Archive for representatives of god

“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?

Advertisements

“I believe in God and God knows I am not a witch.”

Posted in Wrongness with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2009 by arievergreen

Huffington Post’s African Children Denounced As “Witches” By Christian Pastors is a shocking piece describing the torture children are being subjected to as part of “exorcisms,” as evangelical Christianity grows in popularity in Africa. Tens of thousands of children have been targeted throughout the continent.

“We cannot afford to make enemies of all the churches around here,” [Sam Itauma of the Children’s Rights and Rehabilitation Network] said. “But we know the vast majority of them are involved in the abuse even if their headquarters aren’t aware.”

Once a church has declared them to be witches, the children are exorcised by family, neighbors, and church officials, a process which could involve beatings, starvation, being buried alive or tortured with acid or nails, being set on fire… the list goes on. Many children lose their lives. Read more.

Conservative Bible Revision: “just crazy”

Posted in Wrongness with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2009 by arievergreen

As if living by one’s interpretation (or one’s leader’s interpretation) of a very old book wasn’t enough, now some folks want to rewrite the book. Scary…

Lo and behold, the Bible has gotten too liberal, according to a group of conservatives. And it needs a little editing.

That’s the inspiration behind the Conservative Bible Project, which seeks to take the text back to its supposed right-wing roots.

So how can the Bible be conservatized? The group has proposed a Wikipedia-like group editing project. Some of the ideas would only bring the translation closer to the original. But others would fundamentally change the text.

Utilize Powerful Conservative Terms: using powerful new conservative terms as they develop; defective translations use the word “comrade” three times as often as “volunteer”; similarly, updating words which have a change in meaning, such as “word”, “peace”, and “miracle”.

I wonder what they think “peace” means now? Is it something you have to buy from Halliburton? Read the rest of the article. (Huffington Post)

“He said he was the voice of God on Earth”

Posted in Wrongness with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2009 by arievergreen

At knifepoint, Elizabeth Smart was abducted from her girlhood bedroom, she said, then led to a secluded mountain campsite, where a self-proclaimed prophet made her his 14-year-old polygamous “wife” in a quickie ceremony.

She testified that her captor raped her three or four times a day and threatened to kill her if she yelled or tried to escape.

“He told me he was a prophet,” Smart said under cross-examination by Mitchell’s lawyer. “He said he was the voice of God on Earth and that he would reign over God’s children until Jesus came.”

But she also said his religious revelations seemed to come only when he wanted something, or when he was trying to calm his wife.

Mitchell’s lawyers maintain he is incompetent and suggested that evidence of his delusions can be found in his religious rambling and writings, including a 27-page manifesto he called “The Book of Emmanuel David Isaiah.”

Smart said he read from the book repeatedly during her captivity, often sang hymns and laced his conversations with religious language. Throughout her captivity, Smart was forced to wear a white, ankle-length robe, a head scarf and two veils across her face.

Read the rest

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

Iran’s Theocracy Implodes

Posted in Wrongness with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2009 by arievergreen

Khomeini then used his personal popularity and revolutionary authority to install an absolutism centered on velayat-e faqih or guardianship of Islamic jurists headed by an autocratic supreme leader. The current supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei follows the tenets of his late teacher, regarding himself as God’s singular representative on Earth. To a growing number of Iranians, however, religious fundamentalism is a luxury they can no longer afford. Half of them are under the age of 40 with no ideological connection to the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Their difficulties and desires of life take precedence over doctrine and dogma. At least 12 percent of adults are unemployed. An inflation rate of about 20 percent saps their meager purchasing power. They face a housing shortage. They are frustrated as well by 30 years of sociopolitical repression impinging on all aspects of daily life in the name of religion.

Read the rest