting enough to women, consider the literary maltreatment of Lot’s wife in the course of time. Whereas Lot, in spite of offering his own daughters to be gangraped, is referred to in the New Testament as being righteous, his poor wife was murdered and then utilized in the later biblical writings as a bad example, merely because she looked back. To put this in context, the day after having to endure the emotional stress of having her husband offer to allow their daughters to be gangraped, this poor woman was murdered because she looked back. Because she looked back!

The double standard applied to the memory of Lot’s wife in later biblical writings, as contrasted to how Lot is memorialized, is the epitome of shameless sexism and misogyny. The degrading comment “Remember Lot’s wife” memorializes her as a bad example; whereas the memory of “righteous Lot” white washes the memory of a Father who was such a misogynist that he would offer his own daughters to be gangraped in order to save face and protect his male friends.

The mythical tale of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed a case in point as to the detrimental effects of incorporating the ancient values of the male dominated Hebrew culture into modern society.

(NEXT: “The Misogyny Of Moses”)

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Christian Persecution? PLEEEZ!!!!

These County representatives who are crying “Christian Persecution” because they may have to actually perform a marriage ceremony or issue a marriage license to same sex couples; apparently lack respect for their own history, seem to have have no concept of “persecution”, and are apparently too immature to deal with real world situations that people of faith cope with each and every day.

The history of Christianity being that of both persecuted party, and persecuting puritans, one would would think that the contemporary Christian would at least have an understanding of what “persecution” really is.

Persecution is… well… it’s persecution! It’s being thrown to the Lion’s for refusing to do a silly token sacrifice to a cultural God (kind of like not taking the Pledge of Allegiance; something I refuse to do, but I doubt if I would allow myself to be mauled by a lion over my damned principles).

Or it’s like what John Calvin did to Michael Servetus when he burned him alive over a difference of doctrinal perspective regarding the Trinity.

What’s more: Cry me a river over these state employees’ dilemma of having to “get involved” in something they don’t believe in as they DO THEIR JOBS

How about the minimum wage Christian Checker at the local store who has to sell cigarettes and alcohol, but whose faith teaches such to be worldly vices. Does she cry “Christian Persecution”, because she has to actually do her job? Hell no, she doesn’t, because she does not want to lose her job that she needs so bady.

Of course, if the Checker at the local store, or the County employee at the local Court House, is sincerely that sensitive to what he or she perceives to be sin; then the solution is simple:

Quit your job to save your soul.

But don’t go cry babying about “Christian Persecution” in the process.

Persecution? PLEEEZ!!!!!

Ironies and Ignorance

Our founding Fathers wrote that “all men are created free”; yet only white, male, landowners were originally allowed to vote….

Our founding Fathers wrote that “all men are created free”; yet slavery was legal for almost 100 years after the fact…..

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Many locals of my beloved Texas, which was stolen from Mexico, have an issue with the fact that there are so many Mexicans in Texas…..

The Native Americans, whose land America stole, were the last major group to be allowed to vote (1924)…..

Our country was founded on illegal immigration, yet many of our society have an issue with illegal immigration…

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Jonathan and David in the Bible may very well have been gay lovers, yet in spite of the fact that David was “a man after God’s own heart”; many Christians believe homosexuals are going to Hell in a handbasket (granted, decorated with pretty colors, but en route to the fiery torture chamber nonetheless!!!)….

Right wing Religious types condemn Homosexuals to Hell; yet Jesus never said a word about Same Gender Relationships one way or the other….

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Right wing Religious types condemn women for having Abortions, yet the only Abortions I can find in the Bible were performed by God (cf Numbers 5:20-22):

(“But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have made yourself impure by having sexual relations with a man other than your husband”  here the priest is to put the woman under this curse—“may the Lord cause you to become a curse among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell.  May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells or your womb miscarries.”

“‘Then the woman is to say, “Amen. So be it.”)

(Note the impersonal reference “your womb miscarry/miscarries”.  Did not the inspired writer, traditionally believed to be Moses, not realize that the unborn baby is a person, and thus should be so referenced?  Silly Moses, fetuses are kids!!)

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Right wing Religious types regard homeless persons as lazy, shiftless ne’er do wells, yet Jesus was a homeless person….

