Showing posts with label Sexism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sexism. Show all posts

COVID-19 Economic Growth vs. Public Health


Many have found instances of sectarianism that occur when government actors adhere to divisive ideals or partial interests in support of or opposition to COVID-19-related public policies. However, there is another problem that we would like to consider in the light of collective justification: the relationship between various democratic ideals. That is, policies can be irrational not because they are based on sectarian ideals, but because they unreasonably balance various non-sectarian political values. 

In liberal democratic cultures, there are sometimes conflicts between broadly held political ideals. While this does not exclude democratic justification, it does necessitate that those arguing for or against specific laws and regulations have arguments that "reflect a plausible balancing of political principles." Even if it is founded on a political principle that stands alone, a statement struggles to be a legitimate public rationale if it does not plausibly resolve other political values that might be at stake.' Different interpretations of how the same shared category of political value can be better realized are one example of balancing. Consider the basic principles of democratic liberalism and civic reason, the "values of the common good." 

There has been continuing discussion within the framework of COVID-19 on the possible trade-off between public health and economic development, arguably two policy agendas that advance the common good. People have conceptualized the harms caused by COVID-19 in various ways as a result of the conflict between public health and economic development, with some prioritizing the damage to health and others prioritizing the long-term harm to the economy and livelihoods. Any countries strongly adopted a public health-oriented agenda from the start of the pandemic, including the almost inevitable economic costs. 

For instance, in March, Working from home is not easy whether you work in a hotel, drive a taxi, plan parties, or freelance to cover your bills, according to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. If you work in the oil and gas industry, or the tourism and seafood sectors, you're undoubtedly concerned about the global economy's instability and worrying not just how long it will last, but also how long your investments will last. This is a moment when you should be concerned with your own welfare as well as the health of your neighbors, regardless of who you are or what you do. Not whether or not you'll risk your career. 

Just if you'll run out of money for necessities like groceries and prescriptions. Similarly, before implementing strict lockout measures to combat Australia's second outbreak of COVID-19 pathogens, Premier Daniel Andrews of Victoria demonstrated to the public: "As Premier, I've spent every day fighting for employment and fighting for employment." I completely understand: a career provides financial support, but it also provides continuity, meaning, and a basis on which to develop the future. To be honest, I never imagined I'd be in a situation where I had to ask people not to come to work. Still, if we're serious about bringing this thing down – which we must be – we'll have to take unprecedented measures to limit people's mobilization, and therefore the spread of the virus. 

It's crucial to note that Trudeau and Andrews, like other politicians who recognized the urgency of putting public health priorities first, could not ignore the pressing economic situation they were in. In addition to recognizing the potential job cuts and economic consequences that stringent lockdown policies would entail in order to save lives, these officials took steps to assist companies and employees threatened by government responses to the pandemic. 

Other government figures, on the other hand, emphasized the importance of putting the economy ahead of public health results from the start. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, for example, downplayed the pandemic's seriousness, calling it "just a little fever" and insisting that "the economy must come first." ‘[l]ife must go on, employments [sic] should be retained, people's income should be maintained, so all Brazilians should return to normal,' Bolsonaro said in late March. Similarly, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in the same month, "My message is that let's get back to work." Let's get back to enjoying our lives. Let's do it the same way... For those of us who are overweight will look after ourselves. So don't put the nation in jeopardy... I just imagine there are a lot of grandparents out there like me—I have six grandchildren—who are concerned with the same thing... And while I want to live wisely and see it clearly, I don't want the country as a whole to be sacrificed. That's what I'm doing... No one approached me and said, "As a senior citizen, are you ready to risk your life in order to save the America that all Americans cherish for your children and grandchildren?" 

And if that's the deal, I'm on board. Even in Italy, one of the first countries to enact a near-total quarantine at the start of the pandemic, the propensity for certain segments of the population to prioritize the economy led to the delay in closing down main industries and factories, arguably aiding the virus's dissemination in its early stages. This was especially true in the Bergamo province, which is one of Italy's wealthiest and most prosperous, with a strong work ethic. Confindustria Bergamo, a trade association representing, companies hiring, workers, sent a reassuring letter in English to the region's international export partners in February and launched a Twitter campaign using the hashtag #BergamoisRunning. Stefano Scaglia, president of Confindustria Bergamo, delivered the central message that "research continues, we remain free." 

As a result of the above scenarios, there seems to be a trade-off between public health and economic development targets as two distinct means of achieving the greater good. However, a closer examination of the scientific reality reveals that there could be a synergy between public health and economic security. Contrary to the concept of a trade-off, we find that countries that saw the most extreme economic downturns – such as Peru, Spain, and the United Kingdom – are generally among the countries with the highest COVID-19 death rate. The opposite is also true: countries with a small economic influence, such as Taiwan, South Korea, and Lithuania, have managed to keep their mortality rates low. More scientific research could be required in this field, and policymakers are likely to face difficult trade-offs in the future, particularly when policies like lockout and stay-at-home orders put companies under more pressure. 

The more general argument is that politicians should partake in some kind of reflection to ensure that the policies they adopt follow the expectations of justifiable civility by considering all of the relevant democratic interests at stake, as well as various conceptions of them. And, of course, things aren't quite as they seem. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, for example, said in October when announcing new measures to combat a second wave of infections, "[w]e must act, deploying all the measures possible to prevent a new generalized lockdown." The nation cannot risk another loss that will put the whole economy in jeopardy.' Public officials will almost certainly have to change policies in response to emerging conditions, thus balancing public health and economic challenges. From the standpoint of justificatory civility, it's critical that they understand the trade-offs that come with prioritizing any target.

