First They Came For Me, and I Did Not Speak Out

A Barna Group poll published Wednesday has found that conservatives fear that religious freedom is under attack—and think the solution is more Christianity:

The poll of 1,008 adults showed that 29 percent of respondents were “very” concerned that religious liberties are under threat, and 22 percent “somewhat” concerned. Evangelicals were the religious group most likely to be concerned, at 71 percent.

Asked for their opinion as to why religious freedom is threatened, 97 percent of evangelicals agreed that “some groups have actively tried to move society away from traditional Christian values.”

It never fails to baffle me that Christians worry constantly about being persecuted (or actually think they are currently being persecuted) but never see that the solution is to secure religious liberty for everyone.

Most People Oppose Overturning Roe v. Wade

Results from The Pew Forum’s most recent survey, published on Wednesday:

As the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision approaches, the public remains opposed to completely overturning the historic ruling on abortion. More than six-in-ten (63%) say they would not like to see the court completely overturn the Roe v. Wade decision, which established a woman’s constitutional right to abortion at least in the first three months of pregnancy. Only about three-in-ten (29%) would like to see the ruling overturned. These opinions are little changed from surveys conducted 10 and 20 years ago.

How does that jibe with the increasing prevalance of anti-abortion legislation being enacted? I think this at least partly explains it:

White evangelical Protestants are the only major religious group in which a majority (54%) favors completely overturning the Roe v. Wade decision.

You can see from the link above that nearly half of the anti-abortion provisions passed in 2012 came from the same six states, five of which are red states. While Republicans are almost evenly split on overturning Roe v. Wade, white evangelicals—the GOP’s go-to group—support it. The survey results indicate that this group is also more likely than any other to think that abortion is a “critical issue”.

I often wonder what would happen if the Republican party leadership started legislating based on what all of their constituents want instead of relying on a few hot-button issues they know will win the support of conservative Christians.

Anyway, the survey doesn’t take a terribly long time to read, so check it out if you’re at all interested in the topic of abortion legislation.

Via the Feminist Majority Foundation Blog.

♀ Shut Up, Christians


On this, the first long post of 2013, I’ll get right to the point:

Christians need to stop talking.

We need to stop talking publicly, evangelistically, interpersonally—pretty much in any way at all. We need to stop volunteering our opinions on politics, social issues, matters of faith, and nearly everything else, particularly if those opinions are based on the Bible or Christian tradition.

Anyone who wants to have an opinion has to earn respect first; why should anyone listen to or care what you have to say unless they respect you for some reason? You can earn that respect in several ways: position, track record, or character. For example, you could be a well-educated biology professor. That’s Position; people will believe what you say (about biology). Or you may be a political analyst who has made a number of accurate predictions. Track record. People will listen when you make further predictions. Finally, you could be well-loved for your philanthropy. Character. Most people will care about what you have to say, maybe even on topics other than giving away money. (This, by the way, could indicate that being well-respected for your character bestows the highest level of influence.)

Christians (and I am here—as throughout—talking about American Christians) used to be respected because of our position as the dominant religion of our culture. While still dominant by the numbers, our mind share has steadily decreased over time, eroding the dominance of our worldview. We’ve lost our Position.

We’ve also lost our Track Record. No one (except for ourselves) thinks Christians are correct about most things on a regular basis. To be fair, no one thinks that about anyone; we live in a pluralistic society.

Most importantly, though, we’ve lost our Character. No one loves or respects us for the good things we do; in fact, we’ve legitimately earned much of the disrespect now aimed at us. As a group, we’ve become self-righteous, abusive, and power-hungry, and we regularly try to force others to live by our own moral code without offering any evidence of its value or efficacy. Small wonder that we’ve steadily lost cultural relevance.

Despite this loss of relevance and respect, though, we’ve made opinion-giving our business, defining ourselves by how much and how often we can be right in opposition to the wrongness of the mainstream. But rightness is not our business or calling—love is. Jesus never said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have the correct opinion about everything.”

What if we decided to stick to our calling for a while? We might be able to earn back some of the respect we’ve lost and do work of lasting value with all the energy and time we don’t spend telling everyone what we think about everything.

So I propose a collective silence of five years’ length.[1] That’s right: for five years, we the community of believers will not say anything. We’ll spend that time practicing a much truer kind of religion: helping literal and metaphorical orphans and widows and practicing institutional purity. My prediction is that we’d not only develop a taste for dispensing social justice but find that our approval ratings had soared by the end of the five years. We might even re-earn the reputation for good character that could give us back our platform.

