Alabama woman’s experience portends the American Taliban’s rise to power

It is unclear why Americans love war, or why some Americans particularly love wars against other Americans. Despite the horrors of the American Civil War, many of Trump’s acolytes yearn to wage war against other Americans opposed to Trump and his tyrannical style of ruling, but there is a particular bent among his religious right devotees to wage war against women. That is, after all, one of the primary reasons so-called Christians lovingly embraced a confessed sinner like Trump – he pledged to win the war against women by eliminating their constitutional right to self-determination regarding their reproductive health and so much more.

It is a sad state of affairs, but since Trump’s poorly attended inauguration the evangelical extremist cult’s rise to power has resulted in a wave of attacks against women and their constitutional rights.

Those assaults are borne of what the religious right regards as its constitutional religious freedom to put women in their biblical place – under control of religious men. It is also noteworthy that since Trump handed control over to evangelical extremists, his acolytes in the “family values” movement have felt emboldened to take matters into their own hands and forego Trump and Pence bestowing official government authority to control women.

Not too long ago an emboldened “family values” sycophant created a humiliating scene for two women who were legally breastfeeding their infants in public; because doing so offended what is becoming the “unofficial” modesty police.

Apparently, because Trump and Pence are dragging their feet in designating a Taliban-like religious agency to police women’s activities, the “family values” cult is preparing the population for the official modesty police. The breastfeeding “incident” in Minnesota a couple of weeks ago humiliated a breastfeeding mother because a “modest” family values woman was uncomfortable, but at least she was not forced to leave by management. It was not so “easy” for a woman in bible-thumping Alabama who dared wear shorts in oppressive 100 degree heat in the dead of summer.

The incident occurred in a Mobile shopping mall where security guards at The Shoppes at Bel Air are harassing women for wearing shorts. The shopper, Gabrielle Gibson, described on Facebook how she was “harassed” and “abused” by mall security serving as “modesty police” for the “family friendly” management. Ms. Gibson was “kicked out” of the mall because she was wearing shorts “prompting other women to come forward to share their personal stories of abuse and harassment by mall security guards doubling as family values police.”

Ms. Gibson explained that she was shopping when a security guard approached her after “looking at her a** cheeks” and told her she was being evicted for wearing shorts. Ms. Gibson’s “a** cheeks” were not exposed, but that is not the point. According to Ms. Gibson:

“I was literally harassed and kicked out of the Bell Air mall in Mobile, AL today because of what I’m wearing. Apparently grown men couldn’t contain themselves so I get kicked out. Security officer J. Mathis initiated that he was looking at my a** cheeks and it was a problem. Don’t look at my a** then; there’s a thought? As well. security officer Davis and head of security Jim Chavis were extremely rude and completely unprofessional about the situation.

They went as far as to threaten to call a police officer. From what I saw today everyone had short shorties on. I mean come on, its August and 100° outside. I don’t know why I was pinpointed. I’m just disgusted with the behavior of all these people.”

Of course, being residents of the evangelical cult’s second most religious state in America and one Hell-bent on exercising some evangelical religious freedom, the mall’s management denied ever doing anything wrong; they were simply freely exercising their religious freedom to enforce their Puritanical dress code. The Shoppes at Bel Air released a statement in support of a blatant attack on a woman exercising her constitutional right of self-determination regarding clothing. The mall management’s statement:

Given the high degree of importance we place on maintaining a family-friendly shopping environment, our policy requires all of our customers to dress in a manner that reflects our [religious] code of conduct. Anyone who violates this [religious] policy will be asked to change or to leave the premises.”

A perusal of the corporate ownership of the “mall” failed to turn up any known evangelical extremist involvement, so it is apparent, at least to this author, that enforcing a “family-friendly” dress code was under purview of the local bible-thumpers, not the corporate office in New York. Alabama is, after all, the second “most religious” state in the nation and also contains a vile religious freedom amendment that gives veritable impunity to “freely exercise” religion without interference of any state or federal law – such as anti-discrimination laws. It is likely why the mall’s modesty police threatened to summon the real police to officially enforce the family friendly “code of conduct.”

