Global Sexual Freedom Watch


Quick salute to record 400,000 People’s Climate Marchers who turned out, yesterday. More about that, tomorrow, with an Op-Ed on what’s gone down today in Lower Manhattan many of these activists showed up to Flood Wall Street calling for corporate environmental responsibility. Naysayers who think that big marches don’t bring about real change fail to understand there is a pluralistic revolution already underway that will change the world whether they like it or not, divesting the world away from corporate rape of the world’s natural resources.

Future Feminist by Melissa Brewer Flickr/creative commons

Future Feminist by Melissa Brewer
Flickr/creative commons

Today, we are pausing to give kudos to our United Nation Good Will Ambassador, actress and activist Emma Watson, for defining feminism for a new generation.

. . . [F]eminism by definition is: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.

… Men—I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue too.

We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence.

… I want men to take up this mantle. So their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too—reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves.

As we’ve opined before, many people (especially young people, especially those of all ages who resist progress) misunderstand or just miss altogether this central truth of feminism which Ms. Watson has just so eloquently stated. Feminism is and always was an all peoples movement, and it’s been on the advance for a long time now.
We are all standing on the shoulders of those far-thinking, any-gendered soldiers who saw the future (our only collective future, peace). True feminists go to work each day to enrich the present by upstepping progress in any way possible, and always across gender gender divides, despite disinformation of radical feminists. Those of us around when feminism first emerged recognize it as a philosophy that builds on all older philosophies that hold the potential to save the world by bringing about universal plurality and peace.

Men had, and have, a lot to gain once they back away from the precipice of hyper-masculinity, something forced on little boys, practically at birth. We have highlighted how this overriding male privilege, machismo and masculine extremism, has led directly to today’s misogynistic rape culture. This hyper-masculinity has no peaceful end. It doesn’t drive good works. Instead it maintains a vicious and constant competition with other men to be the most extremely hyper-masculine among one’s peers beginning with the repression (and conquest) of all women and all (in their opinion) less masculine men, making them trophies, conquests, less than human. To the extent that this overpowering man-centric point-of-view disappears from the halls of power, within corporations, governments, and religious hierarchies, people-centric solutions emerge. Gradually, old coercive, inhumane systems are replaced by entirely voluntary, humane associations in part built upon everything that is good and salvageable we find around us.

Hospice care is an example of an existing human partnership worth maintaining. The idea of hospice care, where dying patients receive palliative care with dignity, was conceived in the 11th century and has remained an welcome and useful association, surpassing what any corporation or government could conceive or control.

Two good examples of the transition of leaving bad systems behind us and creating better ways of doing things are the military and reproductive rights. In the United States, mostly poor young people are not given the choice to go to college or serve in the military. If they want to go to college, the military gladly pays but with an awful codicil: you have to be willing to fill a body bag on behalf of your government’s wrong-headed, greed-motivated, big budget, militaristic pursuit of world domination. Instead, how about a Green Army that is called upon to full diplomatic philanthropy, disaster relief, and environmental clean-up?

Confining a woman’s abortion and birth control decisions in the hands our government’s old white men is driven by their hatred and fear of women’s power. As an issue it has to be removed from public discourse and remain solely with a woman, her family, and her doctor.

Learn more about this formula for progress, here. And salute all people and groups of people who have the means and the courage to speak truth.



Getting Untied Is A Mistake

Some recent memes have left me wondering: Are certain leaders consciously uncoupling from some of our core beliefs that motivate our activism in the first place?

For example, it seems to me that it would be much better if the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans (LGBT) community fights for all of the objectives of the immigration movement, as we have done in the past. However clear it is that LGBT people suffer disproportionally in all matters of immigration, our advocacy must be inclusive of the suffering of all people, LGBT and straight conjoined, in order to attack directly the underlying causes of immigration problems in the first place, such as racism and radical nationalism. This is not a suggestion that our message regarding LGBT immigration issues disappear or be subsumed by the larger message of human rights but that the latter, larger message is always a preface to to our special plea for our LGBT-specific issues.