Here are my rules for our self-imposed vow of silence:

  1. No volunteering opinions or advice on politics, social issues, or morality.
  2. If your job—your actual, for-pay way of putting a roof over your head—is dispensing advice on these subjects, you may continue to do so but may not:
    • Publicly identify as Christian unless asked directly.
    • Volunteer additional information about how your faith relates to the issue in question.
    • Use the Bible or Christian tradition or dogma as the basis for your opinions unless specifically asked to do so.
  3. Pastors are exempted from rule #2, but only in the context of speaking directly to their own congregations, either from the pulpit or one-on-one.
  4. If invited to give an opinion on anything, whether publicly or privately, you must:
    • Clarify that it is only your opinion.
    • Qualify any statement based on the Bible by acknowledging that non-Christians should not be expected to follow the Bible’s teachings.
    • Refrain from adding information beyond answers to questions directly asked of you.
  5. No evangelism/proselytizing.
    • If evangelism is your job, switch gears to silently doing good instead. Social justice is your new evangelism.
    • If asked specific questions about the faith, you may respond but may not:
      • Answer any question not directly asked or use questions as launching points for giving your opinion on other matters.
      • Present your answers as absolute truth; instead, say “The Bible says….” or “I believe….”
  6. No publications of any kind that reference Christianity explicitly or implicitly: books (even fiction), blogs, journalism (magazines, newspapers, etc.), movies, etc. If your job (again, your actual job) is writing, write something else that doesn’t require you to talk about your faith.
  7. Literature whose purpose is to teach theology or biblical interpretation specifically to Christians is exempted from rule #6, but Christian self-help or “spirituality” books are not. Mind your own spirituality instead.

I know it’s easy for me to propose this because I don’t make my living doing any of the above things, but trust me when I tell you that I’ve been thinking about this for almost a decade now, since long before I had any notion of trying to be a feminist writer. I am completely serious when I propose these measures, though. If everyone else will do this, I will.

By “everyone”, I really do mean almost everyone, because this will only work if we do it unanimously. I know it can’t be literally everyone, though, so let me tell you how I will know that we are really doing this. All of the following people and groups must be on board:

  • Focus on the Family
  • Family Research Council
  • Mark Driscoll
  • Donald Miller
  • Francis Chan
  • Rachel Held Evans
  • Joyce Meyer
  • Glenn Beck
  • All the Christian bloggers I follow

I know this list isn’t exhaustive or necessarily representative of all the various demographics of American Christianity, but it’s largely symbolic. I know that if all of the above joined in we’d have a greatly increased chance of making the whole venture work. But none of them represent institutionalized Christianity, so in addition, at least one of the following must also agree to my terms:

  • The Vatican
  • The Southern Baptist Convention
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
  • The Assemblies of God

I will also accept the disbanding of the National Organization for Marriage, if done for the purposes of this experiment.

Look, I know this won’t actually happen. The very inclusion of Glenn Beck almost guarantees that; if he was susceptible to any argument that his platform was damaging the cause of Jesus he’d have been off the air long ago. So why am I bringing it up? Two reasons:

  1. I wish it would happen.
  2. I want us to at least think before we speak.

Those of you who are actually reading this and do care what I have to say, think about this: Christians don’t deserve to have a voice in Western society any longer. If you want a more extensive rationale for this assertion, I’ll be happy to oblige you. Leave a comment or contact me. For the moment, though, let’s at least try to be humble about the loss of our platform and consider our words with care, questioning their necessity and efficacy and remaining open to the possibility that we could make our point much better with such actions as befit the Church.

  1. Trust me, I wish I could make it 10.  ↩

You Didn't Ask For It

Scarleteen answers the following question:

I’m an 18 year old virgin. A few months back, I was out clubbing with a friend, and she wanted me to make-out with a guy, because she does it all the time when we go clubbing. I started dancing with a guy, and we started kissing, which I DID want to do. But then he started putting his hand up my skirt, and then in my underwear. I kept pushing his hand away and telling him to stop and he kept putting it back. I managed to escape and didn’t see him again, but I feel kind of violated, as he was touching me sexually. Is this my fault? I did want to kiss him, but I said not [sic] when he put his hand down my pants. Was this wrong, or was I asking for it, and is it just something that happens?

