Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the price of antireligious iconoclasm

This week marks the 90th anniversary of the signing of the Nineteenth Amendment, which finally gave American women the right … Continued

This week marks the 90th anniversary of the signing of the Nineteenth Amendment, which finally gave American women the right to vote. Signed into law on August 26, 1920, the amendment bears the name of Susan B. Anthony. It does not bear the name of her close friend Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who actually started the American women’s rights movement with a convention in Seneca Falls, NY, in 1848.

Stanton and Anthony remained close throughout their lives, and both were agnostics. Both saw orthodox religion as a major source of women’s oppression. The difference between them was that Stanton refused to stop talking about the importance of religion to the subordination of women and Anthony held her tongue for fear of driving away women of faith from the suffragist cause and offending religious men who had the power to continue to deny women the vote.

Was Anthony tactically right? Undoubtedly. But Stanton–who first proposed the suffrage amendment–had a broader vision and a deeper understanding of the vast array of cultural forces that had held women back and would continue to do so even after they gained the vote. In 1975, unless you were a committed feminist, you would not have known who Elizabeth Cady Stanton was. The second wave of American feminism adopted Stanton’s broader vision and revived her reputation. But in her own time, and until the revival of feminism in the 1960s, Stanton was deliberately purged from the history of the women’s movement. Here’s how it happened.

In 1885, at an annual meeting of the National Woman Suffrage Association, Stanton proposed a resolution that would have condemned all religions “teaching that woman was an afterthought in creation, her sex a misfortune, marriage a condition of subordination, and maternity a curse”–in other words, just about every religion.

“You may go over the world and you will find that every form of religion which has breathed upon this earth has degraded woman,” she declared. “What power is it that makes the Hindoo woman burn herself upon the funeral pyre of her husband? Her religion. What holds the Turkish woman in the harem? Her religion. By what power do the Mormons pepetuate their system of polygamy? By their religion. Man, of himself, could not do this; but when he declares, `Thus saith the Lord,’ of course he can do it. So long as ministers stand up and tell us Christ is the head of the Church, so is man the head of women, how are we to break the chains which have held women down through the ages? You Christian women look at the Hindoo, the Turkish, the Mormon women, and womder how they can be held in such bondage…

“Now I ask you if our religion teaches the dignity of woman? It teaches us the abominable idea of the sixth century–Augustine’s idea–that motherhood is a curse, that woman is the author of sin, and is most corrupt. Can we ever cultivate any proper sense of self-respect as women take such sentiments from the mouths of the priesthood?”

Anthony, who was working to forge an alliance between Christian women’s organizations (including the powerful Women’s Christian Temperance Union) and the secular organization that she and Stanton had founded, persuaded the delegates to table Stanton’s resolution. After all of the pro-suffrage organizations–religious and nonreligious–merged in 1890, Anthony–who was placed in charge of the day-to-day operations–expressed an almost wistful hope that the new organization’s platform “be kept broad enough for the infidel, the atheist.”

No way. This was the point at which the argument for suffrage was presented on the basis of women’s supposedly superior moral goodness rather than on women’s right to basic civic equality. Stanton was eased out of power and concentrated on writing The Woman’s Bible, which Anthony urged her not to publish becaue it would set back the cause of suffrage. Stanton’s Bible, written by her and a number of female scholars, re-examines the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament as literary fictions of men. This approach has become so common in religious studies today that it is tough to imagine how revolutionary (and offensive to the clergy of many faiths) it was in 1895, when the book was published. The Woman’s Bible did to Stanton’s reputation exactly what Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason had done to his reputation in America a century earlier.

Stanton was as funny as she was irreverent. She quoted from Paul’s well-known First Epistle to Timonthy, in which he insisted that women must “adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array…Let the women learn in silence with all subjection.” Stanton commented, “It appears very trifling to men, commissioned to do so great a work on earth, to give so much thought to the toilets of women. Ordering the men to have their heads shaved and hair cropped, while the women were told to have their locks hanging around their shoulders, looks as if they [the men] feared that the sexes were not distinguishable and that they must finish Nature’s work.”

Jews were no more pleased than Christians by Stanton’s views about religion. Stanton once told a group of Jewish women, coming to dispute with her, that Jewish men would be much better advised to say, “I thank thee, O Lord, that I was not born a jackass,’ than the traditional, “I thank thee, O Lord, that I was not born a woman.”

The unified National American Women Suffrage Association passed a resolution disavowing The Woman’s Bible–repudiating, in effect, the founder of the entire suffrage movement. On this occasion, Anthony finally rose to the defense of her old friend and her own secular convictions. “Are you going to cater to the whims and prejudices of people who have no intelligent knowledge of what they condemn?,” she asked. “You would better eduacte ten women into the practice of liberal principles than to organize ten thousand on a platform of intolerance and bigotry.”

The censure resolution passed, of course, and from that day forward Stanton was written out of the official history of the women’s movement. In 1923, a ceremony commorating the 75th anniversary of the Seneca Falls convention made no mention of Stanton in the program or brochure. As recently as 1977, when runners carried a torch from Seneca Falls to Houston for a meeting in honor of International Women’s Year, Anthony’s grandniece sat on the dais but no descendant of Stanton’s had been invited (which took some doing, since Stanton had seven children and, as might be expected, numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren).

Even her own children contributed to the long obfuscation of their mother’s antireligious views, altering her autobiography and cutting her entire chapter on women and theology. Fortunately for the new feminist historians who came along in the 1980s, the children had not been able to burn every copy of the originally published autogiography or tear up and burn many of her personal letters.

