Amber Johnson, CPS Partnership Community
“Keep the faith. Don’t get rattled by all of this. We’re going to plow right through it and do our job. In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court.” Mitch McConnell’s pep talk to a crowd of conservative Evangelicals salivating at the prospect of judicial theocracy was on point. Senate Republicans did just that; plow right through human decency to achieve their end goal. Religious power and control.
As a woman, and a former Evangelical, I am not alone in my concern that Kavanaugh’s confirmation will return extensive domination and power to the religious patriarchy, which is hungry to reassert its oppressive grip on the female sex.
To best understand the social conservative’s accepted tradition of ‘grabbing pussy’, be it literally or via state and federal legislation, you have to understand the biblical and historical context from which religious patriarchy claims management, if not ownership, of the female body and how that has influenced one of the most powerful political movements in modern US history – the Evangelical juggernaut.
Coined “The Curse of Eve,” womankind’s role in humankind’s downfall as told in the biblical book of Genesis has long been used by religious and political patriarchies to perpetuate female gender inferiority, to discredit female voices, to justify violent masculinity at home and on the battlefield, and to encourage childbearing and caregiving as women’s primary purpose and path to salvation.
Entrenched religious belief in the inferiority and untrustworthiness of women, and their treatment and status as second-class citizens around the world, have shaped the course of a bloody and tragic human history, both sacred and secular.
Only by elevating women’s voices and bodies to places of equal dignity and autonomy in the practice and leadership of both religion and politics will this tide of violence turn towards peace. Only then will this curse of toxic masculinity be lifted.
While many modern preachers and priests now insist on equality of the sexes (progress in comparison to the blazing misogyny of most early church fathers), they continue to emphasize a god-ordained, church-sanctioned need for men to rule over their wives, pastors (mostly male) to rule over their (mostly female) congregations, and politicians (mostly male) to rule over their electorates.
And through repeated conditioning that starts at a very early age, religious institutions convince girls and women that they want to be ruled by their husbands and pastors and politicians; that to survive in this harsh word, they need the spiritual authority and physical covering of men. With that, the cycle of unchecked male power and control carries into the next generation with terrible consequences. In no place is this truer than the Supreme Court.
The mythological Curse of Eve, still touted from religious pulpits, is really a self-fulfilling curse on humanity and the earth we inhabit. At its best, masculinity is a beautiful and valuable thing to behold and a gift of strength to the world, but left unchecked by equally powerful femininity, toxic masculinity has and will continue to devour everything in its path until it ultimately destroys us all.
Progressive women of all faiths, and their male allies, cannot stop until every seminary, pulpit, synagogue, mosque, and temple is filled with the loud and equal voices and prayers of women, transgender women included. Women must demand their rights as sovereign beings and hammer their own theses to the doors of religion demanding equal treatment. They must tear down patriarchy and rebuild their religious institutions in the true image of God – who is neither male nor female.
When women use the full force of their power and begin to pull money, free labor, and warm bodies from the patriarchal controls of religion, some of the last and final bonds of female oppression will be loosed in the U.S. and around the world, liberating billions of women into the political and financial arenas and transforming the landscapes of government and business into more equitable, stable, and peace-loving institutions.
And once women grab back their equal share of power and begin to help truly govern and pastor with femininity, we can finally begin to heal our land and water, and secure for ourselves and our children a just and lasting peace.
Amber Johnson lives in Helena, Montana where she works to advance gender and racial equity in rural America through her work with the Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.