The war of Christian fundamentalists against women

By Janet Wise | 13 July 2013


This is the first of a multi-part series in response to the all-guns-blazing attack on women taking place across the south and middle of America.

Note: The powerful white men in America who control the Christian fundamentalists are very similar in the ideology and misogyny toward women as that of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Therefore, they will be cross referenced with the term the American Taliban. Those women (and their female children) who are owned and controlled as chattel by the Christian fundamentalist Taliban males are part of the Taliban tribe, unless or until they escape and/or choose to be rescued. While the United States of America has, since its inception, been largely influenced by Christian ‘fathers’, the Taliban are a newly expanded breed who renounce science, insist on a literalist interpretation of the Bible, and are working desperately to make (their) god’s law the law of the land.

Since the first settlers landed on the shores of America there has been a group of wealthy elite males who have taken over the social order: they were the adventuring sons of the landed gentry in England seeking wealth and land in the new territory through whatever brutal and barbaric means at their disposal. Their descendants are the old, white and wealthy ruling class of today: they own the banks—even the Federal Reserve—the hedge funds, the mineral rights throughout the land, and own and control the nation’s most prestigious universities. They own the weapons manufacturers, the ‘business of war’ DOD contractors and the CIA and NSA intelligence contractors. They own our government including the Supreme Court. Their dominion is national and it is global. They own influential think tanks, the media, direct the activities of the Chamber of Commerce, belong to exclusive clubs, some secretive, such as Skull and Bones. Though not all, many of them were, as are their descendants, Calvinist Christians.

The newly expanded American Taliban has its own wealthy elite. Their fortunes have not been derived from ownership and extraction of the earth’s resources and usury earned by lending practices and economic manipulation and control, at least not on the scale of the wealthy-born white male rulers. Rather their wealth is gained through psychological exploitation of the poor. The wealth and commercial outreach of the Christian Taliban fundamentalist Right organizations is vast. U.S. based Trinity Broadcasting Network is the world’s largest televangelist organization, with programming beamed from some two dozen satellites and thousands of cable and terrestrial channels in some 75 countries. Its programming is carried on more than 6,000 stations in the United States and abroad as well as the Internet. It is watched by viewers in more than 5 million households in the United States each week and millions more overseas. The network generates more than $170 million in revenue annually. Viewers’ contributions make up two-thirds of the income, and the rest comes from fees on those who want to buy air-time. The network encourages viewers to send in checks for $1,000 or more even if they can’t afford it, promising that the Lord will repay them many times over. The founders and operators, Jan and Paul Crouch (who have been embroiled in numerous scandals), collect $1 million a year in salary, have the use of 30 ministry-owned homes, including two sprawling multimillion dollar oceanfront mansions in the resort town of Newport Beach, California, a mountain retreat near Lake Arrowhead and a ranch in Texas. They travel in a $7.2 million 19-seat Canadair Turbojet, drive luxury cars, and charge everything from dinners to antiques on company credit cards.[1] And even though TBN is actually a business, and run like a business, most of this income and use of TBN wealth is tax-free. TBN is only one of many such Christian fundamentalist right businesses that feed on the desperate and poor.

The Catholic Church, for the most part, was a later immigrant to the shores of North America—though the Spanish Catholics certainly invaded South America, spreading up through Mexico into California (then owned by Mexico). There were a few wealthy Irish Catholics who were early immigrants to the North American colonies—Charles Carroll arriving in 1706 and who signed the Declaration of Independence was one. But it wasn’t until the 1845 potato famine that the poor Irish Catholic immigrants arrived in great numbers. They were despised by the Calvinists, Protestants, and the Southern Baptists. Of course, throughout history, the Catholic Church became phenomenally wealthy in Europe and South America by confiscating property through all kinds of immoral practices, and charging all their followers for indulgences and for absolutions.