Conservatives condemn government providing welfare for the poor, yet they have no problems with government subsidies for Corporations…

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CONCLUSION:

Ironies abound and Ignorance abides…..

Dave Henderson

Denison, Texas

On Suffering and Sewage

Spontaneous sensitivity to the suffering of another is a concept which is neither dependent upon teaching, conditioning, or indoctrination.

 

Experience is the teacher, and spontaneous is the experience.

 

Just as a person does not have to be taught to have an aversion to the smell of raw sewage, so likewise a person does not have to be taught to have an aversion to the suffering of another sentient being.

 

The aversion to such are natural experiences.

Once experienced, so learned.

 

In fact, the only way a person can become accustomed to the stench of raw sewage is to become desensitized to its effect.

 

In the same way, the only way a person can become accustomed to the suffering of another is to become desensitized to its effect.

 

I hope I never become so accustomed to the stench of raw sewage as to become desensitized to its repulsive odor.

 

Worse yet, I hope I never become so accustomed to the suffering of another that I become desensitized to the feelings of my fellow beings.

 

Poverty, Illness, Aging, Infant Mortality, Stress, Racism, Bigotry….

 

There are many ways people suffer.

 

And for a society to just accept such suffering as being normal and routine…..

 

Really stinks.

 

And THAT is a stench that I hope I never become desensitized to.

On Moral Codes

It seems to me that moral codes are so subjective.

 

Ironically, those who oftentimes claim to follow objective truths are in reality acknowledging codes which are somewhat reflective of their own respective cultures.  Consequently, a given culture’s subjective preferences and prejudices become that society’s comfort zone based upon a process of continuous collective conditioning.

 

For example, Fundamentalist Christianity is a reflection of the southern American culture, hence southern fundamentalist Christians tend to interpret the Bible through a prism of their cultural perspectives.

 

Likewise, fundamentalist Islam is a reflection of the cultural perspectives of the people indigenous to the areas of the origin and subsequent influence of the Muslim faith.

 

Some of the values of Fundamentalist Christians, who reference the Bible as the source of their standards are similar to those values of Muslims who trust their preferred moral code book of choice, that of course being the Koran.  Then again, some standards of each respective religion differ. Yet in each case, Fundamentalist Christians and Muslims claim that their respective scriptures are an objective source, which in the minds of each constitutes objective standards for all peoples of all times.

 

Yet the very act of referencing one’s cultural religious text book in order to establish a moral code manifests the subjective nature of the very process itself.  Each favors the book of their own respective culture, hence they make a subjective decision based upon a seemingly number of subjective factors.

 

The reason that many Christians are Christians is because Christianity is the product of  collective conditioning which in turn has developed into a cultural comfort zone.  Likewise, the prevailing religion of any other culture is subject to the same process of reasoning and development.

 

Thus any given culture’s religious stories and standards quite naturally become the faith and moral codes of that respective society.  Hence, social standards which are assumed to be objective are in reality merely subjective standards which are derived from any given culture’s historic collective conditioning.

 

Case in point, the homophobic tendencies of both Fundamentalist Christians and the Muslim communities are based upon the subjective standards which were written by homophobic peoples of the past.  Those homophobic writings then have come to be regarded as objective standards for people who even more than two millenniums later still consider such writings as sacred truths.

 

Hence, a process of collective conditioning gives rise to generational and cultural standards which are actually subjective codes; yet are regarded as objective standards by those who believe that such standards are some form of sacred scriptures.

 

Similarly, the misogynistic and racist tendencies of the past are established as the standards of contemporary conservative societies based upon the belief that the writings that document such ideologies are sacred scriptures.  Thus once again, subjective prejudices of the past are regarded as objective standards today due to the continuing collective conditioning that writings of the past constitute objective moral standards for all peoples of all times.

 

Indeed, contemporary moral codes which are considered as objective standards for all peoples of all times, are all too oftentimes merely the comfort zone of those who have been collectively conditioned to revive antiquated preferences and prejudices.

 
At least such is my admittedly subjective perspective on the matter.

A Synthesis of Spirits

A synthesis of spirits,

When two people fall in love.