No matter. In this case, history has caught up with Stanton. Time has borne out the truth of her assertion that no woman could be free as long as she let her minister, priest, rabbi or imam tell her what she could do and define her as an inferior human being. And Stanton’s refusal to silence herself, even though it was not the politically smart thing to do, stands as one of the landmarks in the history of reason. Like Thomas Paine, she was no summer soldier or sunshine patriot.

Note: I’m on vacation this week and will post again on August 31.

About

Susan Jacoby Susan Jacoby is the author of "Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism"­ and is completing a secular history of religious conversion.
  • timmy2

    Another good example of how religion poisons everything and holds back the progress of the human race out of the dark ages. Thank you Susan for telling Stanton’s inspirational story. Political tact be damned. Speak the truth and speak your conscience at all times.

  • bpai_99

    It’s striking how much Islam and Christianity have in common when it comes to oppressing women.

  • Carstonio

    This would be a good question for a future column by Jacoby or another interested columnist – why do so many religions have these attitudes toward women? I know of only one book that claims to address the subject, “The Chalice and the Blade,” but its historical inaccuracies are on a par with those in “The Da Vinci Code.”

  • mokey2

    Ms. Jacoby has the second piece of the puzzle with the information here about Ms. Stanton.. but there’s another woman who was even more involved in these organizations.. left out of history because she was a practicing Theosophist. Matilda Joslyn Gage was an abolitionist,used her home as a stop on the Underground Railroad, and one of the three cofounders of the NWSA. She probably wrote a lot of the works that are attributed to both Anthony and Stanton, including large segments of the Women’s Bible. She and Anthony were so close in the beginning of the movement that Susan B. Anthony carved her name into the window of Gage’s house, since she was there so much. Gage recognized the dangers inherent in allying the cause with the Christian groups long before Anthony came to regret the alliance and a large schism happened wherein they didn’t speak for many years because of it. Matilda Gage founded the National Women’s Liberal Union in 1890 as a response to Anthony’s alignment of the NWSA with the Christian organizations. She stood up for Anthony when Anthony successfully voted in one of the elections and was arrested for it.Her advocacy for the rights of the Native American tribes she was in contact with led them to formally adopt her as one of their own. Yet there is no mention whatsoever of her in most history books, unless you know where to look. I guess if you’re a member of a minority belief system (or an outright athsist for that matter) there’s not much room for you in the historical record.Incidentally, one of her bigger accomplishments came when she influenced her son-in-law with her views on the early women’s prechristian wisdom and her research into it to combine his ideas and hers into a book that he had written for children. That book later became a movie.I wonder if L. Frank Baum had stood for Lisa Frank Baum would that book have been allowed to become as successful as it did?I think people would be really shocked to find out how much history is either glossed over, left out or ignored altogether. The depths of our ignorance is staggering, and as we all know, those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.The ultimate irony- the rights we women take for granted today- fought for by at least one woman who deliberately aligned herself with the witches killed throughout history.

  • themoderate

    Another good example of how Atheism poisons everything and returns the human race to the dark ages. ;-)SOVIET UNION: The Secret Police vs. Women’s Lib“Moscow expels a trio of underground feministsWhen the U.S.S.R.’s first feminist magazine, The Woman and Russia, called Soviet men irresponsible drunkards, the authorities were dismayed. When the underground publication went on to declare that Soviet society “degrades women to the status of a work animal, a sex object and a breeding machine,” they became alarmed. Finally, when the feminists called upon wives and mothers to persuade men not to fight in Afghanistan, the KGB felt compelled to move in on the fledgling women’s liberation movement. Secret police agents swooped down on the Leningrad apartments of three editors of the magazine and gave them 24 hours to get out of the Soviet Union or face prison sentences. When the women chose exile, the authorities quickly stripped them of their Soviet citizenship.”So the human evils that distress you so are well documented in Atheist societies too. Are you distressed that religion is unable to completely change human nature for the better? Sometimes the human race is really disappointing, isn’t it?

  • timmy2

    Mistaken Moderate”Another good example of how Atheism poisons everything”Silly dupe. There is no such thing as “atheism.” It’s a made up word that has no real meaning. The word “atheist” is broken down as follows. It’s A-Theist, not Athe-ist. The “ism” goes with the word “theism.” The word atheist simply means “not a theist”. People who are atheists do not practice something called atheism. They are just people who do not practice theism. People who are not horticulturists do not practice anything called A-horticulturism. They are just people who are not horticulturists. “So the human evils that distress you so are well documented in Atheist societies too”This argument is so old and defeated. The Soviet Union was a COMMUNIST society not an atheist society. The woman’s issue you just cited was caused by communism and totalitarianism not by this thing you call atheism. And soviet communism more closely resembles religion than secularism complete with god like unquestionable figure head. There are no atheists looking to create an all atheist society. I don’t know a single atheist who is not in favor of freedom of religion and freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Such an old defeated argument popular with the dimwit Bill O’reily and Sarah Palin crowd. You should be proud to be parroting their simplistic talking points. “Are you distressed that religion is unable to completely change human nature for the better?”I am in no distress, sir. But I sense that you really wish I were. And that is telling. “Sometimes the human race is really disappointing, isn’t it?”That is not how I see it. That is the misanthropic view held by most religions. Man the fallen sinful animal. I think humans are awesome. It’s just that most of them are under the spell of archaic God cults at the present time. I’m doing my best to raise this awareness, but there is no distress. I am quite optimistic for the future of the human race. For one thing, religion is declining world wide. So that’s a a good sign. But it is not being replaced by anything called “atheism.” Because there is really no such thing. People are just waking up and not being religious anymore. Some have replaced their old archaic dogmatic religion with a personal spirituality or philosophy, and some have replaced it with nothing because they realize that it really needs no replacing.