Over the past three decades, a change has become evident. The GOP, formerly led by the old, white and wealthy, male elite Calvinists who have ruled the United States of America since its inception, is now dominated by a new base—the Christian fundamentalist American Taliban. No longer—whether it be due to public education (now under assault), and the growing impoverishment of the American middle class evidencing that trickle-down economics was a strategized farce to steal from the middle and working class, and line the pockets of these rulers—are there enough acolytes of the ‘wealthy elites’ to make up a GOP electorate.  Of course, they still rule, by buying out both parties, so that no matter who is elected, they own them, thus the Government. But to keep up the pretense that the United States is a democracy, it looks better if they also win elections. Beginning in the 1980s and increasingly after, the GOP Calvinist elites of wealth and privilege found they could not get elected without the Christian fundamentalist American Taliban. Further (and alas): not only did the elites need the American Taliban to vote for them, it has now progressed to where they have to share the Senate and House—even be dominated by them.

Although the Catholics, ‘moral’ Calvinists, and other Protestants had fought birth control for centuries, it finally became legal in the United States through a flurry of court decisions in the 1960s and 1970s.  In 1965 in Griswold v Connecticut it became unconstitutional for the government to prohibit married couples from using birth control. This was extended to unmarried couples in 1972 in Eisenstadt v Baird which legalized birth control for all Americans. In 1970, Congress finally removed references to contraception from federal anti-obscenity laws, and in 1973, the Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy. The American Taliban was born and they organized with a vengeance.  It was also during this period that two arch enemies joined forces: the American Taliban Christian fundamentalists and the Roman Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church has been a bastion of patriarchal power for 2000 years. Since they largely designed the mythology of male supremacy, and it literally defines Catholic legitimacy, they have a long memory. So while some thought women’s reproductive rights were put to rest by secular law cited above, the Church takes the long view. And though the non-Catholic Christian Taliban fundamentalist Right is of a lesser age, their virulent anti-woman dogma and goals are the same. Keeping women as chattel, bound to home and subservient to the male—their purpose in life to bear many children preferably in pain and agony as punishment for “original sin” as laid out in Genesis—also lies at the core of their beliefs. It was a system designed by Church priests and bishops to be a life-long affirmative action program for men; all wealth and property in their (and the Church’s) name.

As to why the Church Fathers are joined by the Blue-blood Calvinist power elite in this endeavor to turn the world clock back to a time when women were controlled under property rights law rather than by human rights law, their purpose is defined by a single word. That word, and all that it represents to male patriarchal power and their profit margin, is also granted in Genesis—it is “dominion.” Hence these two groups of old white men are now in bed with each other to achieve their one agreed upon aim—that of dominance. Genesis I.26: (of man in the image of GodAnd God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Pretty creepy, but that’s what it says. And for 2000 years, the white males have followed this directive literally to the point that humanity is now on the cliff-edge of self-obliteration.

To be anointed with the right to have dominion over the earth and all her fruits (which includes the fruits of women’s wombs) whether under the social organization of feudal aristocracy, a capitalist Republic, Fascism, or corporate Plutocracy, the power elite has demonstrated that it will protect that right to the end of the earth even if it means the end of all life on Earth (which it will be if we continue on the path these Church Fathers and their patriarchal partners bowing before the altar of power and wealth have us taking).

But to get back to how this philosophy and Genesis creed is guiding these patriarchal power mongers’ anti-woman legislative actions of today:

Future historians may well look back on the 20th century when medical birth control was put into the hands of women as a time that created a paradigm shift as profound as the invention of the wheel. For nothing since patriarchy was designed has there been any phenomenon so completely disruptive to the way humans have lived. Once that happened, women’s destiny was no longer dictated and restricted by their biological capacity to be impregnated and reproduce. For the first time—many historians say since the Neolithic[2]—women were in control of their own reproduction. They were free to decide to delay motherhood in order to advance their education, thus preparing for a career, even full partnership in public life. By gaining a modicum of control over their economic lives, they were no longer dependent on men for survival. This gave them the choice of who to marry, whether to marry or not to marry. They could decide how many children they would have, not to have any children, or to be a single parent. Most important, they were given the tools that allowed them to decide whether or when, and in what circumstances they would embrace motherhood. And while most chose to love men and marry them—partnering in family planning, family creating, and family rearing, though the trend toward delaying marriage and having fewer children became prevalent—for the first time it became a choice women could make.

