The war against Al Qaeda, the war against the Taliban, the war against an alphbet soup of Islamic terrorists who view Christians as Infidels…why is there this Big Struggle between the fundamentalists of Islam and Christianity? They are a lot alike. Both fear vaginas.
In case you haven’t noticed, religious fundamentalists of all stripes tend to be more alike than different. Their bedrock belief that their religion is the only true faith is a trait they have in common. The notion that a Supreme Being might accept homage from a infinite number of earthly religions is an alien concept to them. By the reasoning of some Christian fundamentalists Mohandas Ghandi (Mohandas was his given name, Mahatma was a title of respect), one of the most morally principled and spiritual men of modern history, is doomed to hell because he wasn’t “saved” by being “born again.” But as someone noted, what should we expect from people who vehemently dismiss the idea that we evolved from a lower life form yet accept without question the biblical assertion that we came from dirt?
Something else religious fundamentalists have in common is fear of the mysterious power of vaginas to threaten male dominance and control. Virtually every major religion in the world is ruled by men. Mythology and folk tales through history and throughout the world feature magical or virgin births. It’s a way to deny that the belief systems’ principal character was conceived through the carnal penetration of a penis into a vagina.
It’s no secret that men crave the delight and powerfully intense satisfaction of those warm, moist, tantalizing crevices. Just ask Tiger Woods. Or Bill Clinton. Or Jimmy Swaggart. But that’s precisely the issue. Men both famous and not-so-famous have lost control when succumbing to womanly charms. Earthly organized religion – not to be confused with real spiritual belief – is largely about control through unquestioned obedience. Since countless males throughout human history have been known to succumb to the temptations of the tender trap, it makes a certain kind of sense that behavior control freaks such as religious fundamentalists would want to degrade and marginalize something that has such powerful control over the population with external plumbing. The business of religion is controlling the souls and wallets of men. Sex is competition for that control, and for the contents of the wallet, so a man’s pubic pursuits must be purified through the prism of the pulpit.
The sex abuse scandals rocking the Roman Catholic Church are partly the result of the hierarchy’s stubborn insistence on priestly celibacy and perpetual secondary roles for women in the organization’s decision-making machinery. Nowhere in the Gospels does Jesus demand priestly celibacy – or male rule. His disciple Peter was a married man. Think Da Vinci Code. Priestly celibacy didn’t become mandatory until centuries after Jesus’ death. A case can be made that the ordained clergy of the Roman Catholic Church is the world’s most powerfrul and enduring males-only club that will fight to the bitter end to keep it that way.
It’s not just a Catholic thing. In a series of investigative TV news stories I did some years ago called “Preying from the Pulpit” I reported the late Baptist fundamentalist preacher Jack Hyles of Indiana was obsessed with the evils of sex in his Sunday sermons, even as his longtime mistress sat behind his pulpit on one side while his wife sat on the other. Moreover, Hyles’ school for young fundamentalists used to put extraordinary focus on pleasures of the flesh by insisting some of the more well-endowed female students must wear Band-Aids over their nipples to avoid inflaming the passions of their fellow “saved” male Christians. Apparently Hyles understood being “saved” is a transitory proposition no matter what you proclaim from the pews on Sunday.
For those who doubt the similarity of sex control urges between fundamentalist Muslims and Christians, I’d invite you to explore their views in the own words. On the Christian side of fundamentalism there is a treatise on The Sumission of the Christian Wife or Submission Is Not a Foul Word or simply, Submit to your Husband.
As for vagina-fearing Muslims, an organization called MEMRI TV is an excellent source of from-the-horse’s-mouth-or-some-other-body-part video clips about the Islamic compulsion to keep women in their place. The clips are culled from Middle East TV so you’ll have to read the subtitles, but reading television has seldom been so interesting.
Echoing Christian fundamentalism, there is the Islamic preacher who says a woman should serve her husband like a maid; a woman’s “strength” (quotes added) lies in her weakness. Then there’s the video to be envied by Christian wife beaters everywhere in which faithful Muslims are advised that if your wife bothers you or annoys you or you simply “suspect something” then beat her - break her head.
All of this may make some wonder if we couldn’t solve the Muslim/Christian conflict that is driving so much military action in today’s world by pushing the politicians aside and having fundamentalist imams and preachers and priests get together to find common ground in denigrating and demeaning women. After, all it is written that it is Somebody-or-Other’s will.