"Luminarium" Sculpture by Alan Parkinson, UN Geneva, Switzerland Flickr/creative commons

“Luminarium” Sculpture by Alan Parkinson, UN Geneva, Switzerland
Flickr/creative commons

Just as LGBT advances have followed gains in women’s rights, we should pause to consider that we are a part of a larger fabric of social and economic justice and global human rights. Segmentation of any issue weakens the voice of all.

There are several reasons to be as inclusive as possible, the least of which is that we uncover our best allies when working in coalition, people who will support us when we need it. We can point out the special circumstances causing LGBT folks more trouble but not so loudly that all people hear is that we care more about our own. We can’t forget that everybody is suffering. We risk our own progress when we sound like we are pitting something like uniting same sex spouses over the needs of motherless children on the southern border.

Those of us who lived through the 60s, 70s, and 80s know that identification with the whole of any issue reliably enhances our credulity. When we rally shoulder-to-shoulder with activists dedicated to their causes across the social and economic spectrum (immigration, environment, economic, education, race, politics, religion, etc.), we are speaking to the broadest constituency. All of these issues, including sexual and gender freedom, are a matter of human rights. We can get our issues heard by more people if we set them in a reliable context, so there needn’t ever be a disconnect in our objectives.

The underlying cause of all injustice is enslavement of the many by the few. Peace, prosperity, everything, is inhibited because civilization has gradually surrendered the power of the group, giving away to someone else the power of the people that resides within us. For centuries, organized religion modeled human behavior through the opportunistic entrepreneurs who declared the necessity of their intercession between you and your direct line to the power of love. Whether you call this power god or something else, we all feel it flowing through our senses, continually recycled among those we love. Priests, ministers, pastors, imams, and rabbis, having recognized this universal power of love, found a way to exploit it for their own gains (getting shelter, food, currency, and other societal benefits) by warning that bad luck is sure to come to you if you didn’t follow their particular doctrine. Organized religions were the first corporations, and they are thriving, especially now that the Surpreme Court has declared the persons who can legally discriminate against others based on a false interpretation of both personhood and religious freedom.

As we have said before, the new age of sexual freedom is synonymous with the end of racism (at its root sexual oppression) and the end of nationalism (at its root racism). Sexual freedom is the bedrock of all freedoms because it fully expresses our bodily guarantee of plurality, global equality, and world peace.

Working arm-and-arm at the intersections of all issues pertaining human rights is the most direct path towards reaching our goals, common and specific.



United Nations Fails to Protect All Families

UN Human Rights Council Adopts Non-Inclusive Protection of the Family Resolution

“It should not be up to an accidental majority of states
to define what does and what does not
constitute a family. I urge all states to respect,
protect and fulfil the human rights
of all individual members belonging to all
different types of families, including same-sex families.”

— Sirpa Pietikäinen, MEP
(Member of the European Parliament (MEP)
Vice-President of the LGBT Intergroup


Photo by Elvert Barnes Flickr/Creative Commons

Photo by Elvert Barnes
Flickr/Creative Commons

A few years ago the United States crossed a meaningful threshold with respect to untraditional families. For the first time, untraditional families surpassed the number of traditional families. It’s a fact now that fewer families are “nuclear” families, a man, a woman, and children. Same sex parents, single parents, grandparents raising grandchildren, co-parenting among divorced couples, co-parenting with sperm donors, and polyamory families with children are some of the trends that created this statistical change, which we can see in other countries as well.

Getting the world to accept and welcome these variations, however, will be problematical. This week, we saw that the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution on the “Protection of the Family.” On its face perhaps innocuous but the resolution urges the High Commissioner for Human Rights to sponsor a panel discussion on “the issue of the protection of the family.”

Whereas the resolution does not define ‘family’, the reference to a singular ‘family’ could be used as precedent to oppose rights for same-sex couples, single parents, and other forms of families in future UN negotiations.

