DeVos Embraces Misogynists “To Advance God’s Kingdom” Against Women

Anyone remotely familiar with the Christian bible, or the evangelical faith, is aware the religious mythology is as steeped in misogyny as it is brutal and deadly punishment for non-compliance to its edicts. In fact, nearly all religions are misogynistic in varying degrees, but “all religions” aren’t the purview of public school enemy Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. She is a dyed-in-the-wool evangelical whose stated goal in decimating public education is using her cabinet level position to “advance god’s kingdom.”

Since advancing her evangelical god’s kingdom has to include advancing the bible’s misogynistic dogma, it was no surprise that DeVos reached out and invited to some decidedly misogynistic men’s groups, replete with accused rapists, for a meeting at the Department of Education; apparently for misogynists’ guidance on how best to deconstruct as much of Title IX as possible in as short amount of time as possible. The misogynists know this is the best chance they have to turn back the clock on women’s rights and no better advocate for their cause than an evangelical fanatic with a powerful cabinet position than DeVos.

Title IX is a federal law as part of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 that states:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”    

It is noteworthy that this is the second time DeVos “reached out” to evangelicals to address their biblically-informed discriminatory needs. The first time was less than three weeks ago when she invited, commiserated, and pledged support for evangelical anti-LGBTQ hate groups as part of her effort to “advance god’s kingdom.” Having assured the religious that she will use the Department of Education to assist their anti-LGBTQ discriminatory lust, she turned her attention to the men’s misogyny clubs.

There is little doubt that men’s misogyny clubs believes DeVos will aid them in putting women in their place as defined by the Christian bible; in subjection to a man’s will. It is apparent that DeVos wants to help the misogynists because they have been overtly critical of Title IX policies with a particularly rigorous bent toward those enacted to help colleges and universities staunch the epidemic of campus rape. The policies the “National Coalition for Men” want eliminated were put in place by real President, Barack Obama because although he is a Christian, he understands the need to protect women on college campuses from sexual assault.

The National Coalition for Men has been around since the 1970s as part of the so-called “men’s rights” movement. And like the name suggests, the coalition exists solely to promote misogynistic ideals and wage war against women and their struggle for equality. Obviously, women wanting equal rights is one of many mortal sins among the evangelical movement.

For an example of the group’s intentions and glaring animus towards women in general, and their fight for equal rights, on the group’s North Carolina website it offers legal guidance for rapists and publishes photographs of rape victims claiming they are liars. Of course the tactic serves one purpose; to warn rape victims that if they report an attack and rape, they will be publicly besieged, exposed and intimidated. The message to women is clear: if you are attacked and brutally raped, you stay silent or face more attacks from the men’s rights movement.

For an idea of the mindset of  the “men’s misogyny club,” five years ago it gave its overwhelming endorsement and support for the Republican House version of the Violence Against Women Act because it eliminated protections for the LGBTQ community. It has also been “lawsuit happy” any time it notices an event organized specifically for women.

For example, it sued a strip club for allowing women in free during a “ladies night” promotion, as well as suing a company for not allowing men to attend an event organized to assist women’s networking. The “coalition” president, Harry Crouch, regularly lashes out at women for surviving domestic abuse that he claims is always their fault. He also vehemently defended former football player Ray Rice after he knocked his then-fiancée unconscious in an elevator and dragged her out like so much refuse. According to Crouch:

If she hadn’t aggravated him, she wouldn’t have been hit. They [women] would say that’s blaming the victim. But I don’t buy it.”

There is a good reason the National Coalition for Men and several other anti-women’s groups were invited to meet with DeVos; she appears more than willing to rescind the Title IX protections for sexual assault survivors.

When she sat in her Senate confirmation hearing and lied like a good evangelical, she said it “would be premature” for her to commit to upholding the federal protections for women. She claimed her reluctance is based on “conflicting opinions” about the need to protect women on college campuses from sexual assault. Obviously the “conflicting opinions” include those of the misogynist men’s groups with glaring animosity towards women; especially “those” women who believe they have a right to equality in education, or wages, or voting rights, or the right not to be raped at all, much less with veritable impunity.

There is also hope among the misogynists that DeVos will do their bidding because she has made donations totaling $25,000 to another anti-woman’s group, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) that regularly publishes articles “dismissive of sexual assault survivors.” One article stated:

Much of the feminist ‘war on rape’ has conflated sexual assault with muddled, often alcohol-fueled, sexual encounters that involve miscommunication.”

It is a typically male rape culture ploy to excuse sexual attacks, and as far as “involving miscommunication;” that is code for the attacker not accepting the word “no, please stop, don’t rape me.”

No matter what DeVos’ particular religious bent might be, it is abominable that she is using her cabinet position to “legitimize” hate groups whether it is anti-LGBTQ hate or misogynist groups fervently dedicated to “defending rapists, attacking female victims of sexual assault, and promoting the conspiracy theory that domestic violence is exaggerated.” But that abomination is exactly what the hateful evangelicals who put Trump in the White House expected as remuneration for their votes. Now with an evangelical monster like DeVos running the Education Department, those abominations are only going to get more ardently biblical; something anyone familiar with the Christian bible knows will be brutal.

