Considering that one of the biggest religious holidays is here, bringing with it a visit from my very religious mother, I figured I'd take this opportunity to take a stab at the subject. However, I can't take my mind off the whole Scientology thing that has everyone's panties, including mine, in a big huge wad. Have you heard the latest? Apparently, not only is a silent birth highly recommended, Katie will be strongly encouraged to remain silent for the entire first week of her child's life.
I know. Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse. The thing is, it's not the whole silence thing that really bothers me, but rather, the blatant oppression of women that Scientology, and oh wait, almost all religions (or whatever you want to call them) perpetuate. Hello. Would a woman-created religion EVER require a woman to have a silent birth let alone a silent first week of motherhood? Please.
What's interesting to me is that some people who have jumped on the "hate-Tom-Cruise-feel- sorry-for-Katie" bandwagon subscribe to a religion that continues to foster the notion that women are in one way or another less than men. Granted, the whole silence thing is more overtly crazy, but is it really any less oppressive than not allowing women to be priests or continuing to worship a male God, Lord, whoever in a book that was written by men?
I've experienced my fair share of heavy duty religion. I did the whole attend youth group, underline bible verses, pray to the Lord for good SAT scores, hate myself for having sex, and wear Evolution Sucks shirts. I lived with a staunchly religious mother who endured years of abuse and oppression and who after nearly freeing herself, got suckered into taking her abusive, alkie husband back because he accepted the lord as his savior and promised to go to church. And, on occasion, I still get the public food prayer and "the lord works in myseterious ways" comments from her.
I "converted" to Catholicism so I could get married in the Catholic church, even though I cannot even grasp the multitude of craziness going on with them. Alas, I've been a very bad Catholic and I don't have one ounce of guilt.
When I got to college, I decided that having fun and not feeling bad because the church disapproved did not go well together. I threw off my shackles, carried around a good bit of sublimated guilt and an "I'm a sinner always and forever" complex, and loathed the church and everything it stood for. After I had rid myself from all of that guilt, I hated the church for continuing to oppress women. But even more, I got pissed at women for continuing to go to church.
In theory, I understand the value of faith and religion as part of most world cultures. The idea of a higher power and an ultimate being gives people hope and meaning in their life. However, it is very hard for me to grasp how women can rationalize believing in a book that was primarily written by men, and in most interpretations, oppresses women (and other minority groups) at one level or another. So, maybe we don't buy the whole "men are the head of the household" bullshit, BUT do we still go to church and listen to a male priest tell us about what the men said about a man? Or maybe you took the trust and obey part out of your marriage vows, but did you still get married (a historically sexist act) and change your name (historically done for exchange of property - including women and slaves)?
Look. Before you go and get YOUR panties in a wad let me say this. I got married. I went to church. I believe in a higher power of some kind or at least I think I do. I married a Catholic, and technically I'm one too. I'm not saying you are bad, wrong, or not a real woman for doing any or all of those things.
What I am saying, however, is that many of us are so quick to criticize crazy Katie for subscribing to the obviously female-oppressive Scientology tenets (at least when it comes to the birthing issues) WHEN at one level or another some of us still subscribe to Western religion that is male-dominated and Western religious vales that dominate our societal norms (i.e. holidays, marriage, etc.). We criticize her choice, and yet, what about ours?
So, Happy Easter folks. Let me hear what you have to say.