This kind of question tends to trip up morally-conservative Christians, because we want to tell this girl she shouldn’t have been making out with the guy in the first place. Unfortunately, that sort of response tends to consciously or sub-consciously register as, “This was partially your fault.”

New Reports Reveal Global Persecution of Nonbelievers

Almost half of the countries of the world have laws or policies that penalize blasphemy, apostasy, contempt of religion, or religious “hate speech,” according to the new analysis by Pew. Of the 198 countries studied, 32 (16%) have anti-blasphemy laws, 20 (10%) have laws against apostasy, and 87 (44%) have laws against the defamation of religion, including hate speech against religious groups.

The linked article focuses on non-religious people, but many of these laws affect adherents of a non-dominant religion as well. This is why Christians need to fight violations of civil liberties wherever we find them: the people we save could be ourselves.

♀ Is My Epidermis Making You Uncomfortable?


I used to have a roommate who was kind of a slob—the sort of person who has a shoulder-high pile of junk/garbage by his door that you can tell would be higher if he didn’t have to open the door to leave his room. One day, while my parents were visiting me for a week, this person came down to the kitchen wearing what he assured me were shorts but appeared to the uninitiated to be a pair of boxers.[1] This made my mom, who was within sight of the kitchen, feel a little uncomfortable, although not—as you might suppose—because of the raw sex appeal of his man-legs.

A week ago, Emily Maynard published a piece at about modesty, a re-publishing of a post originally written for Prodigal Magazine called “Modesty, Lust, and My Responsibility”. The comments section of the post heated up, leading to several other posts on the subject, many of which are very worth reading. I particularly recommend “How the Modesty Doctrine Fuels Rape Culture” by Libby Anne, “On Modesty and Male Privilege” by Luke Harms, and “Women, Bodies, & Temples of the Holy Spirit” by Danielle Vermeer.

Maynard’s original post recounts the damage the modesty culture wrought on her body image and argues that women must not be held responsible for provoking lust in men:

Nothing you do or do not do can influence lust in someone else. Only Jesus can lovingly confront and heal a lustful heart through the working of the Holy Spirit. You can’t change anyone, control anyone, make someone sin or not sin, and you’re only responsible for taking your own heart to Jesus.

I agree. In the Bible story most frequently cited when discussing this issue, Jesus says nothing about how women dress. He warns people against lust. This puts the burden on the “lust-er”, not the “lust-ee”, which means that men are responsible for their sexual integrity even when a woman is showing cleavage, when she’s wearing a short skirt, when she has on high heels, or even if she walks straight into their living room wearing nothing but a thong and pasties.

But, because I am a contrarian, I always like to find the under-represented side of the conversation. Since I agree so wholeheartedly with all the above-linked articles, this is a little difficult, but don’t worry—I figured out how.[2]

Modesty, you see—and I am here talking about the definition of “modesty” that revolves around how one dresses, not the one about being a gracious winner and so forth—has two components. The first, covered more than competently by Emily Maynard et al, concerns whether others may sexualize or objectify someone because of his or her clothing choices. The second component, nearly never addressed by anyone except C.S. Lewis (bless his heart), is politeness—being considerate of other people and refraining from making them uncomfortable.

Politeness is all about context. So, with regard to standards of dress, San people living in the Bush who wear nothing but thongs are not being rude; their clothing is appropriate for their context. A man who takes off his shirt at the beach is not being rude; this choice is also appropriate for the context.

A guy who takes off his shirt in your kitchen—that guy is being rude. The context is not appropriate for shirtlessness; his choice of attire is probably going to make people feel uncomfortable.

From this we can see that the amount of skin people choose to show has no objective moral component; context determines appropriateness of attire. In this sense, then, women might be able to “sin” by displaying too much cleavage—if cleavage is out of place for their particular context (and if your definition of “sin” is very broad indeed). But it is probably more helpful to think not of “sinning” but of being polite.

I believe politeness is a virtue; Christians ought to be polite to others when possible. Many other, greater virtues may trump the virture of politeness, but all other things being equal, we should strive to make people feel comfortable by our behavior. How we do this changes with cultural shifts. For example, we no longer belch loudly when eating to reassure the person who cooked our food that we are enjoying it. This behavior, once considered polite, would now make other people uncomfortable.