Image: Elizabeth Brockway/Daily Beast

Ryan’s Christian Sharia Is Standard Republican Biblical Policy

Over the past decade or so, despite knowing nothing about the Muslim religion or their own religion for that matter, much less the U.S.  Constitution, the religious right and conservative movement has been on a foolish crusade to prevent some fantasy character from imposing Sharia Law on American citizens.

If the anti-Sharia Law idiots, all who are evangelical idiots, had ever read a word in that Christian bible they clutch to their bosom as they vote for Republicans, they would realize that Republicans in Congress and state legislatures have been and still are attempting to legislate according to their Christian version of Sharia Law.

Although it is not a “legitimate law” as such, when House Speaker Paul Ryan imposed a “modesty code” on any woman in or around his office or the floor of the House, he is following an edict in the Christian bible. Now, it is particularly noteworthy that Ryan did not invent the House’s “modesty code” for women, it “has been around in some form for centuries.”

However, the actual dress code for the House of Representatives is a real rule, but it is particularly vague and only states that women must wear “appropriate attire.” It is the evangelical Paul Ryan who used “a vague dress code” for women as a means of controlling them like his Christian bible and American patriarchy dictates. And that really gets to the point of this little screed; Republicans are imposing Christian Sharia Law on women and it is not just enforcing a modesty dress code. But there is no outcry from evangelicals who are just vulnerable as non-believers.

As remarked in the National Review, sleeves, or lack thereof, on women on the floor of the House was not necessarily considered “appropriate.” Ryan didn’t invent the “sleeve statute.” It wasn’t really approriate until former First Lady Michelle Obama wore a sleeveless dress during real President Barack Obama’s first address to the joint session of Congress. There may have even been some “shock” among the faithful conservatives, but everything the Obama’s did was “shocking” to the right.

After that “momentous breach” of one of the Christian Congress’ implied “modesty laws,” one that the patriarchal males enacted in the past, wearing “summer-compatible” attire became more widespread, and more widely accepted, in the House of Representatives. But then the theocrats took over the government on January 1, 2017.

Just because a century ago religious righteous men implemented an absurd “modesty code” for women in or around the House of Representatives, there is no excuse for Paul Ryan to start enforcing  his religious (Quiverfull)  version of that preposterous “modesty policy” now. And it is definitely a policy that is lifted straight out of Christian bible scriptures.

To demonstrate how entrenched patriarchal religion is in conservative circles, women felt they had to justify that what they were wearing is due to the stifling hot weather. It is offensive that any woman would have to defend their attire in a fair and equal society with a deliberately secular Constitution. Of course no Republican will ever admit that a “modesty code” for women is justified because it is in the Christian bible because they would incur a great deal of pushback from Americans. It is safe to say that the great majority of Americans don’t want any religious laws forced on them, whether from Sharia or Judea by force of the government regardless of some so-called “legitimate” justification that “it’s a longstanding rule.”

There is no justification for a great deal of Republican policies based on ancient Jewish and Christian scriptures that Republican males are using to subvert women’s rights and control them in more ways than just control what they wear at the Capitol.

For example, Republican men in the Senate have regularly “silenced” women in the Senate as of late such as Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and most recently Kamala Harris (D-CA); just because it is written in the scriptures. It is likely that Senators Warren and Harris are victims of the bible’s edict in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 that says:

Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.

And in Titus 2:3-5, women are told that the only way to avoid blaspheming the word of god is to accept being admonished to “be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, and obedient;” because no woman can ever be equal to a man, any man. It is admonishment that Republicans in Congress and state legislatures have clung to, and attempted to enforce, since the nation’s beginning; even though it violates the nation’s founding document.

The GOP’s imposition of Christian Sharia goes far beyond just forcing women to be silent and dressed in accordance with the bible-Ryan’s “modesty clause.”  Many Americans act befuddled as to why Republican men are insistent that they, as religious Republican men, think they have a right to dictate rules concerning a woman’s body in a nation with a Constitution ensuring equal rights for all citizens, regardless their gender. Of course there is no constitutional law forcing women to cede control of their bodies to men, but by dog there is one in the Christian bible; the “rule book” Republican men use to control women. In 1 Corinthians 7:4, the “cherry-picked” passage driving the religious Republican’s belief that men have authority to control a woman’s body says:

“The wife does not exercise authority over her own body, but her husband does.”

That biblical edict coupled with those demanding that women are obedient to men, silent around men, and dress modestly according to men’s laws make it is impossible to argue that Republicans are not imposing Christian Sharia on American women.

There is a reason House Speaker Ryan began enforcing “his version” of a vague “appropriate attire” rule and it is not because he is phobic over women’s toes or biceps; it has everything to do with impressing his religious base and reminding American women they are subject to “a man’s” will according to the Christian bible.