  • themoderate

    Timmy,Your word play is cute but avoids honestly facing the facts. The point is that if anything “poisons everything” it is Human Nature. We are all blessed and cursed with the strengths and weakness of being human. If we are fundamentalists, merely religious, agnostic, Atheist, or fulminatingly anti religious, we still are heir to the faults of humanity.

  • themoderate

    Timmy,Also, this site and many others are full of evangelical Atheists who want to push their points on others. So there definitely is such at thing as militant Atheism. You are entitled to your opinions and even are an interesting correspondent, but there is such a thing as militant Atheism, and it is often as nasty as the Christian fundamentalists.

  • WmarkW

    About pre-Industrial women:Religions have generally codified the culture of their current society as being a manifestation of Nature/God. In any non-industrial society, the provider/homemaker division of labor was essentially universal, except among a small elite.When mankind evolved from Cro-Magnon to modern, gender roles simultaneously became more specialized. The division was universal until industrialization in essentially every society on earth. It can’t reasonably be argued that some cultural deficiency in males traversed the entire world. Traditional gender roles made perfect sense until the empowerment of industrialization.

  • timmy2

    Mistaken Moderate”The point is that if anything “poisons everything” it is Human Nature”As I said, that is the misanthropic view. Human nature doesn’t poison everything any more than cougar nature poisons everything. We are just an animal with bigger brains. If you don’t like big brains, if you think they are poisonous and a pain in our ass, try a lobotomy. “We are all blessed and cursed with the strengths and weakness of being human”I don’t believe in “blessings” and “curses” so you’re on your own with this line of thought. We are what we are and we can look at improving our situation pragmatically without being hyper emotional and misanthropic. “If we are fundamentalists, merely religious, agnostic, Atheist, or fulminatingly anti religious, we still are heir to the faults of humanity”Hmmmm, why did you leave “fundamentally moderate” off that list? I am not fundamentally an atheist, or agnostic, or anti-religious, though i am currently an atheist, agnostic and anti-religious. But there is no fundamentalism here because my opinion is evidence based and changeable with new information and new evidence. “Also, this site and many others are full of evangelical Atheists who want to push their points on others”I see people of all opinions sharing their opinions here. For some reason you want to characterize spirited debate as “pushing their points on others.” No one is pushing anything on anyone. No one is forcing anything on anyone. We’re all just engaged in heated debate using our free speech which is what makes this country so great. When Christians come to my door, they are not “pushing” their religion on me, they are there to share their faith with me. I usually invite them in for tea and we share our thoughts with each other. People who use terms like “pushing their opinions on others” are people who are against free speech. These are people who want their ideas protected against criticism. They want to deem criticism of their ideas as bigotry. In other words, they want their ideas protected like their skin color is. It just doesn’t work that way nor should it. “So there definitely is such at thing as militant Atheism”I’ve never seen it. I’ve never seen atheists using anything but free speech and involved debate to counter what they see as bad ideas. “but there is such a thing as militant Atheism, and it is often as nasty as the Christian fundamentalists”If this be the case, then you are a fundamentalist militant moderate and you are pushing your moderate views on others. But I just don’t see it that way. Some people use words like “fundamentalist” and “militant” for reasons of demagoguery. And I’m looking in your direction, militant moderate.

  • WmarkW

    Genghis Kahn lived 800 years, or about 32 generations ago. Since two the 32d power is over 4 billion, there’s been plenty of time for one man’s seed to distribute broadly through the population, even without a big head start.

  • edbyronadams

    “Genghis Kahn lived 800 years, or about 32 generations ago. Since two the 32d power is over 4 billion, there’s been plenty of time for one man’s seed to distribute broadly through the population, even without a big head start.”Since the figure 8% is a ratio, not a raw number, I fail to see your point. How could one man’s seed get spread so wide without selective advantage over the myriad other males in the population at that time?

  • getjiggly

    What is your ethics? What drives your morality? Without a valid one that is necessary, you cannot even begin to judge religion with any shred of impartiality or credibility. As it stands, all I see is an ideological premise with an ideological goal in mind, and a sense of morality derived from it. But when all is said and done, the ideology is itself arbitrary and unnecessary.

  • Athena4

    The Soviet Union was atheist in name only. They kept the Russian Orthodox Church around by setting up a puppet Patriarch. They persecuted all other religions, including the indigenous ones in Siberia. They also paid lip service to women’s equality – like all countries did in the mid-20th Century. They made a great show of having a token female member of the Politburo, but she was generally the “Minister of Culture” or some lower-status role. She didn’t get to play with the Big Boys. Like most “new” utopian societies, the USSR was strongly influenced by what came before.

  • timmy2

    “The Soviets also established the Society of Militant Atheism”Nope. This is a dim witted talking point used by the likes of Bill O’reily and Glen Beck. There is no such thing as “atheism.” It is a word invented by the religious to make it sound like not believing in their God is an alternative religion. It’s not. If you think there is something called “atheism” you have been fooled. Please quote from the book of atheism. What’s that? There isn’t one? Correct. The soviets did not install anything called atheism, they outlawed religion, and in it’s place they instituted the ideology of materialism and communism. They could not have installed the ideology of Atheism because there is no such thing. Karl Marx wrote volumes on Materialism and Communism and wrote nothing about anything called “atheism.”

  • edbyronadams

    Timmy2,Look it up.