COVID-19 Sectarianism and Prioritization of Issues

The second dimension of civility as public-mindedness, justificatory civility, is examined in this article. Although almost all liberal political theorists believe in moral civility, justificatory civility is most closely associated with the political liberalism strand of modern liberal philosophy. People in western democracy marked by fair pluralism and dissent, according to Rawls and other democratic liberals, have a "duty of civility" to justify to one another how the political rules "they defend and vote for may be accepted by the political ideals of popular purpose." Basic rights and liberties, as well as epistemic rules of investigation and scientific proof, are among the political ideals that are universally endorsed in western democracies. 

When defending policies and legislation, being civil in the justification sense means referring to these widely held principles. This is particularly true for politicians, who have a greater direct influence on decision-making than ordinary people. Appeals to contentious causes, such as those based on moral worldviews or faulty factual facts, on the other hand, are an example of justificatory incivility. This segment focuses on one way that certain political leaders abused justificatory civility during COVID-19: the promotion of sectarian goals and political ideologies. Sectarianism is diametrically opposed to open-mindedness and rationality. 

Rather than advancing the greater good, it means promoting the desires, beliefs, and aspirations of particular persons and communities within society. To be certain, not all liberals are concerned with the promotion of political ideologies based on divisive views and sectarian ambitions. For example, some opponents of political liberalism argue that imposing public purpose limits on political discourse and decision-making is antidemocratic. Others justify political perfectionism by saying that states should foster valuable concepts of the good life; they believe that public purpose obstructs this aim. For these opponents, the fact that a political party may promote a sectarian political ideology that only serves the needs of a certain social community, or that a politician may use theological reasoning to defend policies they support, does not constitute an issue for liberal democracy. 

We agree that sectarianism is a challenge for liberal democratic states and we believe in public reason liberalism. The remainder of this segment demonstrates how COVID-19 has placed new constraints on public-spirited conduct, allowing individuals and organizations to follow sectarian goals with greater ease. Horizontal and vertical sectarian political agendas The COVID-19 crisis has given some actors fresh chances to follow openly sectarian goals. Despite the fact that we are all facing the same public health issue, actors with different priorities and ambitions have tried to direct policy in ways that favor their own agendas over ones that will benefit the public good. It's important to differentiate between two types of sectarianism that have arisen as a result of the pandemic. 

The first, which we refer to as horizontal sectarianism, includes government leaders who have advanced legislative proposals based on their party's or voters' needs. In many cases, party politics has played a significant role in policy formulation and implementation. Many lawmakers have taken advantage of the current health crisis to further their own and their party's goals, as well as the interests of their supporters, rather than the greater welfare of the political nation. The US Senate, for example, failed to pass an emergency relief package because Democrats and Republicans couldn't compromise on those clauses, such as corporate stock buybacks and executive compensation, unemployment benefits, and job security. Furthermore, in the run-up to the November US presidential elections, political considerations tended to affect pandemic policies. 

The formulation and execution of successful and politically justified policy solutions to the pandemic have been hampered by sectarian interests and a lack of unity across partisan lines. The decision to have Trump's name on stimulus checks sent to millions of US people to help them cope with the economic consequences of the pandemic is another sign of horizontal sectarianism. Although the economic stimulus is a fair and socially supported reaction to COVID-19, aimed at fostering economic prosperity and saving employment, Trump's politicization of the stimulus seems to be difficult to explain based on good justification, and appears to be mostly motivated by his personal and ideological political interests. Photo. President Donald J. Trump's name was on a US economic stimulus check. Another example of lateral sectarianism is using contentious theological reasoning to explain opposition to mask-wearing laws. 

According to a new survey, in the United States, resistance to wearing a mask and other careful behaviors is often linked to a conservative Christian heritage. Consider the following quote from Ohio state senator Nino Vitale, who made the following remark in May: This is the largest nation on the face of the planet, built on Judeo-Christian values. All of these beliefs is that we are all made of God's likeness and portrait. Our eyes are drawn to the picture the most. I'm not going to wear a mask... That is God's picture in action, and I want to see that in my brothers and sisters as well. Vitale's comment includes a strong reference to a divisive theological argument that will be rejected by atheists and, potentially, other religious believers who do not share his interpretation of Judeo-Christian beliefs. It is simply an example of justifiable incivility founded on a sectarian and contentious religious ideology in this context. 

During the current pandemic, we have seen vertical sectarianism in addition to horizontal sectarianism. Vertical sectarianism entails a particular decision-making level within a multi-level political framework, rather than the use of controversial theories or the promotion of the interests of a specific faction or segment of society. For example, when Italy demanded medical assistance and supplies from other EU member states at the start of the pandemic, those countries did not respond. This "shameful lack of unity" demonstrated a blatant disregard for their own national interests, obstructing the achievement of a public-spirited target at the EU level. 

If the EU is considered the appropriate constituency of public reason in this case, it is difficult to see how such a response might be publicly justified. The same point may be made in other situations where national interests are prioritized above those of the international community, including where coordinated intervention and cooperation seem to be the public-spirited responses required to address a crisis like the current pandemic. Of necessity, we recognize that the question of whether public cause and public rationale can extend beyond the conventional nation-state is already being debated. However, we believe that, at least in the sense of a political and economic union like the EU, notions of justifying civility, sectarian claims, and public-mindedness are becoming more relevant. The vertical component of sectarianism, however, is perhaps most evident within the nation-state, which is the conventional place of popular purpose. 

The advancement of policy agendas based on the needs of particular provincial or state subunits in relation to the national or federal level is what this dimension entails. In the United States, for example, partisan interests seem to have motivated the distribution of economic relief services to various states, often favoring Republican states less threatened by the pandemic over Democratic states facing urgent difficulties. This example also shows how sectarianism's horizontal and vertical axes are often intertwined. Horizontal partisan preferences propelled conflict at the vertical level of government in this situation. In April, several US states developed alliances such as the West Coast Pact and the East Coast Consortium to address President Trump's downplayed COVID-19 vulnerability appraisal and insistence on reopening for industry, reigniting the country's perennial controversy about states' rights.

