FAITH AND GENDER POLITICS - WHAT DOES SUBMISSION MEAN?
are traditionally insecure beings when it comes to dealing with women,
particularly the hardcore conservative men, be them be Arabs, Americans,
Chinese or Africans. Each one has adopted a blunt to subtle way of
“keeping the woman in her place.” Look at our own conservatives denying
equal pay, equal insurance rates, and equal say in health matters and on
and on… Mike Ghouse. This is my Bi-monthly take on issues published in Dallas Morning News on April 1, 2014.
URL - http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2014/04/texas-faith-in-faith-and-gender.html
Texas Faith - In faith and gender politics, what does submission mean — as in, submissive spouse?
By Wayne Slater
12:16 pm on April 1, 2014 | Permalink
When Sarah Palin ran for vice president, as Hillary Clinton considers a race for president and with Wendy Davis actively engaged in a bid for governor, one aspect of that culture war is what it means in religious terms to be submissive – most notably, a submissive wife. A recent USA Today article notes the subject is popping up these days, preached from the pulpit, pontificated about in a spate of new book releases and prominent on the agenda of next month’s Southern Baptist leadership summit. “All seek to answer the question of whether wives are 100 percent equal partners or whether ‘biblical womanhood’ means a God-given role of supporting their husbands — and, in turn, knowing their husbands are honor-bound to die for them, if necessary.”
Submission in matters of faith and gender politics (Artwork/Todd Slater)
Biblical references to husbands leading their households have long invited interpretations that sound to many people a lot like inferiority. Where’s the equality in submission? And yet Cynthia Rigby of the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and a member of the Texas Faith panel noted in the USA Today story, the Scriptures came out a world where women couldn’t own property and could be divorced by their husbands saying the word three times. In that world, holding wives up as “holy and without blemish” was a radical idea, she said. In her upcoming book, “Shaping Our Faith: A Christian Feminist Theology,” Rigby explores the idea biblical submission and its implications in the wider public debate.
With gender politics is so much part of our public debate, how do we interpret the idea of submission? What does submission in a religious, political and modern cultural sense really mean?
MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism and speaker on interfaith matters, Dallas
The idea of submission was born to address our insecurities. The sense of loss we experience when we do not have control over our surroundings propels us to create a God in our own image, who in turn demanded submission or conformity to certain rules to assure individual and collective safety. Submission is both voluntary and compulsory.
Ganging up against a thought or an action that questions the established system or fighting tooth and nail against deviation from traditions has become a norm of compulsory submission. New ideas are rejected by conservatives, the holders of the given values of a society with loud shrill voices, sheer pressure or outright denunciation as a fringe or a liberal idea. It tears the cohesiveness of the society and creates chaos.
The irony of submission is most of the liberal ideas become acceptable over a period of time, and get established as the new norm, and will be guarded as a conservative value against a newer idea.
Voluntary submission on the other hand is subscribing to a new idea, practice or an action (gaining acceptance of same sex marriage) to keep the societal cohesion intact. The conservatives demand submission to the establishment, where as liberals want the establishment to be submissive to the inclusion – both have the same goal to keep the society intact and in balance with least conflicts.
Submission and Gender Politics
Men are traditionally insecure beings when it comes to dealing with women, particularly the hardcore conservative men, be them be Arabs, Americans, Chinese or Africans. Each one has adopted a blunt to subtle way of “keeping the woman in her place.” Look at our own conservatives denying equal pay, equal insurance rates, and equal say in health matters and on and on…
The drivers among conservative men “assume” that God gave them superiority over women and expect women to submit to them to keep peace in the family or society, period. They still have not woken up to the fact that we do not live in caves anymore, and men and women are equal partners in all aspects of life.
Over the years we have built up a good and just God who cannot tell us to discriminate any of his creation, but the drivers among conservative men have figured it out to make God sing in their tunes through the Bible, Quran, Torah and other holy books about women.
Thanks to Geraldine Ferraro, vice presidential candidate with Walter Mondale, the woman who paved the way for the highest office on the land, and then came Sarah Palin with John McCain, and both of them have established a new bar for women. Now Hilary Clinton and Wendy Davis are going for the highest national and state offices and both of them have fully earned it to be one the best Presidents of the United States and Governors of Texas respectively.
The cave men cannot handle it, and have gone berserk and will resort to ganging up on the Hilary and Wendy. Instead of debating on the issues, they will attack them personally, and make every attempt to push them to the extreme to give up. At the end of the race, they will learn that these women are tough and will cause the establishment to submit to a new norm, a liberal value that will eventually become conservative, reaching new heights of balance and social cohesion.
Additional comments I have added after the publication:
1. Almost all the conservative ideas of today were liberal ideas of yesterday.
2. Cynthia Rigby' statement about Christian dogma amazed me "the Scriptures came out a world where women couldn’t own property and could be divorced by their husbands saying the word three times." Indeed Prophet Muhammad challenged that and said, " women could divorce their husbands equally, and she can refuse to obey if it is against her faith and tradition". But People still don't follow it.
3. No religious group needs to gloat, every one of the scriptures have been misinterpreted. Religions meant good for the society, and of course clergy have made it good for their ego. We simply cannot accept any misogynistic representation of scriptures. God is not a misogynistic thing, he, she or it created all of the universe with equal attention and equal rights to one's space, sustenance and nurturence.
To read the opinions of other panelists, visit Dallas Morning News at http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com/2014/04/in-faith-and-gender-politics-what-does-submission-mean-as-in-submissive-spouse.html/#more-37026
Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a
writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work
place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers
pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in
Standing up for others
and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on
national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on
Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to
the Texas Faith Column at Dallas
Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and
several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work
through many links.