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Consent And Christianity


Akheia

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Todd Akin made a hugely unsettling statement about rape that riled up a huge number of people. The GOP at first made a lot of noise about walking away from him, but after the furor had died down, they went back to him and even gave him $700,000 to help him get elected (which, thankfully, failed).

 

Another member of Team Rape, Tom Smith of Pennsylvania, mentioned that having a rapist's baby was just like a man whose daughter is having a child out of wedlock (alas, he did not fail in his own election efforts).

 

And another, our favorite crazy-eyed Michele Bachmann, is on record as saying that IVF recipients shouldn't have to worry about their fertilized eggs being persons... but that rape victims do (and she got elected again--who is voting for this insane person?).

 

Let's not forget all the other comments about the slut vote, either. Apparently rape is A-OK, something God planned/allowed, with pregnancy considered even a "gift," but a woman having consensual sex with a consenting partner? OH HELLS NO! We're evil!

 

Evangelical Christianity in general, and the GOP in particular, has some awfully funny ideas lately, and I see consent as an integral part of their failure in culture.

 

With the examples I've given above, consider these examples from the news lately:

* First up, a supposedly-secular charter school that was forcing its kids to affirm every day that they were made in "a Creator's image."

* In Texas, cheerleaders who think Jesus cares about football make signs featuring Bible quotes which the players must run through during games.

* Nationwide, the big arguments against gay marriage consist of forcing gays to either be super-quiet about their existence and celibate, or pretend to be straight--because anything else is shoving their gayness in Christians' faces.

* Freep, recently in the news for offering the United States back to England, has a piece up about removing women's right to vote entirely because apparently we only "vote with our gonads." Lest you suspect this is "whimsy," as one commenter claimed, it really isn't to some assholes.

* It's probably not shocking that I view the use of my uterus to be very similar to how I view the use of my vagina: with my consent or not at all. But it's also not shocking that Christians believe I don't have the brains to use either. I've read numerous comments in pieces about abortion and sex both about how I'm just too stupid to know what I'm doing with my own body, or how I'm ruining myself, or how I'm destroying the country, all with a hand-wringing lament of how sad it all is that I'm that stupid. The implication, of course, is that I need someone to tell me how to live, what to do, and how to believe.

 

I look at all this, and I hear ex-Christians' stories of families that just want them to pretend to be Christian, spouses that co-exist only if religion isn't brought up, only if the children don't suspect, only if the congregation doesn't guess, and I'm forced to come to one big conclusion:

 

Christianity is not interested in big concepts like consent.

 

It's okay if you mouth the words. If you show up in church every week. If you smile and nod and act like you're in the gang. If you don't object to being told to lower your head and pray before football games or city council meetings. If you just lay back and think of England while your church grunts above you and pumps away. None of it will last that long, right? And you'll learn to like it eventually. You'll start to believe if you just keep going through the motions. You'll fit in if you just keep pretending.

 

What kind of god, what kind of ASSHOLE, would be okay with treating people this way?

 

I'd posit this with a very sure heart: if your religion or worldview involves forcing people to behave a certain way whether they want to or not, if your god is totes cool with you making someone go through motions, if you think it's okay to make someone live a lie, then your religion is false, and you are a horrible person. If I do not love your god consensually, then nothing you do to force me to pretend to love him will make me feel anything but more and more hatred of your entire organization. It will drive me away even worse. It will make me even more alienated.

 

If your god were real--and let me be very clear here: he is not, but if he were real at all--then do you think he'd nod his head in satisfaction at the idea of a nation subjugated against its will, following his precepts on threat of violence or prison time rather than from the heart, forced to pray, and forced to endure constant threats, extortion attempts, and other manipulations? Do you seriously think any truly good god would want forced participation or be okay with non-consensual tactics?

 

If your answer was "yes, we'll take participation any way we can get it," congratulations, you've just defined why your religion is evil and deserving only of opposition. If you whined further that you just want to save our souls, then congratulations, you've just demonstrated why you should not be allowed near sharp objects, much less near people, because you probably understand the one about as poorly as you understand the other. The more you push your religion on the world, the more the world will pull away. But controllers never understand that. They see their victims shrink away, and just get more and more insistent and controlling. Sooner or later their victims will understand and get back into line... right?

 

I shouldn't complain. This mindset is exactly why Christianity is hemorrhaging members and why it is dooming itself to irrelevance. But until they finally do go away, the rest of us have to put up with them dragging us back and prevent progress from happening.

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