Regardless of the substance of the disagreement, this indicates a legislative approach that prioritizes the interests of individual states or groups of states over the overall national political culture, as justificatory civility and collective cause would require. However, in other situations, the interests of individual states or sub-units have been presented as being linked to (rather than competing with) the national interest. In July, the Australian Government's Acting Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly, voiced his concern about a recent COVID-19 outbreak in the state of Victoria, saying, "This latest outbreak is not a Victorian problem." It's a national problem. It is an epidemic that affects everybody. The Commonwealth and several states and territories are assisting in monitoring, contact tracking, and public engagement. Several hundred health and other personnel are assisting with testing, contact tracing, and public engagement. This national response to combat the virus gives me much hope – yet, to be honest, it doesn't surprise me in the least. 

To summarize, we have seen in this section that when political leaders use controversial principles or partial (e.g., personal, partisan, or local) preferences to justify or criticize laws and policies relevant to COVID-19, they threaten democratic rationale and violate justificatory civility. It is important to note that the justifications for sectarian policies are not necessarily clear. However, it is frequently possible to conclude whether a policy may be justified by pointing to societal motives from the policy itself and/or the wider behavior of the related political actor. In certain cases, implementing a strategy that explicitly serves the interests of a certain political party or individual is unlikely to be deemed justifiable civility. Confronting sectarianism can take two ways, both during COVID-19 and in general. 

The first step entails developing and improving structural structures to avoid the erosion of justifiable civility. For example, judicial entities such as the United States Supreme Court, which Rawls regards as the "exemplar of public justification," will act as a check on laws that promote sectarian religious beliefs. Similarly, structural responses to resolve conflicts at various levels of government would necessitate opposing partisan players acknowledging the extent of their rights and responsibilities at each level. There should be consistent lines of contact between the parties engaged in a conflict and effective procedures for its settlement where there are uncertainties or conflicts at various levels of government. 

The second type of approach to sectarianism entails encouraging leaders and people to follow the religious obligation of justificatory civility. Remember, the responsibility requires people to protect the democratic principles they defend by referring to common political ideals of collective reason. Schools and other educational institutions may play an important role in instilling the virtue of justificatory civility in adolescents, for example, by familiarizing them with core constitutional concepts that embody common societal values. People should use such concepts as the shared language of collective argument when engaging in the process of democratic justification in the political arena. Another option is to create or improve platforms for people to participate in decision-making, such as dialogue systems or deliberative forums. 

In the spirit of justificatory civility, it will inspire politicians and people to develop reasoned and other-regarding views on political issues, motivated by the value of reciprocity.

COVID-19 Hate and Discrimination in the Public Sphere

In the public domain more generally, the pandemic has intensified religiously uncivil acts of prejudice and hate. We also seen an increase in blatant anti-Chinese bigotry and racist cases in many parts of the world as a result of the virus's geographic roots. Stop AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Hate has gathered data on incidents in the United States to demonstrate the scope of the issue, who it impacts, and where these types of incidents occur. According to descriptive figures in a recent US survey, the most prevalent forms of abuse are verbal harassment in workplaces and on the street, which overwhelmingly affect women. 

The report's qualitative data contains illustrative instances. 'I'm a hospital professional,' one New York City plaintiff recalled. On the metro, I saw a man without a mask sitting across from me. He led me on the other side of the train compartment. On the subway, he spit and coughed while shouting racist slurs. There was no one who stood up for me.' ‘I was in line at the pharmacy when a lady hit me and poured Lysol all over me,' said another survivor in Georgia. “[y]ou're the infection,” she screamed. Return to your house. “You are not welcome here!” As I walked out of the house, I was in shock and sobbed. Nobody comes to my aid.' Some of the terminology used by political figures in the media to characterize COVID-19, such as "kung flu" and "China virus," can embolden those who might engage in more blatant acts of bigotry and racism in the public domain. 

Hate and prejudice cases also represent pre-existing social divisions based on race, gender, and other factors. When we met with Erin Wen Ai Chew, the Founder and National Convener of the Asian Australian Alliance, she said, "COVID-19 is not the source of anti-Asian rhetoric; it's just a sign of a larger crisis." The pandemic, on the other hand, has both escalated and normalized those events. 

This tense atmosphere has been fueled by leaders from various political parties across the political spectrum. Public views against people with Chinese ancestry and other Asian backgrounds have been exacerbated by media messaging and wider geopolitical conflicts. This social and political environment, as Erin Wen Ai Chew points out, "has normalized the notion that it's cool to wander around, that if you see an Asian person walking down the street, it's okay to name them "the Chinese flu," and it's okay to warn them not to eat dogs, bats, or some sort of wild species." As a result, the concept has become much more mainstream, especially during COVID. Individuals and organizations may have additional ways to promote agendas inspired by religious and ethnic animosity as a result of the pandemic. Some, for example, have used increased media ‘strain' to promote Islamophobic messaging. Key "trigger" incidents, such as the current COVID-19 crisis, will cause surges in both offline and online anti-Muslim sentiment. 

Many ethnic organizations fall under the same category. According to Tel Aviv University researchers, the pandemic "unleashed a unique worldwide surge of antisemitism." Conspiracy theories and disinformation fuel prejudices and may contribute to erroneous guilt attributions aimed against religious communities. According to a survey of the English population conducted by Oxford University, almost a quarter of respondents agree to some degree with the assertions that "Jews developed the virus to crash the economy for financial benefit" and "Muslims are spreading the virus as an assault on Western principles." 

The wider far-right has been particularly interested in using COVID-19 to further a variety of goals. Far-right parties have blended populist and anti-egalitarian rhetoric into their media commentary on the global pandemic in Australia, where the far-right mainly pursues a complex and changing anti-Islam, cultural, and ethnic hegemony platform. 