  • farnaz_mansouri2

    Mark writes:”John Esposito has just put up a column about women’s rights in Muslim countries that hasn’t been linked from the Main Page yet (Farnaz, among others, might want to know)”How are you, Mark? Actually, John Esposito is one of those academics for whose absence in my life I am daily grateful. He is a simple hypocritical opportunist, a devout Roman Catholic apologist for Saudi Arabia, from which he has received a twenty million dollar grant. My sneaking suspicion is that one way or another, he and his project have gotten more.Never will you hear a word from him about the guest workers in Saudi Arabia, the “untouchables” (literally), among whom the Palestinians are at the bottom of the barrel. You will not read of stonings, the beheading of gays, etc.I have heard him, seen him defend Saudi policies on women, attempting to face down Saudi male academics who protested. Not a word from him about the girls who burned alive in a school that caught fire because the sex police muillahs would not let the police and firefighters try to rescue them–they could have come out in disarray.I clicked onto the article. If he is trying to make peace with his Maker, he will have to try harder.I cannot stand this man.

  • timmy2

    EdLook what up?Christians follow the Bible.

  • edbyronadams

    Timmy,The Soviets had a policy of anti religious activities. The formed an official organ to promote these policies that at times and translations was called the Society of Godless or the League of Militant Atheism. They had a program to destroy places of worship. Marx believed Communism and religion could not coexist. This stuff is easy to find in today’s information rich world. You claim to be open to new information but demonstrate the opposite. The silliest manifestation is denying that atheism does not exist in a blog titled “The Spirited Atheist”. In fact, Ms. Jacoby’s rhetoric in which she often sets up a dialectic between religion and rationality sounds much like Soviet propaganda about religion.

  • timmy2

    EdI see that you failed to come up with any literature outlining this ideology called “atheism.” Of course I’m not surprised. no such thing exists. “The Soviets had a policy of anti religious activities”Yes, I told you this. The word “atheist” does not mean anti-religious, in fact there are several religions such as jainism and some forms of both Hinduism and Buddhism which are atheist. There are religious atheists. “They had a program to destroy places of worship. Marx believed Communism and religion could not coexist. This stuff is easy to find in today’s information rich world”Yes I told you all of this as well. I am aware of all of this. It doesn’t make the word “atheism” a valid ideology. “The silliest manifestation is denying that atheism does not exist in a blog titled “The Spirited Atheist”.”So if there are atheists, there must be atheism? It doesn’t work like that. There are dentists and florists. Is there dentism? Florism? The word “atheist” describes someone who rejects a particular philosophical posit. It is not a philosophical posit of it’s own. You can’t disbelieve the notion of God until someone posits God. Also, Isms require literature in their name. Where is this literature outlining “atheism”? There is no such thing. The militant enforcement of anti religion policies is a COMMUNIST ideal, not an atheist ideal. “In fact, Ms. Jacoby’s rhetoric in which she often sets up a dialectic between religion and rationality sounds much like Soviet propaganda about religion”So says you. That is your opinion which most atheists would disagree with. Criticism of a set of bad ideas does not a soviet make. It’s just free speech. Like me, and all other atheists you might run into here, Susan would defend to her dying breath freedom of religion, speech, and the press. If we atheists followed the same set of literature as the Soviets, and this literature were called something like, “The Book of Atheism” then your point might be valid. But since none of those things are true, your point is nothing more than ignorant and purposeful demagoguery. And you know it. Shame. Susan, me, and all atheists you see here would never try to force our views on God and religion on anyone. And no, having a column called the spirited atheist is not pushing. It is publishing and sharing. Only people against free speech that they don’t like to hear call it “pushing” and pathetically try to characterize it as Stalinist.

  • Jihadist

    I thank thee, O Lord, that I was born a woman giving birth to men who are jackasses and jerks, women who are viragos and vamps, and entertaining me endlessly. Ms. Jacoby, wrote an interesting piece, “Liberalism and its Discontent” is published elsewhere and not in “On Faith”. I chanced upon it in the Net. It would make a wonderful companion piece to this current essay of hers here. Not that I quite fully agree with what Ms. Jacoby said on Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). The latter said to be the only think tank which offered her a job.The AEI and Ms. Ayaan Hirsi Ali are a natural fit. Both are “rightist”. Ms. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is also a “rightist” even when in the Netherlands, being rather drastic is seeking solutions such as barring immigration by Muslims etc. One surely can’t take an athiest such as Ms. Ayaan Hirsi Ali seriously, when she suggested Muslims should convert to Christianity and such.

  • timmy2

    Nice try Jihadist. Did you not notice that none of those people you just mentioned were around during the Soviet era?I guess you didn’t notice that. Did I say nice try? I really should retract that.

  • edbyronadams

    Tim,My original statement.The Soviets also established the Society of Militant Atheism.Your first response.”Nope.”Sorry, you were wrong and a minute on the internet would have show you were wrong.

  • timmy2

    Ed,Hitler called his people the “Aryan race” and yet there is no such a thing as the “Aryan race”. Get it?In order for there to be such a thing as “militant atheism” there must be such a thing as “atheism.” So either find me an “ism” that is not outlined in literature or find me the literature that outlines the ideology of “atheism”. And no, a wikipedia page does not qualify as literature.

  • timmy2

    Ed,Spend one minute on the internet and you can read all about Hitler’s “Aryan Race.”Spend a little more time than just one minute on the internet and you will discover that there is actually no such thing as the Aryan race. My suggestion? Spend a little more time on the internet than just one minute. The proper response to the statement “Hitler established the Aryan race” is: Nope.

  • timmy2

    Persiflage,Don’t worry about the double post. It was worth saying twice.

  • daniel12

    I have a book by Diderot called “the nun”, about a French girl forced into becoming a nun. I have yet to read it, but the book is supposed to be great, as one would expect coming from Diderot. From what little I gathered, it would be a book feminists might want to look into if not knowing about it already.

