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TRIGGER WARNING: This post contains rapey stuff.

The powers that be at the neo-liberal (known in some circles as the living embodiment of a wet blanket) have never been been ones to let a good holiday pass in peace. As the nation finds itself in the throws of the most tumultuous times in recent history, many look forward to the short respite of peace and good will that Christmas generally brings. But not Valerie Tarico. Tarico is the resident joy-killer at Alternet (known in some circles as the living embodiment of that one parent who got handball banned at school because her son sucks at handball) and a Salon favorite.

Her latest piece is an uplifting exploration of the scourge of Judeo-Christian values. It came just before Christmas…and no, my “trigger warning” was not just sarcasm. Tarico begins her post thus:

Powerful gods and demi-gods impregnating human women—it’s a common theme in the history of religion, and it’s more than a little rapey.

And Merry Christmas to you, too!

Apparently the takeaway from any religion is that God or a god forces himself on an unsuspecting, naïve young woman. Said woman is given no choice, exercises no consent is is forcefully penetrated in some way by some spirit, beam of light or other imaginative weapon of the patriarchy.

But these encounters between beautiful young women and gods have one thing in common. None of them has freely given female consent as a part of the narrative. (Luke’s Mary assents after being not asked but told by a powerful supernatural being what is going to happen to her, “Behold the bond slave of the Lord: be it done to me . . .”)

Side note: Mary could have said no to God. Humans aren’t robots. That’s sort of the whole point of the Gospel. God gave humans free will and some humans choose to love him and some choose to write ridiculous Grinchy blogs for Salon. It’s not love if it isn’t given freely. Had Mary said no I’m quite confident God would have found another. He chose her because he knew she had already chosen him. He trusted her.

As proof of her “God loves rape” premise, Tarico points out that the Bible doesn’t specifically condemn rape.

Many Christians are surprised when told that nowhere in the Bible, either Old Testament or New, does any writer say that a woman’s consent is necessary or even desirable before sex.

For serious??? I’m shocked! I’m also shocked to discover the Bible doesn’t say anything about a man’s consent being necessary before sex (look up the story of Noah for more on that one). What other popular documents of civilization don’t say anything about a woman’s consent being necessary before sex? I couldn’t find anything in the federal constitution. Nada in the Bill of Rights. Ditto for the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Rosetta Stone literally says not one word about female sexual consent. We’re currently reading Lord of the Rings in homeschool and I haven’t come across a single, solitary mention of the necessity for female sexual consent. The menu at the sushi place we ate at the other day? Not. A. Word. It’s appalling. All this time we’ve been unknowingly supporting rape by not denouncing it in every single publication, multiple times! How can we know it’s not good to rape people if it’s not spelled out for us?

I mean, I haven’t seen anything in the Bible about not trying heroin. Or setting fire to hair salons. Or binge-watching “House of Cards” while consuming copious amounts of alcohol. I wonder if God realizes how badly he dropped the ball on all those things.

But wait, there’s more! You can’t leave the Koran out of the picture. That would be too obvious. The Koran is probably the most rapey of the texts Tarico mentions but like a good little elitist, she makes sure to put it all in context.

 1400 years after Muhammad wrote the Koran (which draws heavily on the moral framework of the Judeo-Christian tradition), we still struggle with the question of female consent…

The most extreme example may be a document published by the Islamic State, outlining rules for the treatment of sexual slaves, rules drawn from the Koran. Closer to home for most Americans is the awkward but widespread existence of Christian leaders teach that a woman’s glory is in childbearing, and that a woman who fails to service her husband whenever he desires is failing to serve God.

Understand, everyone – Muhammad and the most extreme of his followers are helplessly influenced by Judeo-Christian tradition. It’s not their fault. ISIS is scary, but the Duggars are downright terrifying.

Finally, Mzzzzzzzzz.Tarico reminds us that it is stories like the Virgin Birth that are responsible for the headlines we see about famous actors, athletes, radio hosts and campus fraternities being perpetrators of the “rape culture” in America.

Convinced of their own deific qualities, it just follows that the object of their attentions has gotta want it—and if she doesn’t, well, that fine too, because when a god wants a woman, consent isn’t really part of the story.

It’s too bad that this Salon contributor is so caught up in her own bitterness that she misses the biggest and most sensational story in all of this. That story is that during a time when women were essentially second class citizens – not the “I have to pay for my own birth control” second class citizens but the truly oppressed kind – the God of the universe chose a woman to bring forth the greatest and most monumental change in the history of mankind. That woman literally changed the course of history, whether you believe in God or not. What she did changed everything. Talk about breaking glass ceilings.

Merry Christmas, Salon. You might want to try removing the rapey-colored glasses for just a day or two and look around. You may be surprised to discover how many women actually find joy this time of year, and you may even find some for yourselves.

2 Responses

  1. Jesse

    There was a rape in the bible of Jacob’s daughter Dinah by Hamor the Havite in the 34th chapter of Genesis. Jacob and her brothers were incensed. Hamor tried to make it up by offering his son to marry her and naming what ever ” bride price” that they felt comfortable with so there would be no trouble. Hamor told Jacob that they could have their woman and the Havites could have theirs. Jacob agreed to it if they would all ( the men would get circumsized. ) They did and when they were all in a state of pain , Jacob and his sons , killed them all by the sword when they weren’t suspecting it. And that was how it was handled when Dinah was defiled. ( Here is one example I don’t know if there are others.)


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