Anti-Chinese bigotry is common, as is anti-globalist propaganda directed at organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO). Public myths of self-sufficiency and alienation that surface as a result of the global pandemic can now resonate with more Australians, whose views on globalization are nearly doubled from percent in to percent in. Countries facing parallel changes in public opinion must be proactive in addressing and counteracting socially uncivil expression and actions associated with populist and anti-globalization views and policies. As a result of the COVID-19 virus's disruption of social and political life, ideologies promoting xenophobia, bigotry, and religious intolerance could find a more welcoming audience. 

Outside of the public health crisis, leaders may learn from tactics to tackle hate speech and behavior. A plan of action, for example, would enable officials and partner organizations to track and analyze data, recognize and resolve root causes, collaborate with a variety of civil society groups to create cross-sector coalitions, and integrate media and emerging technology into the development of program delivery tools. States must collect data in order to analyze and comprehend the problem. This campaigns will help raise concerns of bigotry and hate crimes while also offering a more solid factual basis for policy recommendations. Solutions will range from voluntary programs to more concrete policies aimed at better protecting victims and prosecuting offenders through the rule of law (e.g., updated anti-racism legislation). 

Governments should also be aware of some of the limitations imposed by structural responses. While a government may pass laws, make rules, and set procedures to combat bigotry and hatred in general, it might not be prepared to respond to micro-incidents. The Australian Human Rights Commission, for example, uses a conciliatory or reconciliation mechanism to handle those cases. Because of the limits of mobility and face-to-face contact, it is impossible that a suspect and survivor will consent to participate in this sort of process during normal times, and much less likely in a case like a pandemic.

COVID-19 Workplace Discrimination

Moral incivility in the workplace may be a "veiled expression of discrimination and bigotry" in normal times, putting certain workers at a disadvantage. This type of workplace incivility is distinct from the impoliteness factor. It is about different types of bigotry, sexism, and injustice faced by certain individuals in the workplace, rather than politeness standards of conversation that act as a social lubricant.

COVID-19 has the potential to increase organizational moral incivility by unequal behavior and results. The virus's roots, for example, have resulted in unfair treatment of workers with HIV.

Backgrounds of Asia. One employee in Monterey, California, characterized his or her experience as follows:

I was the only Asian American at a job party, and I had an allergic reaction that day. When she saw me sneeze, she told me I couldn't be there, that I wanted to go, and that I shouldn't eat any of the convention's coffee or cookies. When other participants in the conference were sneezing, sniffling, and coughing, she singled me out.

The pandemic could also put a burden on hard-won progress on gender equality. Changes in working conditions and procedures, in certain ways, overwhelmingly impact certain classes.

The gender factor illustrates disparities in workplace stability, access to economic assistance programming, increased safety threats in some occupations with a greater proportion of woman employees (e.g., nursing, aged care, social work), and improvements to meet new parenting obligations.

Companies in a variety of industries have had to deal with the pressures to respond to the "new standard." In this new environment, large corporations have had to make health and safety decisions, and others have implemented controversial measures that could be unfair. For example, one mining firm was accused of ageism and bigotry after employees of a certain age or indigenous origin were ordered to stay at home. While the company justified its actions as a way to reduce risk to populations seen as more vulnerable to transmission and to the negative health effects of COVID-19, not everyone found this explanation persuasive. In the United States, the American Bar Association anticipates a "flood" of age abuse cases in the near future.

The pandemic has created new decision-making scenarios, such as occupational COVID-19 testing, choices for leave-of-absence demands, and rehiring procedures, where companies must be particularly vigilant to prevent discriminatory behavior. Employers will be required to make extra accommodations for vulnerable workers who continue to see dangers of returning to work after the pandemic has passed.

Steps must be taken to monitor and mitigate the pandemic's impacts on racist policies in the short term, as well as their implications for wider disparities. Employers must stand firm in the face of what may be a potentially disastrous situation.

Eve’s Daughters


“Blessed Art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has not made me a woman,” Hebrew males are taught to pray every day.

“When Eve was created, Satan rejoiced,” Mohammed said.

As the Hebrew creation myth, along with many of the other writings of the Old Testament, was later adopted into Christian sacred literature, the writers and religious leaders who followed Christ adopted the same attitude toward women, continuing to use religion to further lock women into the role of passive and inferior beings, and hence the more easily controlled property of a woman. As women's rights and status deteriorated over time, the Church remained committed to its aims of establishing and sustaining a male-dominated society. Wasn't it one of the god's first decrees when he created the earth and all life? Women were to be viewed as senseless, carnal beings, with the Paradise myth justifying and "proving" all views.

“Wives, subject yourself to your own husbands as unto the Lord,” Paul writes to the Ephesians. For, just as Christ is the head of the Church and the savior of the flesh, the husband is the head of the woman. Like the Church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be subject to their own husbands in all things” (Eph. 5:22 24).

This reminds me of a Hosea quotation in which the husband became so completely associated with the male god that his words became Yahweh's words. Not just priests, but all men were to be called immediate messengers of the Lord in the modern faith, not only in Church, but even in the solitude of a woman's kitchen or even in her room. Paul said that this was the reason that women would be obedient, refusing themselves even the faculty of their vocal cords, let alone their brains, using the now-familiar Eden myth. “Let the woman study in silence for all subjection,” we read in I Timothy 2:11–14. But I will not allow a woman to lecture or usurp power over a man; instead, I will allow her to remain silent. For Adam was created first, followed by Eve, and Adam was not deceived, but the woman who was deceived was in the sin.”

And the word of the origin legend was taken home once more in Corinthians. “Christ is the head of every man; the man is the head of the woman; and Christ is the head of God. Since, while a man is the image and glory of God, the woman is the glory of the man, he does not cover his head. For the woman is of the guy, not the other way around. Man was not made for the woman, but the woman was created for the man” (I Cor. 11:3, 7, 9).