An amendment tabled by Chile, Uruguay, Ireland and France, which underlined that “different cultural, political and social systems various forms of the family exist,”was not discussed after Russia brought a “no action” motion which was adopted by a 22-20 majority.

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup, reacted: “I am shocked by the tactics used by Russia and 21 other governments to avoid a discussion on the diversity of family forms. In a shameful manner they used a procedural motion to avoid talking about content.”

“Referring to family, without recognising the existence of more types of families, is to look away from reality where we find families in all forms and shapes.”

This turn of events is particularly vexing since the UN’s own Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 16) gave us the right to family since 1948 but, intentionally or not, doesn’t itself define what a family is.

Article 16.

  • (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
  • (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
  • (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State

(The Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

The only conclusion, therefore, is that this new resolution is rooted in discrimination politics rather human rights.


Male Genital Mutilation: The Hypocratic* Oath and Circumcision the Euphemism (Part 3)

WARNING: Some URLs in this article contain graphic material (educational purposes) 

Previously, we spoke about circumcision rhetoric, examining evidence in its favor. Here, we touch on more aspects of this topic, and give final comments.

Genital cutting has grievous effects on doctor-patient relationships, creating conflicts of interest. Enter Circumcision Inc. — doctors as cold businessmen (not ethical practitioners), circumstraints, and cosmetics companies using foreskins.

Do the interests of the child matter? Do religious freedoms, parental rights, and profit take precedence over bodily integrity — children’s freedoms? No harm comes from children growing up to decide for themselves. Many alleged benefits of circumcision are sex-related, and shouldn’t apply to newborns. Even so, it is possible that it lowers sexual enjoyment (though pleasure can be subjective), is unnecessary to cure phimosis, and could cause psychological issues. With all data taken into account, circumcision is merely cruel cosmetic surgery for infants.

Image from Tatiana Vdb via Flickr, signifies the distress and agony that newborns can feel.

In Part 1, I mentioned doublethink regarding circumcision and female genital mutilation (FGM). Calling it cognitive dissonance would be a compliment as this entails an awareness of contradiction. FGM (immoral and illegal) has many different varieties, yet some are prone to make heinous false equivalences, stating that milder forms of FGM are the same as removing the entire penis (like a vaginectomy).

Though once supported, the American Academy of Pediatrics is now in condemnation of perhaps the mildest form of FGM, described as a prick with a needle. Their comparative apathy towards a more invasive and brutal circumcision, just as unnecessary, is disturbing. Is there a disparity in empathy towards male and female children? Are only adult women coerced into circumcision? Are we walking on eggshells to avoid offending parties with a vested interest?

The issue is trivialized and we are told: “it’s just a piece of skin”, “children won’t remember it”, that the risks outweigh the benefits, foreskin has no function, and various other fallacious statements. Productive discussions have been compromised, as those who dare speak for the autonomy of newborns could find themselves ostracized, mocked, and the topic avoided entirely. Not protecting the most vulnerable and voiceless among us makes us unworthy of being named a civilized society. Some say evil is done when good people are quiet; I say good people are not quiet about injustice.

Part 1, Part 2

Additional links:

Circumcision Video


Tribal Circumcision



*Title has a portmanteau (Hippocratic, Hypocritical)

Male Genital Mutilation: Bad Science (Part 2)

In Part 1, I spoke of faults in pro-circumcision rhetoric and attitudes that condone genital cutting. Now we will examine some evidence in favor of circumcision.

“Circumstraints” are used to immobilize infants during a torturous process: circumcision.
Image by James Loewen

The trials in Africa, conducted from 2005-2007 and often referenced, have been shown to use poor methodology. Brian D. Earp, who has written rigorously on this topic, familiarizes us with others who have done extensive research:

While the “gold standard” for medical trials is the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, the African trials suffered [a number of serious problems] including problematic randomization and selection bias, inadequate blinding, lack of placebo-control (male circumcision could not be concealed), inadequate equipoise, experimenter bias, attrition (673 drop-outs in female-to-male trials), not investigating male circumcision as a vector for HIV transmission, not investigating non-sexual HIV transmission, as well as lead-time bias, supportive bias (circumcised men received additional counseling sessions), participant expectation bias, and time-out discrepancy (restraint from sexual activity only by circumcised men).

