Monday, November 7, 2016

News and Commentary Tidbits: Election Edition

Infidel753: Going nuclear

Rosa Rubicondior: Time For Positive Thinking!

First Draft: We Don't Need to Heal. We Need to Win.

Talking Points Memo: Trump Rolls Out Anti-Semitic Closing Ad

Washington Post: A Catholic priest put an aborted fetus on the altar in an appeal for Donald Trump

Huffington Post: Catholic Church Bulletin Says You’ll Go To Hell If You Vote Democrat

New York Times: The Religious Right’s Trump Schism

Boston Globe: How the religious right embraced Trump and lost its moral authority

Get Out and VOTE Tomorrow

I may have been absent from the blogosphere, but I haven't ignored developments in the 2016 presidential election. This summer and fall, each day has shown us more horrors involving Donald Trump, from violence at Trump rallies, to support for Trump among Alt-Right and white supremacist figures, to Trump's alliances with the Religious Right, to Trump's shocking comments about nuclear weapons, to his utter cluelessness during presidential debates, to an audio clip of Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women, to accusations of sexual assault from multiple women against Trump -- and that's just off the top of my head.

It should be obvious that Donald Trump would be incompetent and dangerous as president of the United States. His history of hateful rhetoric and foolhardy proposals should convince us that he is unsuited for one of the world's great seats of power. Hillary Clinton, while imperfect, is the much more competent and experienced choice.

Recent polls give us reason to be optimistic. Most election polls show Hillary Clinton with a substantial lead over Trump, according to the New York Times. A recent Gallup poll found that 69% of respondents were dissatisfied with the Trump campaign. Ultimately, though, polls mean nothing. Votes mean everything.

The candidate we Americans choose for president tomorrow will wield immense power over policy, foreign relations, military deployments, Supreme Court justice appointments, and the image of the U.S. across the world. As voters, we have a responsibility to choose our next president wisely. Our collective decision will have massive ramifications for the U.S. and world.

Tomorrow, go out and VOTE for Hillary Clinton.

My Recent Absence from the Blogosphere

My apologies for being absent from Republic of Gilead for the past few weeks. Several of my readers have worried about me during my absence, so I owe everyone an explanation.

Back in January, my father was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, and received chemotherapy treatments soon thereafter. As the year went on, my father declined, growing weaker each month as the cancer spread through his body. My mother served as his primary care giver (with the help of a visiting nurse and home care aid) during his final weeks. I took over yard work, errands, and other chores for my parents, leaving little time for my blog.

My father passed away during the early morning hours of Saturday, October 29th. My mother and I have spent the past week arranging the cremation, clearing out my father's belongings, and taking stock of finances and home repairs.

With so many responsibilities demanding my attention right now, I have little free time to blog. I'm not abandoning the blog, but I won't be able to post as often, at least for the time being.

Please keep my mother and me in your thoughts.

The Sociopath

Ben Howe of the conservative political blog RedState wrote and directed The Sociopath, an unsettling documentary on the Trump presidential campaign. A must-see before tomorrow's election!

BBC Documentary on Hate Preacher Steven Anderson

In the BBC documentary America's Hate Preachers, Hannah Livingston spends several months observing hate preacher Steve Anderson of of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona. The result is a disturbing and insightful look at extreme fundamentalist Christianity.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Phyllis Schlafly Dies at Age 92

Phyllis Schlafly, founder of the Eagle Forum, opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment, and unrepentant anti-feminist, died today at age 92, according to the New York Times. In a Facebook post, the Eagle Forum described Schlafly as an "iconic​ American​ leader​ whose love for America was surpassed only by her love of God and her family​​".

Figures and organizations from the Religious Right are mourning Schlafly's passing on Twitter.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

News Tidbits

Colorado Springs Gazette:  Leadership diversity a challenge for Colorado Springs evangelical organizations

KTRE 9: Lufkin business owner refuses service to gay couple, explains why in ad

Des Moines Register: ACLU warns Iowa schools about anti-gay Christian group

Metro Weekly: Anti-gay activist writing God-centric government textbooks for public schools

Religion News Service: New Jersey priest suspended for supporting gay groups

Pink News: Church of England vicar suggests gay pride encourages child abuse

Commentary Tidbits

The Mighty: To Those Who Think I Can 'Pray Away' Depression

Friendly Atheist: Christian Charity That Rejected Huge Donation From Atheists is Now "Extremely Behind on Funds"

And the Wisdom to Know the Difference: Shall We Stop This Bleeding?

The Ring of Fire Network: Trump’s Campaign Staff Is Literally Filled With White Supremacists

Vice: Kim Davis's Hometown Just Had Its First Pride Celebration

Think Progress: Mere Months After Orlando, Evangelicals Declare New Commitment To Rejecting LGBT People

Huffington Post: ‘Christian’ College Gives Heave-Ho To Professor For Supporting LGBT People

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Religiosity Linked to Acceptance of Rape Myths, According to New Study

A new study found a correlation between Christian religious devotion and belief in rape myths. "Religious Affiliation, Religiosity, Gender, and Rape Myth Acceptance: Feminist Theory and Rape Culture", published online in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, looked at the relationship between religious devotion and embrace of rape myths among college students in the U.S.

In a study of 653 university students ages 18-30, most students identified as Christian, with 52.2% identifying as Protestant and 23.9% identifying as Roman Catholic. A smaller percentage identified as atheist (10.4%) or agnostic (13.5%). Students completed surveys gauging their religiosity as well as their political ideology on social and economic issues. The students' rape my acceptance was measured by the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale–Short Form, which involved students rating statements on a scale such as "If a woman is raped while she is drunk, she is at least somewhat responsible for letting things get out of control", and "Although most women wouldn’t admit it, they generally find being physically forced into sex a real ‘turn-on'".

Researchers found that after controlling for political ideology, Protestants and Catholics demonstrated higher acceptance of rape myths than their atheist and agnostic counterparts. Higher religiosity was correlated with greater acceptance of rape myths. The authors speculate that people who are more involved in Christian church activities are exposed to patriarchal teachings more often, which may reinforce toxic attitudes about sexual violence.

Studies like these remind us how patriarchy poisons Christian communities. Misogynist attitudes and teachings in Christian churches are just as poisonous to clergy as they are to congregants. Two studies of American Christian clergy found that sexism was associated with negative attitudes toward rape victims.

While some Christian denominations respect women, many more still need to jettison their misogynist attitudes and doctrines. Too many faith communities still believe that men should have authority over women, that husbands are entitled to their wives' bodies, that female bodies exude temptation, and that rape victims are culpable for their victimization.*  Communities that espouse Christian Patriarchy/Quiverfull tenets are especially egregious.

This is unacceptable. Rape culture (and its sibling, purity culture) are reprehensible. We must challenge them wherever we find them, be it in secular society on religious settings.

* = As if attitudes condoning violence against women weren't bad enough, sexual violence against male victims isn't even on the radar of many churches. Men who have been victimizated find themselves out in the cold, hushed into silence or shamed.