The story of Adam and Eve was repeatedly portrayed as divine evidence that man could possess supreme power in statements carefully crafted to suppress the earlier social order. The male god had the same rank as a male human, so it was no surprise that the Levite priests of Yahweh battled so fiercely for his right. Paul was so bent on proclaiming maleness to be first that he was able to ignore the biological reality of birth— “For the man is not of the flesh, nor the woman of the man.” The suffering is borne by the woman, but the credit is given to the man. As the apostle Peter visited Anatolia, where the Goddess was still worshipped, he denounced the "pagans" for their "love of defiling passion," just as the prophets of the Old Testament did as they violently condemned those who "reveled in the daytime." He bemoaned the fact that these heathens continued to worship Baalim. “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands,” Peter solemnly advised, “for after this way, the holy women too, who believed in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands in the old time” (I Pet. 3:1).

In the name of the Lord, St. Clement, the patriarch of the Roman Church, refused women the fun and wellbeing and strength-building benefits of such athletic sports as grappling and running, arguing that women's practices should be limited to spinning, sewing, and cooking. “The woman taught once and destroyed everything,” said St. John Chrysostom, a fifth-century Christian teacher. Let her not teach on this account.” In the same time, St. Augustine believed that man, but not woman, was created in God's image, and that woman is incomplete without man, while he is complete alone.

Martin Luther said in his writings that it was common for women to be second best to men, based on this same biblical idea. He wrote in his “Vindication of Married Life” that men must preserve their control over women because “the regiment and dominion belong to the man as the head and master of the house,” “for the regiment and dominion belong to the man as the head and master of the house.” John Calvin, a sixteenth-century Swiss reformer, also opposed constitutional freedom for women, calling it a "deviation from the original and correct order of nature." He also advocated for polygamy, claiming that it would help women from being unmarried and childless.

The reason that the fall of the spirit is partly reparable and not irreversible, except here on earth, but the fall of the flesh is to a certain degree irreparable and dangerous, as Christian theologian Hubmaier wrote in a treatise on the independence of will in 1527, is that Adam as a kind of the soul (as is Eve, of the flesh) would have chosen not to eat of the forbidden tree. The serpent did not trick him, but Eve was (I Timothy 2:14). Adam understood the serpent's teachings were diametrically opposed to God's words. Nonetheless, he willed to eat the fruit against his will to avoid vexing or angering his rib, his flesh, Eve. He would rather not have done so. In some of her novels, Dr. Margaret Murray argues that the western world's witch trials are a result of the persecution of ancient "pagan" faiths. This is a distinct possibility, given that women were the prime targets and casualties of those heinous shootings, and so many of the allegations were in some way related to sex. The worship named as the witch cult may have been based on the Goddess Danu, the Divine Ancestress of the Tuatha de Danaan of Ireland, who is perhaps similar to the Goddess Diana of the Romans, Dione of the Greeks, and even Danu of India.

We know that Isis was worshipped in England during the Roman era; a Thames-side Isis temple in London and an altar to Isis in Chester all testify to Her religion's presence in the British Isles at the time. Diana was listed as the chief of witches in a ninth-century declaration about them, according to Murray. “Some evil women, reverting to Satan and diminished by demons' dreams and phantasms, believe and profess that they travel at night with Diana on certain beasts, with an innumerable multitude of women, passing over enormous distances, obeying her orders as their mistress, and evoked by her on certain nights.” Clifford Alderman writes in A Cauldron of Witches that the tale of Eve was once again used to justify the death of those women who opposed the Church. “Woman is more carnal than man: there was a flaw in the conception of the first woman, for she was shaped with a bent rib,” according to a sixteenth-century Church report. She is flawed, and as a result, she is still deceiving. Carnal desire is the source of witchcraft. Women are to be virginal and submissive to men.” Women had gradually been maneuvered into a situation well away from the ancient rank they once enjoyed in the lands where the Queen of Heaven reigned, thanks to the brutal imposition and subsequent forced adoption of male religions. The absolute quality of the decrees attributed to the omnipotent male god was particularly concerning. With the passage of time, the Church's long, strong arm extended everywhere, bringing with its unquestionable "religious" attitudes and the guilt-ridden, subservient position attributed to women. The laws and behaviors initially intended to exclude female religions, personal autonomy, and matrilineal succession, are embedded in the very foundation of contemporary male religions.

These are the precepts that many of our ancestors and parents embraced as the holy and spiritual word of God, making them such an inseparable part of family life that they now influence all some of us who have never been exposed to organized religion's masses or sacraments. It's beyond time to investigate and challenge how profoundly these attitudes have pervaded in the most liberal realms of society today, stubbornly surviving as patriarchal vestiges of a civilization once thoroughly pervaded and dominated by the Church's term. We might wonder to what extent the repression of women's rituals has resulted in the suppression of women's rights.

Despite the holy word of the omnipotent male god, the story of the first woman in the Hebrew creation myth rang in the ears, minds, and spirits of people who resented being lorded over by men. Many of the first women who dared to speak out about the ways in which women were marginalized and the blatant injustice in their status in society had to deal squarely with the Bible tale of the woman who had originally brought about male rule by listening to the serpent's voice. The Church's strength and authority was a far greater impediment to the search for female emancipation in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries than it is today. Nonetheless, the foremothers of the fight for women's liberation bravely spoke out against that force, defying the Church and its teachings. In certain ways, the vindication of women's rights was a vindication of Eve herself. Women who dared to seek equitable justice were always symbolically hounded by thoughts and reminders of Eve's unjust punishment. The characters in the Garden of Eden were once again the subject of discussion in Mary Wollstonecraft's writings in 1792.