Gregory J. Boyle & George Hill (2011)

Other studies research HPV, urinary tract infections, and other conditions, indicating that circumcision helps with them. However, they tend to be insufficient to recommend circumcision, and the alleged benefits negligible due to already existing treatments. For example, urinary tract infections are uncommon in males and easy to treat, and standard safe-sex practices such as maintaining bodily hygiene and using condoms are far more proven than circumcision in terms of effectiveness.

Finally, one would expect worldwide statistics and medical consensus to be different. It appears that many health organizations again, do not find existing data sufficient to support routine circumcision. And while correlation is not causation, places such as Africa, where circumcision is prevalent, do not seem to see any real effect on STD rates, for instance. Circumcision is not the solution it’s made out to be, and misinformation is not a substitute for safe sex education.

Part 1 here

Click here for Part 3, where we will examine circumcision further, and give our final comments.

Male Genital Mutilation: Doublethink, Self-Deception, and Insecurity (Part 1)

A child bleeds from the genitals during an unnecessary surgery with adults in attendance, none batting an eye.

This is genital mutilation; however, we in the western world are immersed in a form of doublethink, considering our vehement disapproval of female genital mutilation (FGM). Is there such a difference between FGM and male circumcision that one is ok and the other abhorrent? The justifications given for either tend to be interchangeable.

Male circumcision is awful in the best of circumstances, performed by professionals in sterile environments, with clean tools. It’s not always like this — in tribes, it’s often a rite of passage which unifies the community, and males are cast out if they “fail”, from seeking medical attention due to defects (for example). The operation can be done in questionable environments, with questionable credentials (even in the United States), and the results can be catastrophic.

Advocates of male genital mutilation often use poor rationale: he should look like his dad, girls will like him more, it’s what god wants — these are among many assertions that one might hear that don’t hold water.

An archaic practice of conformity, the by-product of ideals humanity ought to have outlived by now, considering advancements in medical science,  knowledge, and secularism. Image from Rachel Esther via Flickr

However, there’s an argument that appeals to objective thinkers – that genital mutilation provides health benefits. Arguments that are science-based provide strong rhetoric, even when contrary to scientific consensus. Yet the facts remain — both forms of circumcision (male and female) are mutilation, and alleged evidence to the contrary is inadequate.

Arguments which appeal to logic are particularly insidious as they are not disregarded easily — thinkers may be tempted to take any evidence that reassures them, as many will be circumcised, prefer circumcised genitals, or both. I would love to believe that my penis has been enhanced by genital mutilation, but the truth isn’t always so convenient.

Click here for part 2, where we will examine evidence in favor of circumcision.

Woefully bad news for Mothers and Children

Save the Children Report Ranks Best and Worst Places to Be a Mother: U.S. Drops to 31st . . .


US Coast Guard/Wikimedia Commons

US Coast Guard/Wikimedia Commons

If you read this report, can you not be radicalized by its findings?

Countries faring the worst were those affected by humanitarian crises . . Worldwide, more than half of all maternal and child deaths occur in areas made more fragile by conflict and disasters. 

If you are an American, can you not be saddened and embarrassed that in just 15 years the U.S. has fallen from the top five in women’s health to 31st?

Since 2000, the risk that a 15-year-old girl will die during her lifetime from a maternal cause has increased by 50 percent in America . . .


A coinciding study on the same subject, Global, regional, and national levels and causes of maternal mortality during 1990-2013 . . . (The Lancet, 2 May 2014), ranks the U.S. even lower, 60th, and reveals similar sad statistics for the U.S. For example, African-American mothers are more than 3 times as likely to die as a result of pregnancy and childbirth than their white counterparts.

If you care about the future of the world, can you not get up off your couch and do something about bringing about change, even if its only for your own community?

