The Raving Theist

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God Squad Review CXL (Abusing Women and Gays)

August 29, 2005 | 14 Comments

What does Christianity say about the treatment of women? A Squad reader’s husband has gotten involved in an independent fundamentalist sect in which the women are not allowed to speak in church. Furthermore, she notes, “[w]omen must obey their husbands without question . . . [t]hey must wear dresses at all times, and you cannot read any Bible other than the King James version.”

Of course they won’t let her read the King James Bible — that’s the trick version published by the He-Man Woman-Hating Society. The Bible itself calls the King James version a fraud, warning readers to go with Gideon’s or the New International versions. But of course the poor lady never found this out because, the KJ falsely declares that it is the only true translation. The Squad gently explains to her how she’s been duped:

Whatever your husband or your husband’s minister might say, this is not authentic Christianity. Christianity does not teach that husbands be abusive to those they should love and respect. We have seen many who were depressed and angry, lonely and adrift find their way to cults or fringe religious groups that reinforce their paranoia and further isolate them. The cults know that their greatest threat is the love their new members have for their families. So they try to get these sad, impressionable people to believe that the people who most love them actually are the ones who most hate them.

Note that the Squad talks about “authentic Christianity,” not the Bible, and a prohibition against being “abusive,” without addressing the reader’s specific complaints about being silenced in church and being required to obey. But again, as demonstrated by 1 Corinthians 14: 34-35 they’re absolutely right:

Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

Ephesians 5:22-24 makes this even clearer:

Wives, submit 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, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

In case you’re confused, recall that these passages have to be interpreted, and authentic Christianity can only be based upon authentic interpretation. For that, as the Bible says, you must go to the Squad. According to the Squad’s interpretation, at least.

The Squad also fields a query from a gay man whose parents have shut his partner out of their lives. The reader complains that “[t]his means no birthday cards, minimal gifts, and mostly it means he will not be invited to family events . . . [t]his seems excessive, and it would mean hurting my partner, or at least standing by and watching as he was excluded.” This time the Squad does base its answer squarely on the Word of God, which requires homosexuals to be put to death:

We . . . believe homosexuality is biblically prohibited because it is considered a morally disordered state.

The way we have reconciled this is to love all our friends and family and honor all our teachers regardless of sexual orientation. If they were to ask us to sanctify their unions or perform a marriage ceremony for them, we would decline because such requests are not requests for simple kindness and respect, but requests to speak for a religious and moral tradition that has a loving but firm critique of same-sex marriage and sexual relations. It would be cruel for us to mistreat them or ask them to deny their passions and their love, but it is also wrong for them to ask us to distort our passions and beliefs to assuage them.

We believe the restrictions your parents have imposed are severe but not utterly unreasonable. We would hope they could ease up, and then you might ease up on what you expect them to accept. The best course is to hold your beliefs strongly but accept the holiness of all people unconditionally.

So “put to death,” in context, is merely a “loving but firm critique” which allows gays to have sex but requires that they be shut out of family events (until people “ease up”). It also requires that gays “strongly” believe that they’re entitled to have sex, while accepting unconditionally the holiness of people who believe it’s an abomination.

Must be the King James version again.


14 Responses to “God Squad Review CXL (Abusing Women and Gays)”

  1. Jason Malloy
    August 29th, 2005 @ 2:29 am

    “Authentic Christianity”? So now they get to say whose religion is true and false, even though they hold contradictory religious beliefs themselves?! While they’re at it, why doesn’t Marc inform Thom that Christianity is not “authentic Judaism”, being based on mistranslations (such as “born of a virgin” [‘young woman’]), misinterpretations of Old Testament writings into “prophecies”, and reinterpreting the Messiah from a warrior-king into a sacrificial god-lamb. Or why doesn’t Thom inform Marc that he’s fucking up the “old testament” with his willfully wicked spiritually-blind Jewish interpretations?

    God, what a sleazy little Hitler-Stalin pact they’ve got going there. Its nice though that they’re able to work together to fight the more pressing enemys of our time: atheists*, monogamous gays, and science.

    *They don’t have any “moral authority” so are ethically arbitrary moral relativists doncha’ know. Yet for some strange reason (most likely satanic deception, just like “dinosaur” fossils) are also more law-abiding than Christians and Jews.

  2. Jennifer
    August 29th, 2005 @ 9:50 am

    I think we should write the God Squad a letter. I would like to know what constitutes a cult.


  3. Vernichten
    August 29th, 2005 @ 10:05 am

    I believe the difference between a cult and a religion is the number of adherents. I’m sure the God Squad would disagree.

  4. Kafkaesquí
    August 29th, 2005 @ 10:53 am

    One problem I have with the King James version is, King James didn’t even write it. Talk about bogus!

  5. a different tim
    August 29th, 2005 @ 11:16 am

    I’ll disagree with Vernichten here – I reckon the difference is that a religion has been around for a while.

    Consider –
    Zoroastrianism – Old, very few adherents today, considered a religion.
    The Moonies – Recent, lots of Adherents, considered a cult.
    Mormons – A bit older than the Moonies, quite a few adherents, regarded with suspicion – in transition from culthood to religion.

    I suggest that religionhood starts to happen when everyone who remembers the founder(s) is dead and they can therefore be put on a pedestal as honoured by God, sinless, etc and that the various visions and voices can be sanctified rather than regarded as the ravings of a lunatic as they would in a live person.

  6. Vernichten
    August 29th, 2005 @ 11:45 am

    It’s a good point adt. Voodoo has already made the jump, but as you pointed out, the time frame to become a religion is short, just 5-6 generations or so. Santeria is old enough to qualify, too. Alas, Snake-handling is too young by your definition, and must remain relegated to cult status with Scientology, which seems to be on the fast track.