Wollstonecraft wrote in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, one of the first efforts to highlight the shameful treatment of half the world's population: The prevalent belief that woman was made for man may have derived from Moses' poetical story; however, because very few people, it is assumed, who have given any serious thought to the issue, have ever considered Eve to be one of Adam's ribs, the deduction must be permitted to fall to the earth. Except to the extent that it demonstrates that man has found it convenient to use his power to subjugate his partner, and his ingenuity to show that she should be yoked with her neck bent, because she, like the brute construct, was made to do his pleasure.

She continued by publicly declaring, "Though the cry of irreligion, or even atheism, be raised against me, I would declare, that were an angel from heaven to tell me that Moses' beautiful, poetical cosmogony, and the account of the fall of man, were literally true, I might believe it." An examination of Jean Rousseau's Emilius (Emile), a 1761 plan for children's schooling in a "open society." This treatise, along with Rousseau's Social Contract, influenced both the American and French revolutions significantly. She cited Rousseau's recommended guidelines for the religious education of females in the free Utopia of which he conceived, along with many other male-oriented passages from his writings. Rousseau said, "Because a woman's behavior is subject to public opinion, her trust in matters of religion should be subject to authority for the same reason." Every daughter should be of the same religion as her mother, and every wife should be of the same religion as her husband: for, even if such religion is false, the docility that induces the mother and daughter to submit to the order of nature removes the criminality of their error in God's eyes... they are not capable of judging for themselves, they should abide by the decency.

“The interests of society have thus been restricted to the male line from Adam downwards,” Mary Wollstonecraft observed. Though the French and American revolutions had yet to be fought at the time of Rousseau's writing, this man, who most ardently advocated freedom and independence and whose ideas deeply influenced revolutionaries in each of these countries, proposed (presumably with clear conscience) that women should always "be subject to authority" and "abide by the decisions of their fathoms" even in a "free society." Her mother's religious views were to be decided by her mother's husband, but a daughter was to adopt her mother's faith. Women, supposedly deprived of the "power to judge for themselves," were to merely represent the religious teachings of men, unless they came from a long line of fatherless households, which was a rare phenomenon. The dramatic first line of Rousseau's Social Contract, "He is born free, and he is chained everywhere," a cry for liberty and equality, still rings in our ears, maybe especially in 1976. Yet, according to this same scholar, religious structures and practices that insisted on male dominance over females as divinely ordained (religion being predominantly Christian in France and the North American colonies) were to be embraced without question by women. In 1838, sixty-two years after the American revolution, another stalwart advocate for women's equality wrote of Eve, the mythological ancestor of both Jewish and Christian women, as men's right to oppress and subjugate women was unanimously explained by Eve's sin and retribution.

Sarah Grimke argued, as if in a court of galactic justice, that even if the initial account was valid, hadn't women already completed their sentences? I am aware that woman is still held responsible for bringing sin into the world today. I would not respond to the charges with any counter arguments, though, as previously said, Adam's eager acceptance of his wife's proposal does not savor much of man's supremacy in mental ability. Even if Eve was the greater sinner, it seems to me that man should be content with the dominion he has asserted and exerted for nearly 6,000 years, and that more real nobility will be manifested by attempting to lift the fallen and enliven the poor, rather than holding women in subjection. I don't expect much in return for my sex. I would not relinquish our right to freedom. What I ask is that our brothers and sisters remove their feet from around our heads.

In her insightful research The New Feminism, Lucy Komisar, former vice-president of the National Organization of Women (NOW) in America, outlined the early phase of women's movement for emancipation and opposition. She states that women first became conscious of their injustice when they attempted to speak out in favor of the abolition of black slaves, and that their effort to participate in politics enraged the Church, the official members of the male deity's title. When Sarah and Angelina Grimke went on a tour of New England to speak out against slavery in 1836, the Massachusetts Council of Congregational Ministers issued a statement criticizing them, claiming that "the power of a woman is her dependency flowing from the consciousness of that weakness which God has given her for her protection when she assumes the place and tone of man as a public reformer, she yields."

Sarah Grimke, on the other hand, was not afraid to strike back, even though the Church had just ended its tradition of burning people at the stake for far less. “As they have decided that Jehovah has set women on a lower platform than man, they of course want to hold her there; and henceforth the noble senses of our minds are smashed, and the noble thinking forces are almost entirely uncultivated,” she retorted angrily. Several women concerned about the abolition of slavery decided to attend an international conference in London to discuss the issue, only to discover that a group of American clergymen had gone ahead of them to London to alert the English clergymen that they were coming and that they planned to talk. This sparked a prolonged discussion among the men over women's entry, with the result that women who visited were able to attend—but only if they stood quietly behind a curtained enclosure. The shock of this ruling prompted the first women's rights meeting, which took place in Seneca Falls, New York. A Women's Declaration of Independence was drafted at that convention in 1848, and once again, women spoke out against the Church's treatment of them.

It was written into the Declaration some fifteen centuries after the major obliteration of the Queen of Heaven's and Her priestesses' worship.

“He [man] allows her to participate in Church and State, but only in a subordinate position, citing Apostolic authority for her exclusion from the Ministry and, with certain exceptions, from all public involvement in Church affairs... He has usurped Jehovah's prerogative by citing it as his right to grant a realm of conduct to her while it belongs to her conscience and god.” Many men in 1848, using the power of those same ideas, allied themselves with the male god, and by this authority determined, declared, and imposed their decisions upon women, self-righteously telling them what they should do, much as Hosea had done before.

The Bible was repeatedly brought up to “prove” that their status was unquestionable. Emily Collins, a feminist, wrote in 1848 about a man who whipped his wife, the hardworking mother of his seven children, on a regular basis. This woman not only looked after all of the children and her husband, but she also milked the animals, spun and wove the cloth for all of the family's clothes, which she then sewed, and did all of the family's cooking, sweeping, washing, and mending. Her offence, according to her husband, was that she "scolded," which he described as "nagging," or speaking up and saying what was on her mind. This was recognized as a justification for a Christian man to beat his child. “Then hope, why could he not have chastised her?” Emily Collins enquired, her voice bitter and enraged. It was his privilege—and it was his responsibility, according to how the Bible was read. True, women grumbled over their bad luck; yet the fact that ‘The man shall rule over thee' and ‘Wives subordinate yourselves unto your husbands as unto the Lord,' were considered to be divine decrees forced them to accept their destiny as inevitable.”