And choose to stay together,

As a pair of mating doves.

 

A synthesis of spirits,

When two people’s lives entwine.

And the interests of the other,

Become as those of mine.

 

A synthesis of spirits,

May be legalized on paper.

But to do otherwise,

Is certainly no caper.

 

A synthesis of spirits,

Of those of different races.

Matters not one whit,

To those with smiling faces.

 

A synthesis of spirits,

Of those of common gender.

Is a natural way of life,

For those who love so tender.

 

A synthesis of spirits,

When two people fall in love.

And choose to stay together,

As a pair of mating doves.

 

A synthesis of spirits,

When two people’s lives entwine.

And the interests of the other,

Becomes as those of mine.

 

“NAACP-ism” or “NRA-ism”?

These times we are living in seem so promising so far as concerns tolerance and maturity in certain regards.  When I started public schools in the late 60’s, mine was somewhat of a pioneer generation unawares.  We all went to school together.  Blacks, Whites, Latinos.  There was no distinction, at least in terms of the right to be present.  And we were somewhat unaware of the greatness of the moment.  Since we were all together from the beginning, there was never any question of who belonged.  We all belonged.  That was just the way it was.  As it always should have been.  I am certain that our parents, Black and Whites alike were amazed and bewildered.  I am certain most would not have imagined, even 15-20 years before, that the day would come that everyone would be allowed in public schools, with the sole distinction being age and location of residency, rather than race and ethnicity.

At the risk of breaking my arm by patting myself on the back, I am proud to be a product of the education system of the late 60’s-late 70’s.  We were a pioneer generation, and I am proud of that. We were the “NAACP-ism” generation (Never Again Allow Childish Practices).  The generation that concerned ourselves with the plight of the underdog and the rights of the downtrodden.  We were the generation attempting to right ancestral wrongs by making things right for everybody.  And in so many ways, we have made and continue to make great strides towards even more profound social maturity and toleration.

As hard as it is to imagine, even during my lifetime “mixed” marriages were illegal.  Today, the president of these United States is “mixed”.  Is that not beautiful?  And yet the strides and accomplishments of what I term the “NAACP-ism” generation does not limit itself to progress in terms of race relations.  For just as there was a time not so long ago when black children and white children were not allowed the joys of public education side by side, likewise there was a time when true love by same gender partners were denied the recognized social status enjoyed by traditional “husband and wife” sorts. And so it is that even 15 years ago I would not have envisioned living in a society which recognizes the legal status of same gender marriage, yet here we are on the verge of crossing that threshold, so to speak.  I am proud to know that during my lifetime society will have matured to the level of recognizing equality in terms of public education, and legal recognition in terms of same gender marriages.  I truly believe that within 20 years same gender marriages will be somewhat “the law of the land”, if not on a Federal level at least in most of our 50 states.

And so it seems so odd that during times which indicate maturity and tolerance, that we should be witnessing a reversion to the old days in terms of women, race, and violence.  Reproductive health for women has not been so openly challenged on the legal level for 40 years.  Under handed efforts to deny a woman the right to reproductive health, social guidance, and the freedom to abort an early term pregnancy are ruling the day in the way of State legislatures who are grossly curbing the availability of proper medical care to women.  The dark ages of back alley abortions may one day return, and that without even having to repeal “Roe vs Wade” if these patriarchal State legislatures can seemingly eliminate a woman’s access to proper medical facilities.

And then there is the subject of guns and “kill at will”;er-uhm, I mean “stand your ground” laws.  As hard as it is to imagine, the “shoot ‘em up cowboy” generation rides again.  Patriarchal pop gun artists rule the day, once again by way of our ever powerful State legislatures.  Not only is “the right to bear arms” on the breath of the patriarchal pop gun artist types, now on a state by state basis (generating mostly in my beloved South I might add) the law supports the liberty to kill at will when one “feels threatened” instead of pursuing retreat to safety as the sensible option.  Frankly, the “shoot ‘em up cowboy” era of common citizens carrying loaded guns with the liberty to kill instead of retreat era is a radical reversion to days best left to Dime Novels and Sunday afternoon Western marathons.  This is real life.  These are real bullets.  This is real death.