  • timmy2

    WMARKW Part Two”When I see feminists on college campuses avering that America needs to become more multi-cultural, I always want to ask if we should start with third world gender attitudes”While I think we have much to learn from every culture, I am not a multiculturist or a mosaic guy. I’m all about the melting pot. The latest science shows that Just 140,000 years ago we were just 600 survivors of an ice age that almostwiped out our species. This is when we went from homo sapien to homo sapien sapien. From man to modern man. Some scientists think there may have been fewer than 600 breeding adults in a small pocket of Africa. From their we set out of Africa as one race and populated the earth. Vast distances that separated us and drastically different environments and climates caused separate cultures and different ethnicities to develop. Scientists still can not truly distinguish what race is or come to a conclusion of how many races there are. That is because we started from that small group of people and we remained one race up until about 80,000 years ago. We are genetically 99.99% identical. People from other cultures are not different from us in nature. They were raised to be different. The proof of that is that you could take a newborn baby from a Japanese family whose history in Japanese culture goes back as far it can possibly go, and raise that baby in an America household with American culture and that child will be completely American culturally.If you want to talk about gender rights, talk about gender rights. No need to say “western culture is the best.” It is on gender issues, and many others, but not on all issues. Western culture was burning witches 300 years ago and only gave women the vote 80 years ago. We’ve gotten better and so will they. The world will always have differences in culture but they will one day be much less pronounced, and they will divided by region not by race or ethnicity. We are already on the way back towards becoming one race again. There will eventually be a one world culture with these minor regional sub-cultures. And yes I am aware that this is my opinion and not a fact. But before we can accomplish any of that, we have to hope that 2 thirds of the world’s population will soon stop believing in the magic sky fairy.

  • timmy2

    WMARKW Part OneSorry about the length, I got going and couldn’t stop. “And things like this are a big part of the reason I’m a conservative”America is so partisan. It’s killing her. Calling one’s self a “conservative” or a “liberal” is so destructive. Everyone who does so makes ugly bedfellows allowing their tribal instincts to rule their mind. Call yourself a “conservative” and you are saying “I side with Sarah Palin. Call yourself a liberal and you are saying “I side with Michael Moore.Why can’t everyone just vote their conscience on every issue? Because there are only 2 political parties. America is set up to fail with this insane partisanship. It is a problem in many countries of course, but America is cripplingly partisan, now more than ever. It is all tribal urges. We allow ourselves to get so fired up by spin and propaganda. America needs another revolution. Imagine the first western world country that finds a way to end partisanship in the political process. I think the internet is the tool that can make such a thing happen. Imagine if WMarkW could vote his conscience on every issue without ever having to support Sarah Palin’s ideology. Imagine if I could vote my conscience without ever having to support Michael Moore’s ideology. Think about it America. You need to reinvent yourself there’s no question about that. The world is passing you by as you bicker between your two teams. It would have happened already if they weren’t also internally tribal and bickering too. But many countries in the first world are not nearly as dually divided as America and overcoming this is what is going to make or break you. Imagine a world where we could vote our conscience on every issue and not have to make bedfellows with Sara Palin or Michael Moore. I’ve already got the slogan for this movement. “You gotta fight, for your right, to not party”Unga bunga bunga! Stop being so tribal. Western culture is the best in many ways but not all ways. Taking the full side of western culture is asinine tribal warrism. You really think that this whole other half of the world got everything wrong and the western world got everything right? Even if you think western society got most things right talk about the issues not the teams. Be loyal to ideals not to countries or political parties or religions or cultures. Be individualized on every ideal. make no ugly bedfellows.

  • WmarkW

    Timmy, I’ll reply without direct quotes:1. I agree that current political structure is not good. My politically formative years were the mid60s-70s, when the parties had much more internal breadth than today. The Republicans had a liberal bloc from the extreme northeast and the Democrats a conservative one from the deep south. On every issue the partisan and ideological lineups weren’t identical. Today, candidates like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Joe Lieberman can win a general election in a walk that couldn’t be nominated by either party.2. Human evolution did not stop at the Red Sea. The selecting pressures of environment caused physical as well as cultural changes, and one of those was intelligence. Look at any nation in the world today, and its success can be traced to which of three lifestyles its ancestors were practicing 500 years ago: a) hunting and gathering with minimal agriculture; b) 365-day agricultural year; c) seasonal agriculture. The selecting pressures on IQ of these circumstances reverberates today.3. The transition from monarchy to democracy took centuries (from an Anglo perspective) beginning with the Magna Carta. The franchise was expanded slowly to nobles, property owners, all white men, minority men and women. The time-distance among the last three was a clock-tick in cultural terms.4. I think the magic sky fairy is an overrated barrier. People believe that the MSF supports whatever their own fundamental assumptions about the good are. It’s hard to see where southerners’ belief in racial segregation and a large military is supported by anything Jesus said, for example.

  • Jihadist

    “Theism in all it’s various forms is responsible for countless millions of murders. Modern-day totalitarian regimes that attempt to replace God with pathological dictators have a similar history – Mao should have used Ghengis Khan, a thoroughly enlightened Shamanist despot, as a role model. He declared freedom of religion throughout his empire!”*******************************************Good joke. Genghis Khan and his hordes also practice pillage, surrender or be killed and all that in his conquests. Mao did give a certain truism to a Chinese saying, or rather curse of sorts -”May you live in interesting times.” Mao gave Chinese an “interesting time” with the civil war, the Long March, the Cultural Revolution. I have yet to see a book out on “The Leadership Secrets of Mao Zedong” besides the “Thoughts of Mao Zedong”. I am waiting for another Little Red Book hopefully called “The Second Thoughts of Mao Zedong”. Alas, we would never know, would we, on what he really thought of Genghis Khan and the Cultural Revolution. But then, despots like Genghis Khan and Mao are not given to having second thoughts on what they do once they’ve made up their minds. We’ll also would never know, would we, how China would turn out if Chiang won and Mao lost in the Chinese civil war resulting in the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China. A revolution is not a dinner party, so said Mao. But we are seeing the Tea Party making a revolting one for some in the States. Perhaps they find living in a pluralistic, multicultural country and world is not a tea or dinner party to their liking, and seek to bring about political, economic and social changes which they are most comfortable with. Some “leaders” don’t realise they are being “totalitarian” in trying to total people by shock and awe actions, by barrages of vilifications to impose certain “values” and “norms” – from Genghis Khan to Mao to neocons to certain Tea Party mini-minor, despotic, dictating sorts. The Tea Partyists seem intent on “treading” on and “murdering” the US Constitution and Bill of Rights for millions of Americans. Perhaps they also think and believe, as Mao did, – “Power comes from the barrel of a gun” too, in their constant braying for war.