As it should have, the incident drew outrage from women whose only recourse is protesting what was a very public “slut shaming” to enforce some nasty Puritanical malcontent’s “code of conduct.”  A group of “concerned women” organized a protest as a response to Ms. Gibson’s horrible experience at being “slut-shamed”  by modesty police. The concerned ladies are calling their protest the “Bel Air Mall “Daisy Duke” SlutWalk.”

“Ok ladies – it’s time to bring out the booty shorts and crop tops (if you’re feeling it.) One gorgeous young woman was SHAMED and ASKED TO LEAVE because her shorts were “too short.” I have personally worn shorts shorter than what she wore and walked past security and police and no one said one word. It’s summertime. In South Alabama. It’s hot. WEAR WHAT YOU WANT. Don’t allow anyone to shame you for what you choose to wear. We’re banding together to support our sister in solidarity – women’s bodies are not shameful. We shouldn’t be forced to cover up because men can’t control themselves. Bring your ass (literally) and descend on Bel Air with us. Share with your friends! #SistersInSolidarity #StopShaming#WhatIWearDoesntEqualConsent

Now, although this ardent feminist author fully supports the “concerned” women rushing to defend Ms. Gibson and other women’s right to wear what they want, the choice of a name for the protest, “slut walk,” is curious. It plays directly into the narrative the religious right promotes ad nauseam; that women wearing shorts, short skirts, crop tops etc. are sluts.

For dog’s sake, feminists have been screaming about being “slut shamed” for years over how they dress, and sleazy defense attorneys have convinced juries for decades that raped women deserved what they got for “dressing like sluts.” Of course that is not the case, but the last thing women living in a misogynistic society need is other women donning “daisy Dukes” to participate in a slut walk. Women have a difficult enough time living in a burgeoning theocracy – giving the theocrats more ammunition is foolish and dangerous.

It is important to reiterate that this flagrant discrimination against women, and “slut-shaming,” although not unique, is on the rise due to Trump emboldening the faithful to use “religious liberty” to attack women.

It is worth mentioning that the modesty police are not confined to uber-religious states like Alabama. Some Americans may recall that about a year ago Speaker of the House Paul Ryan laid down some modesty rules against women who exposed their shoulders – sleeveless tops apparently violate the House’s Puritanical dress code. In July of last year a female reporter was attempting to do her job and enter the speaker’s lobby when she was told her dress wasn’t appropriate for entry. The offensive dress was of the sleeveless variety and just like in Puritanical America, a woman exposing her shoulders is “inappropriate.” It is also verboten for women to wear “sleeveless tops, sleeveless dresses, open-toed shoes or sneakers.

It is nearly impossible to believe that 21st Century American women are being subjected to Taliban-like abuse at the hands of religious extremists. And make no mistake, these assaults on women’s rights are solely the purview of religious extremists. Whether it is being evicted from a public place for their choice of attire, or being humiliated for choosing to breastfeed in a public place, or being restricted from using birth control because the religious right opposes women having “consequence free” sex, or daring to choose when to give birth; there is a war against women borne of religious zealotry. The religious right loves to demean Muslim adherents for following Sharia law, but they are on a crusade to impose their evangelical version of Sharia on American women under the banner of religious freedom. It would be considered a horrific situation in normal times, but now that the “American Taliban” have two champions running the Executive Department, America’s women are in deep trouble.

It is still a mystery why American men are sitting idly by watching passively as their mothers, girlfriends, wives, daughters, and sisters are subjected to maltreatment by what can only be defined as the American Taliban.  Today the evangelical modesty police are just evicting women from public places for not wearing family friendly attire, perhaps American men will wake up when women in their lives are stoned to death for wearing shorts, or baring their shoulders – it is what occurred under Taliban rule.

Image: Patheos

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