For today’s young women in their reproductive years, the Pill, the IUD, and all the subsequent variants of hormonal fertility control are taken for granted. Women old enough to have been reproductively active before 1964 view it differently; they understand that this phenomenon that changed women’s lives is relatively in its infancy. And though adherents of most all ages have adjusted and grown comfortable with the new social order that emerged as a result of this fundamental change, perhaps the perspective that comes from memory makes older women more mindful of how quickly equality for their daughters and granddaughters could be taken away. After all, they lived through the social disruption and tensions that resulted, they know where the bones are buried and what powers would like to dig them up and grind them to dust.

Some men have embraced this new order—especially many young men. They enjoy the stimulation where their intellectual peers and work colleagues are comprised of both women and men and couldn’t imagine wanting to partner intimately with a woman who was not educated and engaged in the world outside the home. Like the young women who have grown up within this enlightened form of equality, these young men see and appreciate the benefits—the joys even—of partnership in intellectual sharing, income generation, household management and child rearing.

But many others are increasingly confused, enraged, and terrified by it; the Catholic Fathers among the most outraged. Being the institution that designed Western patriarchy, their whole system is based upon it, therefore, they have the most to lose. They have the greatest understanding of what’s at stake: creating the false myth of women’s sexuality as a sin, thus the need to control and dominate it by male authority is the very basis of their religion. From their perspective, birth control was never supposed to have happened and they’re doing, and will continue to do, everything in their power to make it go away. They understand, better than most, just how unprecedented this development is in the grand sweep of their 2000 year-old past, and the serious threat it poses to everything their church has stood for going back to that antiquity (including the doctrine of papal infallibility).[3] Their historical enemies, the Calvinists and the Christian fundamentalist Right, who stood in theological opposition to the Catholic empire for centuries—publicly calling them a cult—finds common ground with them on this issue and have been enthusiastic in joining forces. For having women in the role of servitude is also the Calvinistic/Southern Baptist/Christian Taliban basis of their religion. Therefore this terrible evil that gave women the power to move out from under the yoke of the Church and male authoritarian domination must be destroyed, and women put back in bondage. Their entire institutional structures depend upon it.

The power elite—those who have arisen to the top of male domination of wealth through the system the Church created two millennia in the past and that both entities have maintained since—are doing everything they can to aid and abet the turning back of the clock, of putting the birth control demons back in Pandora’s Box. Both the Catholic Church in cooperation with the Christian fundamentalist Taliban Right and the patriarchal power elite got busy founding think-tanks, and buying communications and media vehicles for propagandizing cultural messages steeped in deception and falsehood and designing legislation to slash and burn equality for women. They are buying elections of legislators and of Presidents (who nominate judges) as fast and furiously as they can. As they did in the period of the brutal and infamous witch hunts, they are on the well-trod path of gaining control of lawmakers to change the laws to enforce the return of a rigidly controlled male dominated social structure; women’s bodies are to once again be property to be used and punished at their will. It is all about the male (in the image of the male god) having the right of dominion.

What we have seen sweep across the south and middle America since the 2010 mid-term elections when these white male Christian fundamentalist Taliban male demigods finally wrested total control over the legislative bodies shows the depth of their misogyny, and their disdain for the human rights of women. It has nothing whatsoever to do with protecting rights of an impregnated cell—the unborn. Rather it is all about control and reversing the social order of affirmative action for men with women in servitude.

[1] Chris Hedges, American Fascists, pp 173-174, quoting from William Lobdell, The Prosperity Gospel; Pastor’s empire Built on Acts of Faith and Cash, Los Angeles Times, September 19, 2004, B1.

[2] Note: The Neolithic classification refers to the time period from 10,000 years to 2500 B.C.E, and is when humans developed the technology of agriculture for their food supply. As will later be explored, it was also when all the high arts of civilization were developed.

[3] Sara Robinson, Feb. 15, 2012, Why Patriarchal Men Are Utterly Petrified of Birth Control — And Why We’ll Still Be Fighting About it 100 Years From Now, AlterNet

Note: Papal Infallibility: belief of the Roman Catholic Church that God protects the pope from error when he speaks about faith or morality.

Reprinted with permission from the author.

An international development expert, Janet Wise spent over a year each in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and an additional six years in the Middle East. She is the author of three books.

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