So it is with clothing, particularly for women. Whereas displaying a liberal amount of leg used to be a great way for women to communicate to others that they were in the company of a prostitute, now most people do not find the sight of a woman’s calf discomfiting at all. To give a more recent example: I’m from the Midwest, but I lived for two years in Los Angeles, and the ladies at the church we attended took advantage of the nearly-perpetual summer to wear sundresses to the service. I had never seen so much cleavage at church before, but that was just the culture there. No one felt uncomfortable because of it (as far as I know). Let a woman throw on such a dress to attend church in Northern Indiana, though, and she would certainly receive a non-trivial number of stares.

Some of those stares would be indignant, because conservative Christian culture trains men to think that if they see too much lady-skin—especially if they receive any pleasure at all from seeing it—they must be sinning. Unfortunately for such men, human biology dictates that women, however conservatively dressed, draw the male eye. Even more disconcertingly, the little hormone rush we get when we see a sexually-appealing woman’s body parts means we’re going to like it, whether we want to or not. As Maynard assures us, this does not mean we are falling prey to lust:

God created you to desire another person for affection, intimacy, and relationship! Being physically attracted to someone is not lust. Wanting to kiss someone is not lust. Enjoying kissing someone is not lust. Those desires can be a catalyst for lust, but in themselves, they are morally-neutral, God-created, biological and chemical reactions. Your body recognizing sexual compatibility with another person is not inherently evil.

It’s hard to believe that this biological reaction is the thing Jesus was warning about in Matthew 5. Maynard is probably correct in suggesting a better definition for lust:

It is the ritual taking, obsessing, and using someone else for your own benefit rather than valuing that person as an equal image-bearer of God. Lust is forming people in your own image, for your own purposes, whether for sexual pleasure, emotional security, or moral superiority.

Unfortunately, I think many men in conservative churches conflate “lust” and the uncomfortableness of seeing a woman dressed more revealingly than what they perceive as normal. Since conservative Christians tend to be a little behind on many aspects of culture, it has become all too easy for a woman to show an amount of skin that passes the threshold of “normal” for these men. Unusual sights draw the eye; we tend to have a hard time looking away from things that are out of the ordinary for us, and this is all the more true when those things register in our brains as sexually appealing. Men may find themselves momentarily staring at a woman’s breasts because they are available to be stared at, then feeling guilty about “lust”.

But an inability to stop staring at a woman’s body does not necessarily equal lust. It is quite definitely rude, and it will probably make that woman feel uncomfortable. It may also provoke jealously or hurt feelings in the wives or girlfriends of the men in question. Of course, it may even actually be lust—if the staring turns into sexualizing or objectifying. In any case, though, no one is forcing a man to stare at a woman; we can all learn to exercise self-control, even that most pitiable slave to his hormones and biological imperatives, the human male.[3]

More importantly, when men see a woman dressed more revealingly than is usual in their particular subculture, the feeling they are most likely experiencing is discomfort, not lust. And because it is nice to make people feel comfortable whenever possible, women (and men) may want to consider how to dress appropriately for a given context. If you’re going to the beach, wear a bikini! If you’re going to a party, wear a cocktail dress! If you’re going to a conservative evangelical church… consider a long skirt and a turtleneck sweater.

Of course, you may have excellent reasons for disregarding the comfort of others in deciding what to wear. Maybe the memory of past abuse gives you a sick feeling whenever you imagine dressing to accommodate someone else’s morals. Maybe another person in your life is always trying to control your appearance, and you need to assert your independence. Maybe you’ve decided that your conservative church needs a push with regard to “modesty”, so you throw on your best push-up bra in the name of feminism and Jesus. Or maybe you’re just feeling down and really need to look fantastic today. I don’t know; I’m not your conscience.

The important thing is to think about it. If you can dress to fit in with the culture of your context, do so with joy. If you don’t feel like you can, it’s on that culture to treat you like a human anyway.

I’ll spot you the polite choice for one particular context: if you’re going to be around my mom, throw on a pair of pants.

  1. Personally, I find it less disturbing to believe he came downstairs in his boxers than to consider why he owned a pair of outerwear shorts people might easily mistake for boxers.  ↩

  2. You have no idea how hard I work for you guys.  ↩

  3. (This is totally sarcasm.)  ↩

A Response to A Response to A Response

Sarah Moon has responded to several criticisms of her previous post, “Complementarianism’s ugly relationship with rape”, by clarifying and expanding her belief that complementarians benefit from rape culture and even “need” it. In so doing, she co-opts Beverly Tatum’s “moving walkway” analogy (new to me):

Rape culture is like “a moving walkway at the airport.” (Tatum) Rape culture is pulling us along as a society of domination. Those in power can stand still on that walkway, ignore the floor moving under their feet, even turn the opposite direction and insist that they despise rape, but unless they are actively running in the opposite direction–away from victim blaming, from rape jokes, from the idea that some groups of people are meant by nature to rule over other groups of people–it continues to pull them along.

