And we deserve whatever happens to us.
By now, you may have already read about Maddi Runkles, the Maryland high school senior whose christian school is not letting her walk for graduation as punishment for getting pregnant.
Well, of course they’re not.
A story: in my tiny, substandard christian school, in my senior year, fully half of my female classmates had pregnancy scares. But it turned out that none of them were pregnant, and none got caught. In our sophomore year, S wasn’t so lucky. She was dating J, the class bad boy, and the rumor was going around that they had gone “all the way.” Had they? Honestly, I don’t know. I *do* know that S and J got called into the principal’s office, and their parents got called in, too – and that only S got expelled.
Another story: a dear college friend, an accountant with a “big four firm” background and nearing 30, announced that she was “finally” (her words) getting married. None of us were all that fond of her finance – he was controlling and religiously doctrinaire – but she was happy, so we were happy for her. Several months later, she shamefacedly announced that she was pregnant. Remember, this is a well-employed, financially-independent, already-engaged woman with a college degree in her late 20s.
The day of the wedding, the minister spent the majority of the ceremony haranguing the visibly pregnant bride (and the groom) about their “sin.” Of course the reception was a dry one, so the appalled college crew repaired to our car in the parking lot, where we’d set up a full bar in the trunk, to plot if there was any way to salvage the JOY OF THE DAY AND OF THE IMPENDING BIRTH from this catastrophe. While taking turns swigging from a bottle of vodka, we came up with the idea that, after we’d all eaten and the reception was as swingin’ as a dry event was likely to get, we’d commandeer the mic and announce that, to celebrate the doubly happy occasion of their marriage and their SOON TO BE BORN, BLESSING FROM GOD BABY, we’d be collecting one potential boy’s name and one potential girl’s name from each table, at which point we’d draw one of each, and the selection would be binding, so maximum creativity was encouraged. Several tables, stone-faced, refused to participate, but most got into the spirit of things and it lightened the mood, at least somewhat, from Imminent Stoning of Hester Prynne to Wedding Reception, No Booze Edition. (Later, when the baby died shortly after birth, several wedding guests were known to comment that it was God’s punishment, and no, I am not making a sick joke.)
For evangelicals, all women are forever tainted with Eve’s “original sin,” so any and everything bad that ever happens to us is 100% our fault.
Husband raped you? That’s actually not possible, since any time he wants sex, it’s your wifely duty to submit to him, no exceptions.
Husband beating you? Also your fault, for being insufficiently submissive (that is actual, verbatim “pastoral counsel” given to women in the church I was raised in).
Acquaintance or stranger raped you? You must’ve done something to tempt your attacker, and he couldn’t control himself because of your short skirt or your smile or the fact that you talked to him or you didn’t talk to him or rode the bus or walked down the street or were In Public (on In Private) While Female.
Does that sound oddly like the way women are viewed and treated in repressive Islamic regimes? It should – it comes from an identical mindset.
Maddi is apparently suing to be allowed to participate in her graduation ceremony. That’s a good first step in standing up for herself, but I hope it *is* only the first step out the door of a worldview that is based on hatred of women and has absolutely nothing to offer us.
Image found here.