  • timmy2

    Mark,”The selecting pressures of environment caused physical as well as cultural changes, and one of those was intelligence”100% bs. There are whites of european descent who can not make it our of highschool because of their intelligence level, and blacks of African descent who are top cosmologists and members of the supreme court. There are stupid people and smart people in every society and from every culture. What you said above is 100% xenophobic bs. “The selecting pressures on IQ of these circumstances reverberates today”100% bs, as are IQ tests. All humans are 99.9% identical genetically. And most of that .1% difference is individual not group. What you are spouting here is 100% bs. “It’s hard to see where southerners’ belief in racial segregation and a large military is supported by anything Jesus said, for example”lol. Jesus was a jew. And the old testament is most firmly bound to the new testament. Never to be separated. Southerners learn xenophobic racism, and war in the name of their nation, from the Bible. No question about it.

  • timmy2

    Jihadist,Are you saying that Genghis Khan was not a religious man? Were the crusades not caused by religion? The joke is denying the horror that supernatural beliefs (religion) have caused in our world. The most unfunny joke of all time. Oh yeah, and from the last thread. So you are saying that the soviet atheists learned their atheism from Hitchens, Dawkins and Harris? Now that is funny.

  • farnaz_mansouri2

    Continued# “He that is not with me is against me.” 12:30# “Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him.” 12:31-32# Jesus often called people names. One of his favorites was to call his adversaries a “generation of vipers.” 12:34# Jesus will send his angels to gather up “all that offend” and they “shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” 13:41-42, 50# Jesus refuses to heal the Canaanite (Mk.7:26 says she was Greek) woman’s possessed daughter, saying “it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to the dogs.” 15:22-26# The ever-so-kind Jesus calls the Pharisees “hypocrites, wicked, and adulterous.” 15:2-3# In the parable of the marriage feast, the king sends his servants to gather everyone they can find, both bad and good, to come to the wedding feast. One guest didn’t have on his wedding garment, so the king tied him up and “cast him into the outer darkness” where “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 22:12-13# Jesus condemns the Jews for being “the children of them which killed the prophets.” 23:31# Jesus blames his the Jews (who were then living) for “all the righteous blood” from Abel to Zecharias, 23:35# The servant who kept and returned his master’s talent was cast into the “outer darkness” where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 25:30# Jesus tells us what he has planned for those that he dislikes. They will be cast into an “everlasting fire.” 25:41# “His blood be on us, and on our children.” This verse blames the Jews for the death of Jesus and has been used to justify their persecution for twenty centuries. 27:25Want more? Plenty where this came from. Just say the word.Too bad these folks couldn’t read Tanakh, Judah Hanasi, et al.

  • farnaz_mansouri2

    Mark, Timmy,”It’s hard to see where southerners’ belief in racial segregation and a large military is supported by anything Jesus said, for example”LOL! “NT” (sic and see highlights from Matthew (a Christian) below. Jesus was a Christian (Jesus “Christ”), as were the Southern slavers, as are the the Apartheid masters of indigenous peoples in the US, Canada, etc. Matthew# While insulting the Pharisees and Sadducees, John the Baptist calls an entire generation a “generation of vipers.” 3:7# Those who bear bad fruit will be cut down and burned “with unquenchable fire.” 3:10, 12# Jesus says that most people will go to hell. 7:13-14# Those who fail to bear “good fruit” will be “hewn down, and cast into the fire.” 7:19# “the children of the kingdom [the Jews] shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 8:12# Jesus tells his disciples to keep away from the Gentiles and Samaritans, and go only to the Israelites. 10:5-6# Cities that neither “receive” the disciples nor “hear” their words will be destroyed by God. It will be worse for them than for Sodom and Gomorrah. And you know what God supposedly did to those poor folks (see Gen.19:24). 10:14-15# Families will be torn apart because of Jesus (this is one of the few “prophecies” in the Bible that has actually come true). “Brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.” 10:21# “Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” 10:33# Jesus says that he has come to destroy families by making family members hate each other. He has “come not to send peace, but a sword.” 10:34-36# Jesus condemns entire cities to dreadful deaths and to the eternal torment of hell because they didn’t care for his preaching. 11:20-24Continues below

  • WmarkW

    Farnaz, your examples below are mostly postmortem punishments in heaven. When someone asks me what the difference is between a Christian and Muslim fundamentalist, I reply that the former leaves my punishment to God.