But what of an underlying question:  

WHY is women’s healthcare in this country in retrograde?

Citing the study reported in The LancetRobert Reich, political economist and former Labor Secretary in the Clinton Administration, again shows us why he has quickly become our progressive guru in chief. His talent is awakening average people of the venality of the right-wing agenda, and he’s done so again with his column on women’s health, today, How the right wing is killing women

But this tragic trend is also a clear matter of public choice.

Many of these high-poverty states are among the twenty-one that have so far refused to expand Medicaid, even though the federal government will cover 100 percent of the cost for the first three years and at least 90 percent thereafter.

So as the sputtering economy casts more and more women into near poverty, they can’t get the health care they need.

Several of these same states have also cut family planning, restricted abortions, and shuttered women’s health clinics.

Right-wing ideology is trumping the health needs of millions of Americans.

Let’s be perfectly clear: These policies are literally killing women.

Global women’s health is the mother of causes because so much of  our civilization’s future depends on women’s wellbeing, and because of its direct ties to human rights. The true hallmark of any advanced civilization is how justifiably well women are accommodated in society’s rules, policies, and laws.

A final caveat: Consider, the battleground for equality rights begins and ends with women. There are no rights coming to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people as long as the rights of women are under attack. There is zero separation of women’s issues and LGBT issues, they are one in the same, a fact often overlooked by LGBT people themselves.


Donate: The New Center Against Religious Extremism

I was so heartened to see yesterday’s press release issued by Wayne Besen’s Truth Wins Out (TWO) regarding the funding of TWO’s new Center Against Religious Extremism (CARE, or TWOCARE).

“If you’re like me, you are tired of American extremists literally getting away with murder from Uganda to Russia,” said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen. “The Center Against Religious Extremism is designed to monitor, counter, and ultimately serve as a bulwark against an ignoble enterprise designed to drag the world back into the Dark Ages.”

It would be a wonderful service to humankind if TWOCARE can disarm and dissolve organizations that are actively spreading hate, especially of women, and queer people. Most notable and deserving of such scrutiny, in my opinion, is The Family/Fellowship, a secretive organization of politicians, military officers, attorneys general, and business people operating within the borders of most countries.

Bless those who are helping fund this important research that will unveil to the world some of the most, if not the most, vile international conspiracies ever known, just as bad as any terrorist organization which happens to have unending billions of dollars at their disposal. Learn more about this work, and if you can, make a donation however small.

There is no hyperbole that could shock you more than the reality of these nefarious organizations, especially because if you went to the best Hollywood scriptwriters, you couldn’t come up with a more devious plan to strangle the course of history. These groups are not trying to take us back to some archaic way of doing things that rejects modernity, but attempting to create a dystopian future devoid of personal choice and human happiness, based on the extreme rightwing agenda of a relative handful of old white men.

The Family has existed pretty much under the radar until the last 5 or 6 years, when it was skillfully unmasked by Jeff Sharlet’s two books, The Family (2008) and C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy (2010). These two books comprise a case study in religious extremism, and what made global human rights and equality advocates start to take notice of The Family and related organizations. These two volumes are must-reads for anyone interested in this issue, although the more attention The Family received, the more scrubbed their website and public face became until every detail was secreted away.

Besides Sharlet’s ground-breaking expose, organizations such as the Center for Responsible Ethics in Washington (CREW), have from time to time tried to expose The Family, famously by bringing ethics charges against certain members of US Congress, who, along with a few US governors, accepted unreported gifts from The Family/Fellowship by virtue of their low-cost residency in a well-known Capitol mansion known as the C Street House. This mansion is one of numerous properties owned and operated for the benefit of The Family’s worldwide network of 10,000 cells operating more or less independently, but this one happens to also be infamous because a good portion of its recent residents have been caught and disgraced by sex scandals (Mark Sanders, John Ensign, etc.).