Remember, when Republicans took over the entire government, the religious right became co-owners with the Koch brothers; something Donald Trump duly acknowledged by selecting cabinet nominees who are predominately hard-right evangelical fundamentalists and theocrats. Now that the religious right controls domestic policy, and they do control domestic policy, Americans can look forward to a very healthy dose of Christian Sharia and they had better learn immediately that it is going to be much worse than trying to avoid an encounter with religious  Republicans’ modesty police.

Image: Gage Skidmore/Patheos

Trump’s Sexual Assault Talk Epitomizes Why Rape Culture Thrives

 

One of the benefits of a nation that welcomes people from around the world is that there are many diverse cultures that make up what it means to be an American. It is a sad fact of life, though, that there is one specifically prevalent culture in America that targets one major demographic and because Donald J. Trump is the Republican candidate for the presidency, rape culture is now front and center if the media would make it a national issue.

In its most basic form described by a very simple definition, “rape culture is the normalization of sexual assault in a society.” Another definition is “a culture in which rape and other sexual violence (usually against women) are common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media condone, normalize, excuse, or encourage sexualized violence.”

That definition fairly explains all of the horrendous “rape apologists” rushing to defend or excuse the sexist Republican candidate for president. And it describes the American social norm perpetuating the idea that women are sexual objects, and that sexual objectification is simply a fact of life; so there is nothing “wrong” with Donald Trump’s behavior, or nasty “rape” talk. It is talk that perpetuates rape culture primarily because when it occurs no-one challenges the attitude the Trump-types exude when talking about women.

Trump’s talk was not locker room chatter, not in any typical locker room, and not the kind of talk normal locker room men would comport or allow to go unpunished. However, it is the kind of talk prevalent among a certain class of males; males that feel entitled due to wealth, family name, power, connections or celebrity. Remember, it wasn’t just Trump’s claim that he could “move on” or “grab” the genitals of any woman he wanted and do anything his perverted mind dreamed up, it was his justification that because he is rich, a “star” celebrity, and powerful that he and his class are entitled to “the right” to sexually assault women. It is not unlike the reasoning television celebrity Bill Cosby used to explain away his years of sexually assaulting young women. And in Donald Trump’s case it excused his assaults on his wives, strangers on airplanes, beauty pageant workers and women sitting in bars.

The truth is that if men like Trump were challenged, or beaten to within an inch of their perverted lives, when they boast about their sexual predation bona fides, that culture may cease being an attractive option for men like Trump. When Trump boasted to Billy Bush about his unwanted advances on unsuspecting women, Bush should have at least feigned outrage and besmirched Trump’s character and told him what a real man would do if Trump acted like an animal around a woman. Instead, he laughed in apparent agreement and encouragement leading one to wonder if he didn’t “high five” Trump for his “achievement;” he certainly wasn’t appalled like any decent human being.

The rape culture is perpetuated in many ways, but none more so than the “rape apologists” rushing to defend the perpetrators whether they are rich celebrities like Donald Trump, high school football stars carrying around an unconscious rape victim, rock celebrities or television stars. Of course there was no shortage of Trump defenders who excused his lewd description about how he commits sexual assaults according to the Justice Department definition.

It is exactly that kind of defense by his supporters and campaign surrogates using “creative excuses that normalize and minimize sexual assaults” That perpetuate and normalize rape culture. And it doesn’t matter who is guilty whether it is Donald Trump or any other male sexual predator. A despicable example was the co-chair of Trump’s New York campaign, Carl Paladino, who excused Trump’s remarks about sexually assaulting women as “something all men do, at least all normal men.” And according to rape culture, if it is “something that all normal men do” then it must be permissible in society and women who object must be sick, or at least they don’t really comprehend what “legitimate rape” entails. Yes, just uttering the words “legitimate rapeperpetuates America’s rape culture that sexual predators like Donald Trump thrive in.

There has always been a culture promoting rape in America simply because the nation is and always has been dominated by patriarchs that believe their “biblical superiorityover women excuses all manner of misogyny whether it is sexual assault, controlling women’s bodies, underpaying them, slut-shaming for using birth control or daring to come forward to unconcerned, mostly male, law enforcement to report a sexual assault.

In fact, another thing that makes rape culture “self-perpetuating” is that assaulted women are terrified to come forward and report their rapists out of fear of not being taken seriously or having “their characters ripped apart.” It is why so many victims stay silent to avoid having their motives questioned like Trump’s accusers or to avoid being accused of “asking for it.” As Laurel Raymond at Think Progress put it, “If we are to learn anything from Trump’s masterclass in rape culture, it’s that none of us [women] should keep quiet.”

If nothing else comes out of the revelation that Donald Trump is, by definition, a sexual predator and guilty of sexual assault according to his own words, it is possible that more Americans will become aware of rape culture and who is perpetuating it. It is true there are Republicans condemning Trump’s “remarks,” but one has to add that they are all the same Republicans guilty of perpetuating rape culture whether by slut-shaming contraception advocates or questioning the validity of a rape. It is something only a Republican still supporting Donald Trump is guilty of and as some people have noted are also guilty of wishing they were in Trump’s situation so they too could “move hard” on any woman with impunity because they are rich, famous or powerful.

Image: Gage Skidmore