Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Morning Quotes: Sikivu Hutchinson

“...the contradictions between American secularism and religion have produced a schizoid tension in the U.S., whereby religious fundamentalism and intolerance for secular thought have become the norm. When it’s practiced in the non-Western world, Americans routinely brand this kind of propaganda as backward and extremist.

Yet, in this, the most swaggeringly liberal humanist of all nations, ‘coming out’ as an atheist in a culture that parades religious dogma as a substitute for true morality may be the final frontier.”

“The scorched earth culture wars that characterized the Reagan-Bush and George W. Bush eras made "secular" a dirty word. Secularism was blamed for everything from abortion, teen pregnancy, divorce, pedophilia and political radicalism. In this latest iteration, secularism was once again code speech for being anti-American, un-patriotic and amoral.”

“The supposed basic moral precepts of Judeo- Christian theology -- love for one’s neighbor, tolerance, doing unto others, non-judgment, etc. -- are certainly not exclusive to religious doctrine, while the hierarchies, persecution and intolerance based on race, gender, sexuality and ideology that religious doctrine breeds effectively negate the moral preeminence that organized religion presumes.”

“How many times have predators and hardcore career criminals been given a figurative pass or viewed as above suspicion because they were churchgoing Christians doing the Lord's (dirty) work?”

“The Bible’s sanction of violence against women (e.g., rape and forced marriage) provides theological justification for viewing and treating women like property. If women are deemed to be second class citizens in scripture, and consigned to helpmate roles in the church, why wouldn’t male clergy act with impunity when it comes to sex and power? And if the culture of compulsory heterosexuality demands that men hew to rigid gender norms, it stands to reason that some closeted gay clergy will abuse their power by sexually abusing young male parishioners. Indeed, the heterosexist cult of the exalted pastor is based on the belief that “real men” should be inscrutable in their exercise of power and authority. Thus, the religious sexual predator may rationalize his behavior as being “ordained” by God. God confers him with ultimate authority and moral license. “His” ways are part of a divine moral order that mere laypeople don’t have access to.”

“Having learned zero from the global pedophile priest scourge, our stridently Judeo-Christian culture still routinely uses the assignation man or woman "of God” to shut down debate or consideration of how religion and religious authority gives license to those who act immorally.”

“The solipsism of the prosperity gospel as vehicle for commodity capitalism mires African-American communities in an endless spiral of dependence on the supernatural.”

Sikivu Hutchinson is the author of Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars (Infidel Books, February 2011).