If there is one lesson to be learned from the George Zimmerman “trial”, it is to realize that our society is not mature enough to be entrusted with loaded guns and the right to legally kill.  Inasmuch as I provided an idealistic view of race relations in this country based upon a long overdue integrated education system, the fact is that we have a long way to go in regard to our overall racial relations.  Frankly, racism still all too often rules the day, and racial profiling is all too often the way of those who carry guns and “protect” the streets.  If ever such a day existed, and if ever such a wrong was experienced it was realized in the way of the George Zimmerman acquittal.

There were many guilty parties in the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin incident.  Trayvon Martin was guilty of being black.  George Zimmerman was guilty of being a racist. George Zimmerman was guilty of racial profiling.  The legal system was guilty of empowering an armed racist with gunpowder residue and the fresh blood of his victim on his hands to walk away completely free, as though nothing ever happened.  And worse yet, the law further empowers this same racist to carry the same gun which ended the life of Trayvon Martin.  Whose crime against society which lead to the encounter with Zimmerman was:  Being black.

People, these are turbulent times.  State legislatures are hindering women from proper health care, while enabling armed racists to patrol the streets.  As the father of three young adults in their 20’s, I ask these questions of this generation:

What do you want for your generation?  “NAACP-ism” (Never Again Allow Childish Practices)?  Or do you want “NRA-ism” (Nuts Regulating Atrocities”)?

What do you want?  What is the right thing?

Who Me? Nervous?

Convenience Stores:  Places that sell Skittles, Canned Iced Tea, AND Tampons under the same roof make me feel nervous.

Walking the streets:  Gun toting Neighborhood Crime Watch people make me feel nervous.

Walking the streets:  Teens armed with Skittles and Canned Iced Tea make me feel nervous.

Churches:  People carrying loaded guns make me feel nervous.

Texas:  People carrying loaded guns make me feel nervous.

Austin, Texas:  Women carrying Tampons make me feel nervous.

Austin, Texas:  Governor Good Hair makes me feel nervous.

Texas Rangers baseball games:  Governor Good Hair’s mentor makes me feel nervous.

Texas Rangers baseball games:  We are in Second Place to the Oakland A’s.  That makes me feel nervous.

Colorado:  Schizophrenic states make me feel nervous.

Massachusetts:  Free thinkers make me feel nervous.

Vermont:  Free thinkers make me feel nervous.

Australia:  Free thinkers make me feel nervous.

Florida:  Florida makes me feel nervous.

Latin American countries: Democracy makes me feel nervous.

Santa Claus:  Myths makes me feel nervous.

The Easter Bunny:  Myths make me feel nervous.

Iraq:  WMD’s makes me feel nervous.  NO WAIT! File this under:  Myths make me feel nervous.

The USA: WMD’s makes me feel nervous.

In my car:  The driving of other people makes me feel nervous.

In my car:  My driving makes me feel nervous.

Walmart:  Underpaid workers make me feel nervous.

Women:  Underpaid workers make me feel nervous.

CEO’s:  Overpaid “workers” make me feel nervous.

Heterosexual couples:  People in love make me nervous.

Same gender couples:  People in love make me feel nervous.

Interracial couples:  People in love make me feel nervous.

Republican Conventions:  Corporate puppets make me feel nervous.

Democratic Conventions:  Corporate puppets make me feel nervous.

The Bible:  Fiction makes me feel nervous.

Kurt Vonnegut novels:  Truth makes me feel nervous.

Political speeches:  Double talk makes me feel nervous.

This post:  Double talk makes me feel nervous.

Facebook:  People who agree with me make me feel nervous.

Facebook:  People who don’t agree with me make me feel nervous.

The News:  Being informed makes me feel nervous.

The News:  Being misinformed makes me feel nervous.

Ignorance:  Not knowing makes me feel nervous.

Apathy:  Not caring makes me feel nervous.

Cynicism:  I make myself nervous.

Conclusions:  Conclusions make me feel nervous.

The End:  The End makes me feel nervous.

Goodbyes:  Goodbyes makes me feel nervous.

Long drawn out conclusions:  Long drawn out conclusions make me feel nervous.

Okay, I am finally finis–:  Posts with no actual end makes me feel nervous.