More than 50 years ago, The Family concluded that the model for spreading a worldwide christianized theocracy (a theocracy based on their all too human and profane imagination) was not progressing well or fast enough through traditional missionaries. Instead they embarked on a program to develop in-country missions by recruiting natives, business leaders and politicians such as Uganda’s President Museveni (and his wife), and especially youth to be educated at The Family’s expense and trained as its future organizational leaders to bring about the organization’s megalomaniacal vision of world domination. Membership is open to christianists and non-christians alike, Muslims especially are shown a way to align with The Family, in a conspiracy to shackle the world’s natural resources under the guise of “doing it for Jesus” but it’s actually all about money.


Make no mistake, except for paying lip service to Jesus, there is nothing whatsoever religious about this crusade because anyone can join, even if one’s sole purpose is gaining access to the important business contacts and political leaders and the global natural resources they control. You can be a cynical, non-christian businessman and also a member of The Family for the sterling contacts alone, as long as you support The Family’s agenda to rule the world based on their personal and distorted resurrection of christendom, often termed dominionism.

Wayne and I, along with Jeff Sharlet, have talked now for a number of years about getting big media to finally pay attention to The Family’s secretive world wide movement and its singular goal to supplant established and nascent democracies with theocratic rule based on (their own version of) “God’s Law.” This new center, CARE, will no doubt help expose The Family and other organizations like it for what they actually are.

Right around the time Jeff Sharlet’s first book was published, we executed several very visible protests. The first protest was about the annual National Prayer Breakfast, a function fully funded through The Family although presented to the world and foreign dignitaries as an official US government event, much to the chagrin of our own State Department. Although The Family has operated its international machinations under a shroud of secrecy, it has nonetheless made this Breakfast practically a national institution, on a scale that every sitting US President and a fair share of the US Congress attend every February — so why wouldn’t foreign visitors think this is an officially sanctioned function. But it’s not. It’s a time and place each year when The Family comes together to celebrate, not prayer, but its broadening reach around the world.

Next, local DC activists staged a non-violent civil disobedience action on the C Street House’s doorstop, protesting The Family’s wholesale exporting of hatred of LGBT people in places such as Uganda. This relatively small protest received national attention, and shortly thereafter, The Family’s website was scrubbed clean of any evidence of its deep tentacles wrapped around the US government and nations abroad. To this date, it is only Sharlet’s two books that see into this organization.

I started researching and occasionally writing about this subject at the time, and in the process uncovered a congressional caucus called the Values Action Caucus. Here, members of both houses of congress convene at tax payers expense to set legislative goals. This Caucus’ goals were to forward anti-abortion, personhood legislation and to work towards putting the Ten Commandments in every Federal building in America. By comparing membership in this organization and those reported by Jeff Sharlet to be members of The Family, I found a lot of overlap. This Caucus was, in effect, a government body being led by The Family right under our noses, and we were paying for it.

It’s time for me to pick up my research and write more about this on VenusPlusX, so stay tuned. We now have this new Center for Against Religious Extremism to help focus our efforts in rooting out this theocratic conspiracy and ending its influence on world affairs once and for all. Please do your own research and help support this worth new endeavor.

Human Rights in Perspective: Current Challenges to Sexual Freedom (Part 1)

Photo by Tim Evanson

The human mind is a dangerous weapon. The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013 from the U.S. State Department reinforce this timeless notion. The Report, released in February, gives us a clear view of the current frontier in the human rights struggle.

Things have come to a head, and at this point you have no excuse to be uninformed. The discrimination that the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans) community is facing worldwide is out of control, and will surely have adverse effects on people of all races, genders, colors, and creeds if left alone.
Freedom is not freedom if it is only reserved for those who adhere to irrational sensibilities. The very notion of liberty is being belittled, and those affected, along with their allies, must continue to push back against these transgressions. The cogs of hate will not stop turning by themselves. These issues have been on the agenda in the United States for some time now, and it seems like more and more we are bending towards the arc of justice.