Those ancient words once again justified male dominance and power. “It is quite surprising that young Hebrews should be told to honor their mothers while the whole drift of the instruction so far has been to cast scorn on the whole sex,” Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote in The Woman's Bible. What should they do to honor their mothers? It is against all rules and customs.” Religion, as it was known in the nineteenth century in the Western world, was a male religion. Though they may have disagreed over which sacrament to receive whether or which day was the true Sabbath, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam were all in agreement on one thing: the status of women. Females were to be considered as inferior beings created by God to serve as obedient and quiet vessels for the creation of children and the enjoyment and convenience of men. These behaviors not only thrived in the Church, but also made their way beyond those great arched doorways, into the emotions, feelings, and values of every Jewish, Christian, and Mohammedan family. Duncan Crow explains some of the laws of the time and their influence on women in his book The Victorian Woman.

He states that until 1857, a woman did not sue for divorce (except by an Act of Parliament, which was usually reserved for the aristocracy); that until 1881, a husband's legal right to physically restrain his wife from leaving home had never been questioned; and that until 1884, a wife could be jailed for violating her husband "conjugal rights." “The Christian church, too, was a dominant influence in proclaiming and upholding women's subordinate position,” he writes, in addition to these statutes. It had constructed the idea that women's subordination was a retribution for Eve's original sin, based on its Judaic heritage. It revered Paul's words, "Man is not of the sex, but the woman of the man." Crow points out that during the Victorian era, men and women were not only required to attend church every Sunday, but that Bible readings in the house, organized prayer meetings, listening to and hearing sermons, and very strict Sabbath observance were all commonplace in many homes."

As Annie Besant defended a pamphlet about the use of contraceptives in 1876, she encountered strong opposition from both the government and the Church. “Physical preventives at all period were viewed as against the will of God; few people appeared to see any inconsistency in intervening with the path of nature by avoiding or curing illness, or constructing houses against the elements, and still refusing to intervene with the mechanism of procreation,” writes her biographer, Arthur Nethercot. Annie Besant, a brave lady, also wrote of child custody rules, implying that much of the views of the day were not dissimilar to those of the Hebrews "because woman was already treated as a chattel." She delivered several speeches in England, crusading against the influence of the Christian Church from the standpoints of secularism and feminism, and wrote several papers and pamphlets, including one titled Woman's Position. According to the Bible, she exposed herself to a great deal of hostility and anger, which was often reflected in physical attack attacks.

Many extracts of early women's movement speeches and essays feature in the compilation of papers and quotations entitled Voices From Women's Liberation, many of which are included in a little-known book called The History of Woman Suffrage, published in 1881. According to a quote from a speech given in 1853 by a woman named Abby Foster, the Church had a strong impact on the teaching and molding of young minds at the time. All of this, she said, was accomplished by the Church's control over the mother, since the infant ultimately obtained the Church's teachings and attitudes. “You will tell me that a woman shapes the mind of a girl, but I charge back that it is the minister who shapes the mind of the woman,” she said. Since he is the one that makes the mother who she is, her education of the infant is just a second-hand transmission of the pulpit's instructions.”

Despite the allegations, organized Church men had no intention of re-examining or revising the lowly status that women had been assigned. Clergymen maintained that males were supposed to rule over females, who were spiritually inferior and intellectually defective by birth, according to the divine ancient word. So it was that, in 1860, Susan B. Anthony was inspired to say, “By statute, general opinion, and faith, from the time of Moses down to the present day, woman has never been conceived of as anything more than a piece of land, to be disposed of at the will and leisure of man.”

As the fight for fair opportunities for women grew in intensity, the Church began to wield its strength and authority with conviction, fervently defending the sacred and holy principle of male dominance. Despite the ignorance of male remarks, which were frequently nothing more than obvious admissions of the dominant class's insecurity in fear of becoming deposed, scantily dressed in what they sought to pass off as easy jest or satire, the antagonism sometimes erupted into vicious physical aggression when humor collapsed. “The clergy were at the frontline of the anti-suffrage movement, dredging up the Bible to show that the proper order of things was feminine submission to man,” Komisar says.

Though women finally gained the freedom to vote, which was merely a part of their overarching aspirations, they nevertheless found themselves living in a completely male-controlled society, where women had been well-conditioned to assume that the male maker had somehow created men smarter than women: women were now able to vote—for men. Those in power sometimes used the terms "State" and "God" interchangeably. The Church's word was still strong, and decades of religious terror, fanatic and frightening crusades, inquisitions, and witch hunts loomed large in the minds of anyone who dared to challenge the Church's authority. Fear and fear had brought the male religions' precepts into every part of life. And the organization that had worked so hard to eradicate the Queen of Heaven's worship now presented the guilty, immoral, painful, and obedient role of Eve in her place.

“Our society remains impregnated with the mythology of the ancient Hebrews,” writes Pat Whiting in The Body Politic, a new compilation of essays from the latest women's liberation movement in Britain. Eve's initial sin also affects us.” In her analysis of women in today's culture, Barbara Cartland refers to women as "the everlasting Eve." Spare Rib is the name chosen for an English magazine dealing with the role of women in contemporary culture, with a witty sarcasm. The Bible and those who believe in the Bible as the holy word of God have suggested, declared, proved, demonstrated, revealed, proclaimed, affirmed, validated, and reaffirmed male dominance for thousands of years. Cartland reflected on the ego-building, heady influence of the Paradise story—for the male—as recently as 1965: Man will find immense comfort in learning that he is truly, as he has always believed, the most magnificent of all God's creations in the succinct record contained in the book of Genesis... It's also reassuring because it confirms man's exclusive, singular role of supreme perfection in the universe.