  7. a different tim
    August 29th, 2005 @ 11:59 am

    However, snake handling may yet become a proper religion within our lifetimes.
    Not sure about scientology – anything espoused by hollywood or pop stars will probably remain a cult, as they are notoriously flaky.
    Notice how Madonna has reduced 1500 years of Hebrew biblical scholarship to a public joke purely by wearing a red string round her wrist. Maybe we could get her to take up evangelical Christianity next.

  8. hermesten
    August 29th, 2005 @ 2:25 pm

    Here are the Christians we have to worry about –the most “authentic” of “authentic” Christians; and as Chris Hedges says in the second article, there is no place in their vision of America for people like us.

    Christian Coup d’Etat


  9. ebonmuse
    August 29th, 2005 @ 4:26 pm

    According to the God Squad:
    “…cults know that their greatest threat is the love their new members have for their families. So they try to get these sad, impressionable people to believe that the people who most love them actually are the ones who most hate them.”

    And according to Luke 14:26:
    “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children,and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”

    Does this make Christianity a cult by the God Squad’s own definition?

  10. wayne
    August 29th, 2005 @ 5:49 pm

    Assholes do not need religion to make them assholes. It just gives them a particular emphasis.

    Look, the Old Testament is full of all kinds of evils and viscious certitudes. The problem the left and certain whacko cults/Christian sects have is too literal translation of the part in the New Testament where it says the the Old Testament is useful for teaching, preaching and admonishing. Jesus said “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. There wasn’t anybody left to toss rocks afterwards either.

    Like every thing else in the world, the worst problem of religion is people. People are evil, selfish, self-centered pricks. That in itself is the very sin nature that drives us away from God.

    Pride and Lust are the two greatest forces of this evil and the intertwining of them is what ruins every ideology no matter how noble or enlightened. So many of the groups who set such a bad example are those who do not recognize the workings of these evils in their groups

    The two commandments that Jesus left us as a summation for everything ever written about right and wrong and how we are SUPPOSED TO LIVE OUR LIVES are these: Love your neighbor as you love yourself (be good to everybody including yourself) and love the Lord your God above all things (be thankful for what you have and even more He who gave it to you).

    Truly the greatest acheivements for any Christian who lives in this world is first recognizing that he or she is a hypocritical asshole and striving every minute not to be a hypocritical asshole for the rest of his or her life.

    Be good to everybody and be thankful for what you have and remember who it all came from.

    We are all supposed to understand that this life is just a pop quiz for the next one. Do well here on your test and you will live well forever afterwards.

    The one thing that usually gets in the way is one’s own self. Unfortunately everyone always attributes a failure to Christianity as a whole instead of to somebody just being an asshole.

    Christ never said that women, gays, athiests, or anyone was supposed to be hated. A person should strive to hate what a person does if it is evil…BUT HE IS STILL SUPPOSED TO LOVE AND BE KIND TO THAT PERSON!!!!!

    Just as the Lord hates the sin but loves the sinner. God does not hate gays, abortionists, atheists, murderers, rapists, theives, or anyone. He just hates their sins and wishes for them to change but the love for them never ends. We are supposed to emulate that.

    The problem is most people have a very hard time looking into the mirror of the minds eye. It is far easier to see evil in others than it is to gaze upon one’s personal assholeness. I know. I one of the biggest hypocritical assholes you will ever meet.

    I pray every day that the Lord will forgive and change me. He does this constantly and I do not listen to Him anywhere near often enough.

  11. hermesten
    August 29th, 2005 @ 6:02 pm

    The dictionary defines “cult” like this:

    “1.a. A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader.”

    So, since each religion considers every other religion extremist or false, Vernichten cuts right to the bone in saying that the difference between a religion and a cult is the number of adherents. Catholicism, with it’s Pope, and church hierarchy, and “unconventional” dogma on things like birth control, would seem to fit the dictionary definition of “cult” very well. And in fact, here in the Bible Belt, many fundies consider Catholicism to be a cult. But as a practical matter, the difference between a typical fundie, and say, a follower of a “David Koresh”, or “Jim Jones,” is indistinguishable to the rational mind.

  12. hermesten
    August 29th, 2005 @ 6:18 pm

    “Assholes do not need religion to make them assholes. It just gives them a particular emphasis.”

    I couldn’t agree more, except that religion goes beyond mere “emphasis.” What makes religion dangerous is its absolutism. Theists claim the authority of a power greater than man to justify their excercise of earthly power. Atheists and agnostics and deists aren’t flying planes into buildings in-service of some perverted dogma. In the US, a secular state has taken most of the “sting” out of Christianity, a fact many Christians would like to change.

    “Like every thing else in the world, the worst problem of religion is people. People are evil, selfish, self-centered pricks.”

    Once again, I couldn’t agree more. If I ever see a shred of evidence that religion produces better people I just might decide that it is better than nothing.

    “Truly the greatest acheivements for any Christian who lives in this world is first recognizing that he or she is a hypocritical asshole and striving every minute not to be a hypocritical asshole for the rest of his or her life.”

    I live in the Bible Belt, and I’ve met perhaps two Christians that even come close to this standard. I typically meet a good twenty or so who are smug and self-righteous for every one that shows anything even close to this kind of humility. Though I agree that most people are assholes, not just theists, it has been my experience that the more religious a person is, the bigger the asshole they are likely to be.

  13. SteveR
    August 30th, 2005 @ 8:50 am

    Bertrand Russell defines cult thusly:

    A cult is any religion without political power.

  14. markm
    September 2nd, 2005 @ 11:45 am

    Then Scientology has definitely moved past cult status.

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