Tuesday, May 12, 2009

On the Religious Right's Selective Reading of Scripture: Lot and His Daughters, Abraham and Sarah

And, earlier today as I was thinking through the themes from the biblical book of Genesis about which I just posted, I happened on the following passage in a journal of mine in August 1992, as I began work at a Catholic college whose culture is noxiously dominated by the patriarchal perspective I critique in the posting I just uploaded:

Isn't it funny (in all the senses of the word: hilarious but grim, dark) how fundamentalists read the Genesis story of Sodom and Gomorrah to justify social oppression of gays, and then ignore the ending of the same chapter, where Lot's daughters get him drunk and then sleep with him to become pregnant? Or Genesis 20, where Abraham yet again fobs Sarah off on someone--Abimelech--as his sister?

Funny: a passage that doesn't even mean destruction of gays gets undeserved attention, while incest, lying, male oppression of women all are passed over in silence--admittedly, and this is key, by the scriptures themselves. Fundamentalists will rant and rave re: a purported, unsubstantiable condemnation of gays, and not the other passages.

Which is to say that American fundamentalism is driven by hatred of women, and sees no problems in the Lot and Abraham stories, even when they represent the very dark side of patriarchy.

Clearly, we need some norm outside the texts themselves to judge them either moral or immoral.