Saturday, October 29, 2016

Living under Biblical Law in the USA

When I was 14, my best friend, also 14, got pregnant. Her boyfriend was 19. She and her boyfriend wanted to get married, and her parents were all for it, because their church minister had told them that marriage would be best for their daughter, that it was what Jesus wanted, because otherwise, her baby "would born a bastard." Dropping out of school and getting married and staying home with a baby was the will of Jesus for this young girl, and her parents were all about Jesus. They believed their family should adhere to Biblical law above all else - and that everyone else should too.

A girl in my junior high school wasn't allowed to take gym class, because her parents told her she had to wear skirts and dresses, never shorts or pants, and they felt that girls in gym glass went against Biblical law. They believed their family should adhere to Biblical law above all else - and that everyone else should too.

I've known at least three women who wanted to divorce their abusive, unsupportive husbands, but their own parents and other family and friends discouraged them from doing this, because of the teachings of Jesus and Paul about marriage. They believed their family should adhere to Biblical law above all else - and that everyone else should too.

Growing up in Kentucky, every city meeting was opened with a prayer to Jesus. So were football games. Because my community believed that Biblical law was the law of our land.

I grew up hearing many people, not just ministers, say that feminist movements were against God, that feminists' encouraged women to turn their backs on Jesus and his plan for us, one where we are obedient to our husbands, where we have many children, and where we do NOT work outside of the home. Because my community believed that Biblical law was the law of our land.

I knew girls who did not wear makeup because their parents wouldn't let them. I knew girls that couldn't get their hair cut because their parents wouldn't let them. I knew girls who couldn't spend the night with a friend if that friend had brothers, because their parents wouldn't let them. And in all these cases, the parents believed these prohibitions were prescribed by the Bible. They believed their family should adhere to Biblical law above all else - and that everyone else should too.

In Kentucky, and the rest of the Bible Belt, many people think it's their duty to spread the word of Jesus - and so you are often asked what church you go to, if you have been saved, when you were Baptised, etc. You won't be hard pressed to find Jewish people living in the Bible Belt that have been told by neighbors and co-workers that "Jews killed Jesus."

I didn't like it. In fact, I hated it. Back then, I was trying to be a Christian, I was reading the Bible, but I could not accept a subservient role in life, one where I did not get to choose a career, where I would be called horrible names for choosing not to be a virgin, one where I would be chastised for not having children.

In Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona, there are more than 7000 people living under a strict interpretation of the Bible and the Book of Mormon, young girls are forced into plural marriages and sex while still children, women are forbidden from doing anything outside the home without their husband's permission, all females are required to wear a particular type of dress and have their hair fixed a certain way, and their church's financial arm owns most of the property in the cities. Men from these communities have been convicted for child sexual abuse - abuse they conducted under the belief that they had the right to do according to Biblical Law.

I bring all this up because I don't hear any of the people that are saying they fear Sharia Law in the USA talking about the forced adherence to religious law that is here already, right now. I've lived under it. Millions still do. No, it's not official on-the-books law, at least in most cases, but it is practiced in many places in the USA, and many people, particularly women and girls, feel they have to adhere to it, for fear of ostracism/social exclusion at best, and bullying, oppression, denial of financial support or even physical abuse at worst.

One of my favorite books is The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood. In it, the USA is taken over by an ultra conservative Bible-based movement. They quickly reorganize society along a new militarized, hierarchical, compulsory regime of Old Testament-inspired social and religious fanaticism. Human rights are severely limited and women's rights are completely unrecognized - in fact, almost all women are forbidden to read. So many of my friends read it and while they loved it, they found it utterly unbelievable. I didn't. I didn't find it unbelievable because of what I experienced growing up in Kentucky.

All of you people fearful of Muslims and Sharia - where is your fear of the reality that is Biblical law right here in the USA? Why aren't Pamela Geller or Ron Branstner talking about this forced adherence to religious law that is causing oppression, pain and suffering in our country right now?

Also see:

ACLU, parents of Buddhist student in N. La. sue Christian educators for religious harassment

A child bride in Texas

Christian Homeschoolers Sell Daughter Into Arranged Marriage, Offer Discount Because She’s ‘Damaged’

15 reasons women should be killed, according to the Bible

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