For the most part, I agree with Sarah, at least when it comes to the benefit complementarians derive from the existence of rape culture. She has persuaded me to that extent. But the “moving walkway” analogy bugged me from her first mention of it in the comments section of her original post, and here’s why: it puts the onus on everyone deriving benefit from an oppressive system to actively fight that system.

Not every issue can be a personal issue to everyone. Feminism is important to me, but I don’t try to force it on everyone else. I think about it, and I write about it, and I talk about it to others in socially-appropriate settings, but I don’t try to make everyone care about it as much as I do. That’s just the golden rule at work; I wouldn’t like it if everyone else tried to force me to care about their pet issues.

I don’t wish to put words in her mouth, but I suspect that Sarah is not really saying all Christian complementarians should feel obliged to actively fight back against rape culture; she is taking a strong, principled stance, and when we do that we tend to be a little more black-and-white in print than we would be in practice.

She’s right in her conclusion, though: it doesn’t seem like any complementarians are running the opposite direction on the walkway.

♀ One Insult and One Compliment


Two days ago Sarah Moon published “Complementarianism’s ugly relationship with rape”, her theory on how complementarian “leaders” (by which I assume she means thought leaders such as theologians or well-known preachers and writers) need rape to exist in order to control women. I recommend reading the post, as well as the rest of Sarah’s thoughtful and frequently provocative writing. I do not, though, agree with her entirely in this case; while I find her thesis interesting and worthy of consideration, the post contains two flawed assumptions that at least partially undermine the validity of her argument. Without wishing to deny the prevalence of rape culture—both inside and outside evangelicalism—I always find it instructive and beneficial to deconstruct flawed thinking.

Firstly, in her very thesis statement (easily identified in bold—hers, not mine), Sarah backhandedly belittles the intelligence of the complementarian laity:

Here’s what I believe and what I am claiming: complementarian leaders, despite their personal feelings about rape, need rape to exist and for it to be a serious threat.

The rest of the post backs up this assertion, but Sarah provides a short summary at the end (again, emphasis hers):

many women adhere to complementarian gender roles because complementarian leaders have told these women that these women will be raped if they step outside these roles.

However thoughtful and valid the logic that occurs between these two statements might be, the idea that people only believe a certain way because they’ve been scared into it is, at the root, a belief that no other intelligent person could honestly interpret the Bible differently than Sarah herself.

Oddly enough, I have experienced this exact sort of condescension in the opposite direction: complementarians who assume that my disagreement with their beliefs must stem from failure to engage the Bible with intellectual honesty. It’s a more specific version of a fairly universal conceit; most people believe that anyone who disagrees with them—particularly about issues they hold dear—must do so because of lack of intelligence, lack of information, or failure to correctly process information due to emotional factors that cloud the opponent’s judgment.[1] In a sense, this conceit is what makes disagreement and debate possible; if I was so open-minded that I believed everyone’s ideology equally valid, I could never hold a real opinion on anything.

When it comes to interpreting the Bible, though, we need to temper our confidence with a fairly liberal dose of humility. A collection of documents with such diverse culture, purpose, and authorship behind it will never have a single, undeniable, agreed-upon interpretation, and claiming—implicitly or explicitly—that interpretations not our own must certainly result from flawed thinking pushes confidence into the realm of arrogance.

Sarah’s assertion that complementarian leaders need rape to control women overlays an unspoken assumption that these women could not possibly engage the Bible with open, unclouded minds and still conclude that complementarianism is true.

Having undeservedly (and, I’m sure, unintentionally) insulted the complementarian laity, Sarah undeservedly compliments their leaders. The second flaw in her premise is more subtle and therefore more easily overlooked but, I believe, no less important to consider: the assumption that people are ideologically consistent. Professional thinkers—and serious amateur thinkers, such as people who write feminist websites—make this mistake very easily, attempting as they do on a full-time basis to maintain intellectual rigor in their thoughts and writing. Most people fail at logical consistency, though—even intellectuals.

