Sunday, October 25, 2009

Some thoughts on cults (thanks to msnbc's marathon)

Branch Davidians' suicidal/homicidal cult leader David Koresh rose to power by seducing the elderly woman who was the leader at the time that he arrived. She let him preach, and he developed a following. He then dumped her and demanded a man give him his 14-year-old daugher as his wife, and raped her in her sleep before officially marrying her. Yet he still expected to be the sucessor when the old lady died, not her son. He actually did inherit this. Later he had four wives, including another 14-year-old, and finally separated the men and women to make all the women potential mates for himself.

Cult leader Charles Manson seduced troubled young women into his cult, then used them as bait to attract men. And of course the rest literally is History... the women and one of the men killed people on his command.

I wonder how many less destructive cults use women this way. Well, less destructive isn't the right word... less homicidal. Destruction to the women in these cults is harder to see. Rape, incest, other forms of abuse... how many women were socialized as children to respect authority and defer to a man eventually wind up in cults?

Obedience to a leader because you expect the world to end any moment (Koresh) or because it's how you become loved (Manson) or because you fear punishment (Jim Jones) is a bad enough reason to be obedient. Being obedient because you're female is the worst possible reason.

...and a very common one in the "conservative" or "strict" versions of several religions. It's reason enough for women to refuse to join a religion, but most of us are born into it. When we choose to become slaves to cult leaders or the men in our lives it's because we aren't taught to be self-sufficient, to value ourselves as we are, or to make decisions for ourselves.

Men have been victims of cults too, of course. It just seems to me that there's a primitive element to the way cult leaders operate. Round up as many women as you can. In the case of Koresh having as many children as possible was part of the mad plan.

Charles Manson, Jim Jones, David Koresh... and Jesus? The lamb grows up to be a ram that has his herd of sheep, with no other rams to threaten his dominance. Females are the currency of power.

How does that make ewe feel?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

60/40 Split in "Nones" in 2008 Survey

In this study:
a comprehensive study of religiosity in America has found that among people who don't profess a religion or claim atheism or agnosticism, 60% are male and 40% female, while the percentage of women in Christian denominations is higher than the percentage in the population. On page 11, the study says "These gender patterns correspond with earlier findings that show women to be more religious than men particularly in majority Christian societies."

I wonder if women are more religious in the African societies that promote female 'circumcision' or the Muslim countries that kill women who have been raped "for their honor."

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Indiana, land of "In God We Trust" on license plates

I used to live in DC, and that's where I was living when I started this blog (and dropped it). Now that I live in the Texas of the Midwest, I'm encountering fundies again and they just creep me out. I was so shocked that "In God We Trust" is on half the license plates, and that it's the only free choice for tag design other than the state logo. I'll be registering my car soon, and I was dismayed to find that religious sentiments are not permitted in vanity tags. And coincidentally, there is no tag, even at a price, that says "Relax. There's no God."

Standard Tags:

...and in other news:

Atheists sue to stop 'In God We Trust' in Capitol visitor's center

WASHINGTON — The nation's largest group of atheists and agnostics filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday to stop the engraving of "In God We Trust" and the "one nation under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance in the new Capitol Visitor
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based church-state watchdog group, claimed the engravings are unconstitutional and would exclude the 15% of
Americans who identify themselves as non-religious.

Uh... what? FFRF includes believers who don't want to mix state and church. Of course Republicans are the sponsors of the bill that supports the engraving, and Democrats don't want to offend independents, who are 85% likely to be believers.

Annie Laurie Gaylor represents FFRF in this article. All the Republicans lining up on the other side are men. Coincidence? Or is USA Today subconsciously referencing the Eve myth?