And God Said Unto Woman ... You Shall Not Ever Be Equal to Man (updated 10-05-14)
Women Want Equal Rights in Islam
I realize my title is very contentious and, to many, outrageous; it is meant to be because the treatment of women throughout history, especially by an entity supposedly dedicated to love of all whom He created, has been so abysmal for so many millenia. Further, their condition was not by accident, it was on purpose and perpetrated by those who were entrusted to carry out the Will of God. The slavery of women was, and still is the same degree in some cases, institutionalized by those organizations created to govern the faithful; that would be Jewish faith, Christian faith, and the Muslim faith; all based on the Bible.
The role of women in Western, and really all, society as been as one of slave or slightly better than slave in pre-history to approaching to some semblance of equality with men in Europe, Canada, and America today. Equality in Slavic, even once communistic ones, and Asian countries is still lagging well behind us, although there are some bright spots. Further, equality is poor to almost non-existent in areas ruled by Islam, depending upon the degree of Islamic conservatism.
Most, but not all, of this state of affairs is due to religious practices, especially those based on monotheistic beliefs, i.e., Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Even today, the conservative elements of each of these faiths firmly believe in the subservience of the female to the male; the most extreme example, of course, being the Taliban, but I can easily point to several practices of the Southern Baptists as being discriminatory to women as well.
Why do I, a man, care? I haven't a clue. Maybe it is because I am a Libra who believes in justice and equality. Maybe it is because I was one of those wimps in high school you hear about that have been popularized lately in movies and books getting revenge; I don't know, but, what I do know is that I do care ... a lot. And, since I have recently discovered that I have, at least in my opinion, a talent to express myself in writing, I am going to do so about things I care about; this is one of them.
The format I will use in this Hub will be citations from the King James Version of the Bible with an occasional comment. I choose this version because it is one of the first English translations and is closest to Greek and Hebrew and doesn't contain further interpretations from more modern English translations which move the meaning even further from the original meaning set forth in the original language.
I choose this style because the Bible basically speaks for itself and it speaks for all three offshoots of Abraham. So here we go.
(Boy am I going to catch it for this.)
As testimony to the following, I have visited several churches were women had to come in one door and the men the other or were segregated as to were they could sit.
1 Corinthians 14:33-35: "As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church."
What does the following say about the rights of woman or the idea of "traditional" marriage? The purpose of this marriage is clearly not love, nor is it even procreation in the normal since, but pride.
Deuteronomy 22:20-21: If a woman is found not to be a virgin on her wedding night, “she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death.”
Deuteronomy 25:5: "When brothers live together and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a strange man. Her husband's brother shall go in to her and take her to himself as wife and perform the duty of a husband's brother to her."
Deuteronomy 25:6: "And it shall be that the first-born whom she bears shall assume the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out from Israel."
The following are one of the foundations of the "bare-foot and pregnant" characterizations of the woman's role and purpose in life.
Ephesians 5:22: "Wives, be submissive to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body and is himself its Savior."
It has always been my belief that the Bible was creation of man, with a little 'm', meaning by a human male. When you read the opening words of Genesis, at least in the King James Version, I can't help feeling like I am being told a third person story about Creation. It starts out, and I certainly don't mean to belittle it the Bible one bit here, like a "Once upon a time" fable by stating "In the beginning God created ,,, ". It was not "In the beginning I created ... and I shall be known as God." or any thing like that. And so it goes until we get to Genesis.
It is in Genesis, of course, where we first encounter the creation of man, then beasts, and finally, because man was lonely, woman.
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, ...
In Genesis 2:18 God decides it is not good that man be alone and " ... God said ... I will make him an help meet for him." In Genesis 2:19 God creates the fowl and beasts and gives the name Adam to the man but apparently forgets to make the help meet for Genesis 2:20 ends with " ... ; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him." (this is another indication to me that it is someone other than God writing or dictating the words to the Bible, assuming the KJV is translated properly, and if it isn't, then it throws the whole translation into doubt.)
Genesis 2:21 - 23 - did God create woman. Nor was the creation of woman on par with the creation with man. In other words, woman wasn't created independently of man, woman was created from man, to wit:
Genesis 2:23 - "And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man."
Note that this is a statement from Adam, the man, not God, and he used the term Man, with a capital 'M', and Adam is the one who has named the female 'Woman', not because she is an individual in her own right but because she is a subset of himself; because she is was "taken out of Man.". In other words, while Man is created in the Image of God, Woman is created in the Image of Man and is at best created in the Image of God, once removed ... at least according to the Bible.
So, at this early stage in the Bible, one that the Christians and Muslims chose not to change when they invented themselves, the role of women has been set in concrete.
Next is when God metes out his punishments to Adam, Eve, and the Serpent for having partaken of the forbidden apple, or in the serpent's case, talking Eve into it. There is no question that all of the punishment were extremely harsh, but only one, in human terms, left one in servitude, the one given to Eve.
Genesis 3:16 "Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee."
And rule over her ever since he has. (As a parenthetical comment, I find it interesting the lack of esteem God, or the writers of the Bible would have you believe God apparently holds children in or if not the children themselves, the joy of childbirth.)