Sometimes we acknowledge our inconsistencies but—rightly or wrongly—justify them for emotional or sentimental reasons. For example, I continue to open the car door for my wife and close it behind her whenever we drive together despite knowing that this tradition represents a patriarchal belief in the incompetence and weakness of women. I don’t care; I like those outmoded chivalric gestures. And my wife doesn’t care; her independence and egalitarianism don’t prevent her from realizing that adherence to this little ritual represents my commitment to making her feel valued and adored even after five years of marriage.

Often, though, logical inconsistency goes unnoticed, because people really just aren’t that logical. Trumpet Reason as we might in Western culture, very few develop the habit of genuine intellectual rigor and employ it regularly and flawlessly. Most of us muddle along being completely reasonable only part of the time, and the closer we hold our particular beliefs the more blind we tend to be to their inherent inconsistency.

Sarah contends that while complementarian leaders claim to hate rape, in reality they so narrow the definition of rape through victim-blaming that, in their view, hardly any woman could actually be raped.

According to complementarian evangelicals, “real” (shall we say “legitimate?”) rape can only happen to a limited group of women. Other women who claim to be raped are either lying to avoid owning up to their sin, or they need to take responsibility for “bringing rape upon themselves.”

It may be apparent to Sarah, me, and everyone reading this that telling a rape victim she should have dressed more modestly is victim-blaming, and that engaging in victim-blaming is essentially excusing rape, which amounts to de-classifying it as rape, meaning, by extension, that the victim was not “really raped”; but we’ve thought long and hard about the issue because it’s “our” issue. And because it’s our issue, we can easily forget how to identify with the more muddled thinking that allows a person to condemn rape but also admonish women who dress revealingly, without seeing any disconnect between the two.

Now, to be sure, some complementarians (and others) do simply de-classify rape for any woman who doesn’t follow their every prescription, and I think it fair to say these people use rape to control women and benefit from rape culture. Many complementarians, though, are simply muddled in their thinking—not realizing the mismatch between their real and thorough condemnation of rape and the view of gender they draw from their interpretation of the Bible.[2] To feminists, telling a woman she shouldn’t have been drunk in the first place is equivalent to telling her she wasn’t really raped. To complementarians, it’s just pointing out behavior they would have thought sinful even if no rape had occurred.

So I don’t think I can accept Sarah’s argument that complementarian victim-blaming intentionally de-classifies rape for all but the most perfect women; this projects an internal consistency onto complementarianism that I don’t think exists in actuality.

This, in my opinion, essentially de-fangs Sarah’s case for believing that complementarian leaders need rape to exist, but she has still highlighted an unhealthy attitude toward rape and rape culture among many complementarians. I disagree with her about the centrality of rape culture to the perpetuation of complementarianism, but she is right to draw attention to the issue, and the three writers she mentions in her lede certainly display egregious rape apologism.

I retain a certain nostalgic affection for the type of evangelical churches where complementarianism flourishes, and even though I have changed my opinion on gender to an egalitarian view, I still believe complementarians can point to biblical evidence for their position. I further believe—although this would be controversial in most feminist circles—that accepting biblically-defined gender roles does not preclude a healthy attitude toward rape or female sexual expression, and I hope that complementarians will take seriously the challenges posed to them by Sarah Moon and other feminist writers. I can’t speak for everyone else, but I criticize because I love.

  1. This last is, I imagine, what Sarah would attribute to lay people, especially women, who subscribe to a complementarian view of gender.  ↩

  2. I grew up in several different conservative evangelical churches, and the ones whose teaching on the subject I can recall certainly fell into this category—generally very healthy in their opposition to rape but somewhat unhealthy in their tendency to engage in what I might call “predictive” victim-blaming. I feel sure that if any rape had been reported among those congregations, they would have unequivocally condemned it.  ↩

When Ordinary Muslims Say Things in the Media (and it Sounds Outrageous)

Every now and then Nahida (The Fatal Feminist) totally nails it:

Most people, especially most religious people, are not aware that they are not living in a vacuum. They aren’t aware that their words and actions are politically charged, or of the wider implications and interpretational consequences. They think they are just being religious. They think they are just being religious and living their lives even when they are involving this in politics.

Replace “Muslim” with “Christian” and “Qur’an” or “shari’ah law” with “Bible”, and the post still works on nearly every level.