However, there is still a long way to go in the United States and worldwide. Many solutions so far have been the equivalent of placing a bucket under a leaking pipe, simply an acknowledgement of these issues. More and more people are becoming personally conscious of these issues, so now is the time to turn to better solutions.
First, we have to fully apprehend the source of the discrimination against LGBT people, the extreme conservative-traditionalist ideologies, often of a religious nature. These falsified ideals are ignorant — fear of the unknown coupled with misunderstanding, the boiling anger that consumes some individuals whenever confronted with facts and reality, their loss of control. To many of us, it is no shocking revelation that a global kinship of hate has been created, forged by shared ideas that aim to fight a common enemy. Although our cultural sensibilities and aversion to political strife play key roles in apathy, this situation does not warrant apathy, it demands action. Apathy is often a precursor to regret.

Wake up. Instead of coldly observing the discrimination of others, begin to understand how easily the tides can turn. Next time it could be you on the receiving end.

The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013

Part 2, where we will review two countries detailed in the Report.
Check back Thursday for Part 3, our call to action.

The Feminine in Religion

The Christian Right’s archaic beliefs about women were evident in the recent presidential election with women’s right to health care and the right to choose an abortion were put on the line. All  throughout history organized religions have done much to control women, including everything from almost destroying our sense of  self worth to teaching us that our sexuality is a sin.

But where did all of this loathing come from? From the earliest days of the Judeo-Christian beliefs.

According to the Old Testament of the Holy Bible, Eve is the reason for man’s downfall. Oh wow, Satan tempted Eve in the form of a snake, but it was Eve who gave into the temptation. Then she allegedly convinced Adam to commit a sin, resulting in both of them being rejected from the Garden of Eden.

The Muslims go one step further, blaming women for man’s inability to control his sexual desires, the result being that women are not permitted to show any skin or hair while out in public.

In the Kabbalist Jewish beliefs, Lilith was the first woman, not Eve. Supposedly, she refused to be submissive to Adam and so was thrown out into the cosmos where she finally met up with Lucifer, who, enticed by her tenacity, took her for his own wife.

Anyone with an open mind can see the paradigm of prejudice taking place. Women are blamed for all of mankind’s downfalls and men are the innocent victims. Eve may have enticed Adam but she didn’t make him do it, yet, it is the woman that is cursed. According to these myths, Lilith is thrown out as worthless because she was strong enough to see the injustice in having to be subservient.

Sexuality is a normal part of being human. It can be considered a manifestation of God to experience love and to (pro)create. Yet, most organized religions try to control even this, having us to believe that our basic human needs are evil. Jesus Christ is considered by Christians to be the savior of humanity, yet his legend had to be free of any and all sexuality. Even his birth is believed by Christians to be sex free, born to a virgin. Christ himself is believed to have remained a virgin throughout his lifetime. But, why? Why is the thought of a sexually active savior so feared?

Religion has done plenty to restrain women’s rights and the right to sexual freedom. Consider The Inquisition. This period of Christian history is filled with torture and murder in the name of God. Women who knew something about medicinal herbs or the art of being a midwife were in danger of being called “witch.” The  “crime” of witchcraft was punished by torture and burning at the stake.

Can the feminine in religion be saved? To find the answer we must look back to the very beginnings of human history.

In ancient Egypt, the Goddess’ stature was equal to the God. The concept of the Goddess played an important part in everyday life. The ancient pagans and wiccans worshipped the Goddess and women priestesses were common. According to pagan and wiccan beliefs, the Goddess and thus women, have stronger spiritual power during certain times of the year.

In the last two decades, wiccan and pagan beliefs have been on the rise. They are all around us, yet they tend to remain cloaked. Why? For the very reason that Christians and Muslims still see women as wicked in one way or another. Women have no reason to fear torture and death, or do we?  To find the answer, we only have to look as far as modern day  Muslim countries where women can have acid thrown on their faces or be stoned to death because of a mere accusation made by a man.

We must remain vigilant in our work for spiritual equality. We won a few victories in the past election. But, it was a close call. Still, women spoke up and were heard. We can do the same for our spiritual freedom, and at the same time consider not just American women but women all over the world.  There is power in numbers and we must mobilize.