  • farnaz_mansouri2

    Hi, Mark, Farnaz, your examples below are mostly postmortem punishments in heaven. When someone asks me what the difference is between a Christian and Muslim fundamentalist, I reply that the former leaves my punishment to God.John# People are damned or saved depending only on what they believe. 3:18, 36 # The “wrath of God” is on all unbelievers. 3:36# John says that the Jews persecuted Jesus and “sought to slay him.” 5:16, 18# John says that Jesus “would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him.” 7:1# No one could speak openly about Jesus “for fear of the Jews.” 7:13# If you don’t believe in Jesus, you will “die in your sins” (and then go to hell). 8:24# Jesus calls his opponents (the Jews) the sons of the devil. 8:44# Once again, “the Jews” are accused of trying to kill Jesus. 11:8# If you don’t believe in Jesus you are going to hell. 12:48# Jesus is the only way to heaven. All other religions lead to hell. 14:6# John blames the Jews for the death of Jesus. 19:7, 12, 14-15# “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father.”# Those who do not believe in Jesus will be cast into a fire to be burned. 15:6# Now that Jesus has come, non-believers have no excuse for not believing in him. 15:22# “For fear of the Jews”# John, with his usual anti-Semitism, says that the disciples hid in locked room “for fear of the Jews.” 20:19

  • timmy2

    Farnaz,Thanks for the NT passages. Historical Jesus (if he actually existed) was born a Jew and raised a Jew. So was the completely mythical character of Biblical Jesus Christ also born and raised a Jew. I have read many a book on Jesus and watched many a documentary and I have read the Bible and I have never heard any credible person say that he died as anything other than a Jew. His name was not Jesus Christ when he was alive. He never even uttered the words “Christ or “Christian.”And I wish you would really get off this “Apartheid masters of indigenous peoples in Canada” nonsense. You are really embarrassing yourself. For one, they are not indigenous peoples. That term is no longer politically or scientifically correct. The proper term now is first nations because it is true and not false like the term “indigenous.”Also, there is no apartheid in Canada. I live in a town that is almost half first nations and our little community is surrounded by reserve lands and first nations communities that go back 10,000 years. I live work and play with these people every day. You are so far off base and so demagogic with your rhetoric on this subject and it is ugly. If I showed some of your posts to my first nations neighbors they would both laugh and be disgusted. The truth is they do have unequal rights in Canada but the inequality is in their favor and most of them know it. They can come and go and live and work anywhere they please in all of Canada, but there are also special huge tracts of land where only they can come and go and live and work. They also are not bound by many of our laws, mainly in environmental and fishing but also in gaming other areas. And each and every first nations child is offered free education through college. They have every single right that any other Canadian has and then some. And that’s a fact. All of the segregation today by first nations people in this country is of their own choosing. Most of the poverty is due to the fact that we let them govern their own affairs and their internal politics is very corrupt. The money that goes to the various bands from our government is misused and does not make it into the hands of those who need it most. These things are all improving however. In my community we live and work together in harmony. Most of my first nations friends and colleagues just want to live a normal life (their words). And by that they mean live just like any other Canadian. They all have every right, and all the help in the world from our government, to do so. They also have the choice of living on a reserve and living the traditional lifestyle of their ancestors. You are wrong to characterize it the way you do. You are welcome to continue to do so and keep looking back in time if you like, and trying to rehash old hatreds and conflicts, but I’m telling you that it is ugly and ignorant.

  • timmy2

    Mark,”I reply that the former (Christians) leave my punishment to God”Punishment for what? Masturbating? Being gay? Adultery? Not accepting Jesus as your one and only true savior? You say they leave it to God to punish you for these sins? Isn’t that nice of them. Note that they also leave it up to God and God only to punish child molesters.

  • farnaz_mansouri2

    Timmy,You are mistaken. I am glad that most of your First Nations friends are doing well, and they are not alone. The vast majority are not. MOst of what I have on them is in articles and books, but I will find sites for you.I research human rights; that is how I wound up making some rather horrific discoveries. It is odd that Onofrio does not protest current characterizations of the Australian indigenes.

  • farnaz_mansouri2

    Timmy,You say his name was not Jesus Christ? Jesus H. Christ? Sorry, but there is nothing Jewish in his depiction. Greek, Near Eastern, etc. I, too, have read.Anyway, if he existed, and this is a big if, he died the way Akiba died. And the Romans are still with us.

  • timmy2

    Farnaz”You are mistaken. I am glad that most of your First Nations friends are doing well, and they are not alone. The vast majority are not”You are mistaken. It is not the vast majority. But it is true that many are not doing well at all. But what would you suggest we do for them that we are not currently not doing? You are aware that there was poverty among their peoples before first contact don’t you? And disease and war and starvation squalor and poor education? Did you know they routinely raided rival tribes and took slaves long before first contact? They sold some of their slaves to the Europeans in exchange for goods and favors. Lot’s of bad stuff went on way back when. But it’s time to look forward. So what are your suggestions? “You say his name was not Jesus Christ?While he was alive, (fictionally or for real) that is correct. That was not his name. “Sorry, but there is nothing Jewish in his depiction”You mean except the fact that he was Jewish? As were his earliest followers.

  • farnaz_mansouri2

    Timmy,The facts on First Nations peoples, as gathered by Canadian government offices, First Nations officials, newspapers, etc., speak for themselves. They are horrible. The poverty, differences in life expectancy, percentage of unemployed, percentage of high school graduates, etc.The links are there. I have more. If you’d like I’ll cut and paste from the sites.Jesus Christ, as depicted, is not Jewish. We’ve been through this before, with sources, etc. Tiring, and I don’t wish to repeat it. Use google to find Onofrio’s learned discourse, and my humble offerings.Frankly, as an atheist, this is not of interest to me. Believe what you’d like. As long as it doesn’t infiltrate my government or space, I’m fine with it, whatever it is.

