When my daughter was still in the local schools, she used to come home puzzled and woeful, with tales of her friends, members of the local Charismatic Christian church. "Lily isn't allowed to be sad," she would tell me. Or: "Lily has to smile. She's not allowed to be unhappy." Or: "Sometimes Lily sticks pins in her arm. Until it bleeds. She says she doesn't feel pain."
I thought this was just some very odd child, or maybe an exaggeration, or my kid misunderstanding something, until I began to get essays from my own students, raised in this church or in similar churches. They tell of being beaten ("spanked," but these are beatings) for showing any emotion other than happiness. Being sad, or angry, or "moody," was seen as rebelliousness. It was being "bitter" and "unsubmissive" and was a sin, to be punished.
This is, of course, girl children. I'm sure some sort of number is also being done on boy children -- that is, I'm sure this disturbing religion is also fucking them up (for instance, my male students almost never write me essays about their lives at all: my male students are mute about what they have suffered) -- but it is the women I want to discuss here.
What is the intent of working so hard to build this false consciousness into half your population?
We know what the effect is -- women who deny their own selfhood, who perceive their own existence only through others ("I'm Timothy's mom!"), who like Lily literally can't feel their own pain, who have no agency -- but what is the intent? Why do this to other human beings?
What can the intent be, except to turn those humans into objects?
It's right there in the language. Submit. Obey. Surrender.
And it's in the process, too. From the time of infancy (because this begins when the children are infants), these girls are forced to deny their own agency, their own emotions, their own perceptions, and accept what their fathers tell them is reality. It's a form of brain washing, and it's an attempt to turn the women into a tool for the father's will.
And then -- since the father plans to give the girl to another man -- for her husband's will.
What's amazing is that any woman can escape this trap at all.
Many of my students can't, frankly. Even the most intelligent of them, who have been reading since they were very young, and are now at university, and who are writing me these essays, still look me straight in the face and parrot their father's words to me. "God made women to submit." "Men are created to be leaders." "A rebellious wife makes rebellious children."
When I tell them that Jewish children are raised to argue and talk back, they stare at me like I'm speaking Greek. I tell them the story of Jacob wrestling with God, and how it is taught in Jewish culture -- how we are meant to argue with God, how it's our job to argue and talk back. I remind them of how Abraham argued with God when God wanted to destroy Sodom. "You're supposed to argue," I tell them. "You're supposed to tell God when he's wrong."
Their eyes are huge by this time.
"And if God can be wrong," I say, "are you telling me men can't? Or parents?"
They can't even speak.
"Besides," I say, "are you raising children to be obedient? Or are you raising them to be adults? Do you want them to do what they're told when they're grown? Or do you want them to be able to think for themselves?"
This seems never to have occurred to any of them, by the way.
But of course the purpose of the Charismatic church is to raise children to be obedient little objects. People that can think for themselves -- fully functional adults -- would be a disaster for any sort of religious movement.
Why, that would be an enlightened civilization. Heavens.
1 day ago