The foundation of the Genesis narrative, with its indictment of woman's wickedness, has found an echo in the hearts of men in nine-tenths of the earth. Simone de Beauvoir, in her classic analysis of women's inequality, The Second Sex, pointed out the male religion's convenience—for males—with a sensitive sarcasm. “He has the great privilege of making a god approve the code he writes,” writes de Beauvoir, “and as man has sovereign power over women, it is particularly lucky that this authority has been vested in him by the Supreme Being.” Man is master by divine right, according to Jews, Mohammedans, and Christians, among others, and the fear of God will stifle any desire for rebellion in the oppressed female.” In Patriarchal Attitudes, Eva Figes recorded the not-so-surprising reaction of an English archbishop in 1968, who said bluntly, “If the church be thrown open to women, it would be the death knell of the Church for men,” in response to the ordination of women in the priesthood of the English church. When confronted with the issue of women's ordination in the Church in 1971, an Episcopal bishop in San Francisco gave the following response: "The sexuality of Christ is no mistake, nor is his masculinity incidental." This is a spiritual decision.” Komisar described several activities that have occurred since the women's movement gained traction in recent years, events that show a strong questioning of the Church's attitudes toward women. She cited Catholic sisters who have publicly accused the Church of being a male church, claiming that it treats women in the same way it treats girls, who are then labelled as imbeciles.

The Church's influence on individuals and societies may have waned, especially among those who reside in large cities with little community life or strain. Nonetheless, male dominance continues to be emphasized throughout the Church. It is enshrined in the canons and religious literature that the male sects were founded on. “The church may be dying on its feet, but it will cling to the last vestige of the male exclusivity that was its raison d'être in the first place,” Eva Figes writes. Particularly now, the image of the ancient female religion—the Queen of Heaven, the priestesses, the holy sexual customs—remains in the minds of certain of the Church's leaders. On May 23, 1973, The Times (London) published an article titled "Priestesses, a Return to Pagan Creeds." The ordination of women in the male-dominated church sparked outrage once more. According to The Times religious affairs correspondent, the Bishop of Exeter, Dr. Mortimer, warned the convocation of Canterbury yesterday that admitting women to the priesthood in the Church of England would be a tacit change into old pagan sects. Priestesses were popular in ancient nature religions, he claimed, and “we all know the kinds of religions they were and are.” In the past, the church has been so quick to adjust to changing circumstances, and it has had to be extra cautious “in a sex driven culture.”

Whatever the state of the Church at this stage in history, we cannot afford to overlook or underestimate the far-reaching impact that millennia of Church influence have on any of us today, no matter how far away we might be from the pulpit or altar. It's a remarkable family that can go for more than two to three centuries without discovering that their forefathers were heavily influenced by one of the male-oriented religions' beliefs and values. As a result, religious pressures are not as far away from us as we would want to believe. For there are almost invisibly embraced social practices and living habits that represent the one-time rigid conformity to the biblical scriptures within the very framework of family life, in communities that do or did follow male religions. Women's sexual rights, illegitimacy, abortion, abortions, incest, fertility, the value of marriage and children to women, the roles and position of women in marriage, women as sex objects, and the sexual identity of passivity and aggression.

Women's and men's roles in the workplace and in social situations, women who express their ideas, female leadership, women's intellectual activities, women's economic activities and needs, and the automatic assumption of the male as breadwinner and protector have all been so deeply ingrained that feelings and values on these subjects are often regarded as natural by both women and men. Many contemporary women and men can no longer see biblical behaviors as critical or unconditional that the Lord has decreed them to be so, but millennia of religiously based precepts have given the next argument—people have "still" embraced them as correct; thus, they must be the usual, standard way of being. Early female religions are almost completely ignored or overlooked, exposing human behavior and attitudes that were frequently the polar opposite of these so-called "normal" human tendencies, and which, as we have observed, were the root cause of many later religious reactions and attitudes.

The censorship of general education and popular literature, whether by mistake or design, ignores the fact of their relevance, if not their presence. In 1971, one highly well-informed and learned feminist started a book on modern-day women's political issues with three lines on ancient female faith. She wrote that pagan traditions used to worship women, but that gods replaced goddesses and male dominance in religion was founded in an age we don't know anything about. Another book on the role of women in history begins with Greece, with the introduction implying that Crete's civilization was the only significant community that existed before Greece, and that nothing is known about Crete or any of the other early civilizations. At a women's studies conference in 1971, a woman anthropology professor from a well-known university in the United States told a group of women that all goddesses were fat, nude fertility figures created and worshipped by men. It's past time to reveal the truth about early feminist faiths.

They've been kept secret for far too long. We would be able to comprehend the early history of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as their responses to the female religions and practices that followed them, using these statistics. We would be able to explain how these responses contributed to the political attitudes and historical events that happened when these male-oriented religions were emerging—attitudes and events that played such a significant role in forming the portrayal of women during and after those times—if we have these facts. With these facts, we will be able to clear away centuries of ignorance, misinformation, and suppression of information, allowing us to examine the picture, rank, and roles still attributed to women today. We will develop the historical and political insight necessary to reject the notions of "natural or divinely ordained positions," paving the way for a more rational understanding of the capacities and potential of children and adults, male and female, as separate human beings. The story of the Garden of Eden will no longer be able to haunt us until the ancient origins of today's gender stereotyping are well known. Killing a rebellious consort was not the solution, and neither was silencing and economically crippling women. We will continue to say we have become a fully decent species when women and men bite the apple—or fig—at the same time, learn to value each other's ideas and views, and treat the earth and its wealth as a space that belongs to every living person in it.


Kiran Atma