  • mrbradwii

    History, it seems, is indeed written by the winners… sometimes it just takes longer for the results to shake out.Religion is a social network, fitting somewhere between blood and nation-state–and undoubtedly instrumental as a political tool for creating and stabilizing the nation-state. However, the subjugation of women doesn’t really fit into that pattern. It seems to define its own branch of sociopathy, probably related to the physical conditions from which it sprang, not unlike the herding, protecting, and isolating of does by dominant males in other species. That religion continued it was a natural evolution of human organization. Which is why Stanton’s insights were so prescient. To question a social or political structure that is a vestigial remnant of our evolutionary history is hard to do because it is so *not obvious* when you’re immersed in it. Detaching and looking as an unencumbered observer is the hallmark of a great thinker. History has vindicated her admirably.

  • timmy2

    Farnaz,”The facts on First Nations peoples, as gathered by Canadian government offices, First Nations officials, newspapers, etc., speak for themselves. They are horrible”Vast majority? Wrong. Apartheid? Demagoguery and Wrong. “The poverty, differences in life expectancy, percentage of unemployed, percentage of high school graduates, etc”These differences existed before first contact. Life was poverty stricken for many of them. Even worse for their slaves.Yes, there are these problems. You can not force people out of poverty. You can not force people off of their badly run reservations. People tried that and it was wrong. We have made reparations and given billions of dollars, and much more cash reparations are held in limbo as the various bands keep turning town various offers because they want to hold out for more. Like I said, got any suggestions on what we could do that we are not already doing? Pack up and go back to europe? What is your suggestion? Apparently you have a good overview of the problem according to your stated research. So you must have some solution ideas. Got any suggestions at all? Or just more backwards looking hate mongering? *******************************************************There very likely was historical Jesus upon whom the Christian myth was based. And he was Jewish. The mythical version was born and raised Jewish. His early life as depicted in the Bible was as a Jew. Now maybe you don’t think he acted very Jewish during his ministry, but that is a subjective opinion on a mythical character. I don’t really care about this either. But I can’t let go erroneous statements that Jesus was a Christian. He never called himself Christ, and never once uttered the world Christian. There were many jews at the time who were claiming to be prophets and to be fulfilling prophecies in the Tanakh. Because of your tribal tendencies you like to imagine that all jews of all time were sane and good people and never hurt a fly. But you’re just going to have to accept that some were crazy and bad people. The religion of Christianity was created by jews who later converted to Christianity when their fellow jews refused to accept Jesus as a new prophet.

  • timmy2

    Mr Brad W”That religion continued it was a natural evolution of human organization”That it continues today because of religion in spite of our better judgement is not natural at all. It is cult behavior.

  • farnaz_mansouri2

    Timmy,The facts on First Nations peoples, as gathered by Canadian government offices, First Nations officials, newspapers, etc., speak for themselves. They are horrible. The poverty, differences in life expectancy, percentage of unemployed, percentage of high school graduates, etc.The links are there. I have more. If you’d like I’ll cut and paste from the sites.Jesus Christ, as depicted, is not Jewish. We’ve been through this before, with sources, etc. Tiring, and I don’t wish to repeat it. Use google to find Onofrio’s learned discourse, and my humble offerings.Frankly, as an atheist, this is not of interest to me. Believe what you’d like. As long as it doesn’t infiltrate my space._____________________________Eliminating Apartheid Status of First NationsYour government, the First Nations, various academics have made endless recommendations. Check the links. Then use google. Most of it is obvious. It simply needs energy and focus. It will take decades, of course.

  • timmy2

    Farnaz”Eliminating Apartheid Status of First Nations”Can’t eliminate something that does not exist. There is no apartheid in Canada.

  • timmy2

    Farnaz,First Nations citizens of Canada have every right that any other Canadian has, plus some more rights, privileges and subsidies that the rest of us do not have. These are the facts. Their biggest obstacle they have is being told from birth that whitey stole their land, and that they have an obligation to live as their ancestors did and not to assimilate into whitey’s world because that would be turning their backs on their ancestors. When the truth is, assimilation is the only option. That does not mean they have to lose their culture. Immigrants come from all different cultures all over the world and assimilate forming a new culture that is a combination of both. That is how culture works. It evolves daily as it is influenced by what goes on around it. It is not static and stuck in time. It is your attitude of dwelling on the past and being angry at the past that is hurting them the most. It is your attitude of trying to rehash hatred from past events that is killing them. Forward is the only direction we can go. Stop trying to stir up anger.

  • farnaz_mansouri2

    THE SHOCKING REALITY: FIRST NATIONS POVERTY

  • timmy2

    Farnaz,You continue to be gross.Your speaking in cut-and-pastes is of a lower grade that CCNL’s.None of your cut and pastes can get by the following indisputable fact. First nations people have every single right that any other Canadian citizen has and then some. Any segregation of first nations people is a choice they make all on their own. Actually in most cases their parents choose it for them. What more does any citizen need or deserve other than equal rights with all others. In this case, we’re talking about the plight of people who have superior rights than their fellow countrymen. Many of them have taken advantage of these superior rights and are doing very well for themselves. But those who look backwards and dwell on hatred from the past, and so do not take advantage of these superior rights and all that Canadian society has to offer them are not doing so well. These are the indisputable facts.

  • mrbradwii

    The cult-like continuation of religions of abraham, despite our “better judgment” points to our adaptability as critical thinkers. Non-fundamentalists take the “old ways” as historical artifacts and dutifully ignore them as arcane and archaic. Yet still cling to the story, the metaphor, the parable as teaching the social relevance of suffering, lamentation, and hope. Are there better ways to stir the passions? Perhaps, but tradition-bound familial continuity is more prevalent than tradition-breaking iconoclasm.People don’t rock the boat, so they get along. Shaking things up may be good, but it takes generations for it to seep into the collective zeitgeist. And it may never go away, because people still need answers, to suffering, lamentation, fear, and hope as they watch their preceding generation die and fall away and their succeeding generation toil and struggle.Unfortunately, earth is not vulcan.

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