Archive for coercion

Scientology: The Tom Cruise Edition

Posted in Wrongness with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2009 by arievergreen

Gawker has been running some scary stories about Scientology lately, all connected to Tom Cruise. It sounds like the recent revelations from high-profile defectors are making serious litigation a real possibility.

“He had complete control over me mentally and therefore because I was his property and I was his, he was able to do what he did to me”

Posted in Wrongness with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2009 by arievergreen

Elissa Wall escaped from a forced marriage and has written a memoir about it. She has also worked with the media to challenge people to intervene in similar child-bride situations.

She said, “I didn’t want to be married at 14. [Sect members] honestly believe, and I did and so did my mother, that God sent down inspiration from heaven, like a strike of lightning, down to the prophet. This was God’s word. And we were to follow it, obediently and happily.”

How can a 14-year-old girl raised in this kind of environment be expected to resist her oppression, or even to know she has a right to live her own life? And how can we prevent similar abuses in other situations where humans say they’re carrying out god’s will?

Maybe the most important question is, how can any of us argue with someone’s faith? Can one have a rational discussion with someone who says their actions are justified by an all-powerful metaphysical being that they really, really believe in? If a society believes that religion is an acceptable defense for some oppressions (denying the morning-after pill to desperate teens, denying abortions to women, denying marriage to queer folks, and so on), isn’t that a slippery slope we’re on? How can we give institutional support to some practices, and decry others as immoral, if we’re all using “god’s word” as a justification for our actions?

Links roundup: What’s up, religion?

Posted in Wrongness with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2009 by arievergreen

I’ve been saving these ones up – stories of ordinary people who are subjected to oppression for religious reasons. (And several of them resist successfully!) Isn’t religion supposed to improve our quality of life, not destroy it?

Many Women Targeted by Faith Leaders, Survey Says

Posted in Wrongness with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2009 by arievergreen

One in every 33 women who attend worship services regularly has been the target of sexual advances by a religious leader, a survey released Wednesday says.

The study, by Baylor University researchers, found that the problem is so pervasive that it almost certainly involves a wide range of denominations, religious traditions and leaders.

Carolyn Waterstradt, 42, a graduate student who lives in the Midwest, said she was coerced into a sexual relationship with a married minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for 18 months. He had been her pastor for a decade, she said, and told her the relationship was ordained by God.

Garland said, “when you put it with a spiritual leader or moral leader, you’ve really added a power that we typically don’t think about in secular society — which is that this person speaks for God and interprets God for people. And that really adds a power.”

Read the rest