Submitting Graciously to Stupidity

When Jeremiah Wright said that the U.S. has a history of violence against innocent people–the kind of thing that fits the textbook definition of the term, “terrorism”–and that this history can, at least in part, explain the attacks against us on September 11, 2001, he was excoriated in the press and by the public. How dare he suggest that the cause for those attacks was anything other than the “evil” of the persons who perpetrated the deed. How dare he ascribe a motive other than fanaticism, or perhaps the fact that they “hate our freedoms,” or some such thing. “Stop blaming the victim” was the hue and cry from coast to coast. To say what Wright said, to hear most folks tell it, was to demonstrate that one “hates America.”

Given this deep commitment to placing blame squarely on the shoulders of those who engage in acts of violence, and not “passing-the-buck” as Wright is said to have done, I now wait with baited breath to see how long it will take the American public, and especially those conservatives who excoriated Wright, to condemn Southern Baptist bozo–and professor of Christian theololgy–Bruce Ware, who announced on Sunday that husbands are occasionally abusive because their wives refuse to submit sufficiently to their authority. That’s right: women are bringing those beatings on themselves.

According to Ware, when women refuse to submit to men within the family, those men respond in one of two ways: either by being abusive, or alternately by becoming passive, and adopting a pathetic, “yes Dear, whatever you say Dear,” attitude, which, to hear Ware tell it is virtually as bad as becoming a batterer, as both are evidence of sinfulness on the part of the husband, who is failing to assert his authority in a firm but loving way.

Ware, whose fundamentalism pushes the already-stretched boundaries of the term insanity to new limits, explains that it’s all Eve’s fault, of course, and that ever since that original female sinner, women have had a “desire to have their way,” rather than obeying and accepting their roles as bearers of children and homemakers. Indeed, Ware went on to say that wives who refuse to submit to their husbands are actually acting in full rebellion against God, who, in Ware’s rendering becomes the original male chauvinist by virtue of his eons-long grudge over that whole apple in the Garden thing.

That John McCain and Barack Obama are actually both campaigning for the votes of wack-jobs like this should give any thinking person pause. That neither man can call bullshit on this kind of silliness–though they both likely think such theological lunacy to be worthy of condemnation–suggests how much the religious fanatics of the far-right have hijacked the nation’s political culture. That any candidate would seek out the votes of people who can believe such woman-hating nonsense–or worse, that millions of otherwise functional people can actually believe such tripe in the first place–suggests just how far over to the anti-intellectual side of things the nation has gone, or perhaps has always been.

What does it say about this country that agnostics are looked down upon–people who merely aren’t smug enough to declare that they know for certain the existence of a creator, or that creator’s will–while those who excuse the abuse of women as punishment for sin are taken seriously? If someone says they just don’t know whether or not there is a God, that person will be seen as a dangerous and inferior being, with whom you wouldn’t want to associate were you a candidate for public office. But if someone says the Earth was created in six literal days, just a few thousand years ago, by a bearded white man in the sky, whose hatred of mankind caused him to destroy everyone who wasn’t on that ark with Noah, and who endorsed everything from incest, to rape, to executing disobedient children, to mass murder of one’s enemies in the holy book of his rendering, that’s just fine. And if you’re running for office, you will be required to curry favor with that kind of person.

I dunno. Perhaps there is a God, and one with a pretty sick sense of humor at that. How else, after all, could one nation get populated with so many religious troglodytes as we have here, except as a curse from a higher power? Surely, natural selection, which tends to winnow out the genes for extreme cognitive dysfunction, can offer no explanation for such a phenomena as this.

Leave a Reply