This next section highlights not only the Bibles thoughts on the role of women in society, but that of slavery and the sanctity of marriage; a very current topic today. To my knownledge, neither the Jews, Christians, nor Muslims have distanced themselves from this set of Biblical versus, nor have I ever heard that they meant anything other than what the words actually say.
The short story is we have Sarai, wife, presumably through marriage, of Abram, lamenting that God has left her barren. She wishes that Abram take Hagar, her slave, Sarai's handmaid, on as his wife in order to have, what today would be called surrogate, children. Abram does, Hagar conceives and Sarai gets jealous. Abram tells Sarai to do with Hagar as she, Sarai, pleases at which time Hagar runs away only to be told by an angel of God to go back to Sarai and submit to her owner, which Hagar does. The applicable versus' are:
Genesis 16:3 - "And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her husband Abram to be his wife."
Genesis 16:4 - "And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes."
Genesis 16:6 - "But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face."
Genesis 16:9 - "And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands."
In these few verses' the Bible presumably has God sanctifying bigamy, even though it was at the behest of the first wife and not the husband; slavery;and the use of another human being as a possibly unwilling carryer of another man's child.
Genesis 19:8 "Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, pray to you, bring them out unto you, and you do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only to these men do nothing ..."
The man doing the offering of the two virgin daughters is Lot, one of the Good men in Sodom, the men he was offering his virgin daughters to were the wicked men of Sodom and the the men he was trying to protect were angles from God. Enough said. (Instead of the transaction going through, the angels blinded the men of Sodom and eventually wiped out ALL of the men, women, and children (who were presumably as wicked as the men) of Sodom and Gomorrah as well as turning Lot's wife to salt for looking back to Sodom.
Then we have another curious use of females to ensure that the seed of a male lineage does not end; in what today is on of the most sinful acts imaginable but in the Bible is not even commented on ... Incest, twice.
In Genesis 19:30 - 38 is the story of Lot, the same man who offered up the same two daughters to be ravaged by the mob in Sodom, being made drunk by his two daughters so that one and then the other could become pregnant by him. So we have:
Genesis 19:33 - "And they made their father drink wine that night; and the firstborn went in, lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay with down, nor when she arose."
Genesis 19:33 - "And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and thou go in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father."
And the younger sister did as well. Thus was born the tribe of Moabites and Ammonites. Please notice how this was the idea of the females, not of the male and that the father, Lot, was absolved of all blame of this horrendous crime, if it was a crime at all in the eyes of God; there is certainly no way to be sure. In fact, it seems God looked kindly on the children of Lot later on.
If you are to believe Genesis 38, God sees marriage as a vehicle to produce children and women to be the oven; its all for the children in order to increase the population of, in this case, Jews. In Genesis 38, Judah sees Shuah, a Canaanite, takes her for a wife and has sex; its that blunt. From various intercourses over a period of years come sons Er, Onan, and Shelah. Then Er comes of age and enter Tamar, regardless of her opinion (or Er's apparently):
Genesis 38:6 - "And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar."
The next verse shows the hard side of God and that He can Kill arbitrarily as He did with Er.
Genesis 38:7 - "And Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him"
Not to be denied a grandson, Judah ordered Onan to marry Tamar, apparently without Tamar's consent, and have sex with her.
Genesis 38:8 - "And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother's wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother."
Well, Onan had a conscience. He knew this was morally wrong, or so he thought, so he planned not to have a child by Tamar.
Genesis 38:9 - 10 - "And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also."
Poor Onan, and it is certainly hard to understand God's actions. The story now has has Judah promising Tamar to let her marry Shelah, when he becomes of age ... if he makes it that far. He then reneged on that promise so Tamar puts on a veil which, surprisingly enough, at least for Jews, but apparently not Christians, is a sign that the women behind it is a harlot and goes out to snooker Judah into sleeping with her; which Judah, now a john, I guess, does. This all takes place in Genesis 38:12 - 23. Then it all unravels for in
Genesis 38:24 - "And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt."
Double standard, is it not? But Tamar was smart, when she slept with Judah the first time (it seems the affair possibly carried on), Tamar collected up a few keepsakes from Judah; so in,
Genesis 38:25 - "When she was brought forth, she sent to her father in law, saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and bracelets, and staff."
Jonah was caught by his own petard, so he said,
Genesis 38:26 - "And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more."
And then she had his twins. I presume the maternal instinct overcame Tamar's good senses for her to conceive the plan to have Jonah's off-spring, but there you go. She took the chance of being burnt, although she certain took great precautions, at the stake without the pleasure of having her paramore burn with her.
Like a child, the Bible suggest a woman should be seen, not heard; nor should then pass on their knowledge.
1 Timothy 2:10-13: “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve.”
And what about biblical injunctions on husbands and wives engaging in sexual intercourse during a woman's period?
Leviticus 20:10: “If a man commits adultery with another man's wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.”
Leviticus 20:18: "If a man lies with a woman during her menstrual period and uncovers her nakedness, he has made naked her fountain, and she has uncovered the fountain of her blood. Both of them shall be cut off from among their people."
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