Gender Discrimination and Evangelical Christians

Joel Northrup and Cassy Herkelman 2011 Wrestling Competition (Iowa)

Evangelical literalists in Iowa, like their cult members everywhere, pick and chose, selectively, what they will believe.  Joel Northrup, defaulted on their first-round match rather than face a girl, later claiming that his religion prohibited him from treating a girl like a boy:  “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Cassy and Megan and their accomplishments. However, wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times. As a matter of conscience and my faith I do not believe that it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner. It is unfortunate that I have been placed in a situation not seen in most other high school sports in Iowa.” (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/varsitytimesinsider/2011/02/iowa-wrestler-defaults-rather-than-face-girl-in-state-tournament.html; cf. A second girl at the same tournament did get a chance to complete.  Bettendorf freshman Logan Ryan pinned her in 52 seconds, and said afterward that he never thought twice about treating the match like any other: http://qctimes.com/news/state-and-regional/iowa/b67d7904-3aaf-11e0-82db-001cc4c03286.html)

Like Muslim extremists, Joel Northrup twisted his bible to suit his psychological needs for an excuse from pulling back. Joel elected to forget the biblical verse (Galatians 3:28):  “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (ουκ ενι ιουδαιος ουδε ελλην ουκ ενι δουλος ουδε ελευθερος ουκ ενι αρσεν και θηλυ παντες γαρ υμεις εις εστε εν χριστω ιησου)–which is matched in the Old Testament by Joel 2:29.  Even contemporary commentators have written: “One sex is not to be regarded as the special favorite of heaven, and the other to be excluded. Christianity thus elevates the female sex to an equality with the male, on the most important of all interests,” which Northrup’s church ignores and his pastor neglects. Instead, like most evangelical extremists and other radical Christians, they concentrate on the Old Testament, the majority of which is fiction or incorporating legends and histories from other lands, such as Babylon. To this end we read in Esther 1:20 that all women will “respect their husbands”–but not be subservient nor silent in their presence.  The writers of 1 Peter 3:1 added a twist to the letters to the churches now whose various authors are lumped together as “St. Paul”: Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives  (ομοιως αι γυναικες υποτασσομεναι τοις ιδιοις ανδρασιν ινα και ει τινες απειθουσιν τω λογω δια της των γυναικων αναστροφης ανευ λογου κερδηθησωνται as a means to convert the reluctant males, a task normally left to senior church men, which is why one of the ancient churches elected a woman as its bishop [2 John 1:1: ο πρεσβυτερος εκλεκτη κυρια και τοις τεκνοις αυτης ους εγω αγαπω εν αληθεια και ουκ εγω μονος αλλα και παντες οι εγνωκοτες την αληθειαν, cp. 1 John 1:13: ασπαζεται σε τα τεκνα της αδελφης σου της εκλεκτης αμην; ref. Arthur Frederick Ide, Woman as Priest, Bishop, and Laity in the early Catholic Church to 440 A.D. : with a translation and critical commentary on Romans 16 and other relevant scripture and patrological writings on women in the early Christian church (Dallas: IHP, 1984; cp. Arthur Frederick Ide, God’s girls : ordination of women in the early Christian & Gnostic churches.  Garland [Tex.] : Tangelwüld, 1986, c1985).

It is distressing to read the evangelical’s fliers that describe women as “the weaker vessel” (1 Peter 3:7 {the Greek reads: οι ανδρες ομοιως συνοικουντες κατα γνωσιν ως ασθενεστερω σκευει τω γυναικειω απονεμοντες τιμην ως και συγκληρονομοι χαριτος ζωης εις το μη εκκοπτεσθαι τας προσευχας υμων} [English Standard Version]–intimating, and sometimes directly stating, that woman is incomplete without a man and is less than a man (New International [Protestant] Version).  Ephesians 5:28 goes even further with this insult by proclaiming “In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself” (ουτως οφειλουσιν οι ανδρες αγαπαν τας εαυτων γυναικας ως τα εαυτων σωματα ο αγαπων την εαυτου γυναικα εαυτον αγαπα) that it is tantamount of self-love (narcissism).

History has not always held that men were superior to women. Most civilizations were matrilineal and matriarchal, with women being superior to men in every area: from the military to agriculture, law to education, and so forth.  On the contrary, ancient civilizations were more equitable and practiced equality long before the ancient tribe of the Apiru from India invaded the Palestinian lands of Cana. No where was this more graphically seen than in ancient Egypt.

Gender-Neutral Sports in ancient Egypt 3000 BCE

The Stela of Amenophis II in the vicinity of the great Sphinx in Giza shows men and women in sports together, each seeking the title win without regard to the gender of their opponents. The men are strong, and radiate a muscular vigour, while the ladies are slender, and redolent with femininity—and both were competitors–each using his or her particular strengths and cunning to best the other and win the praise of the pharaoh and the crowds.  It has a unique mural, not only because of its historical date nearly 5000 years ago (3000 BCE), but also through its social implications, for it depicts the Pharaoh himself, Zoser the Great, the founder of the third dynasty participating in the running program of the Heb Sed festival, as a symbol of the significance of physical fitness of the Ancient Egyptians, and in competition with women.  This was repeated even with

Hatshepsut at Karnak

Queens, such as on a wall of her sanctuary in the Karnak Temple, where Queen Hatshepsut (1479 – 1458 BCE, the daughter of King Tuthmosis I and Queen Ahmose) of the eighteenth dynasty had herself represented in a similar attitude in the Heb Sed.

The diminution of woman began with the march of the Greeks–who were vanquished in battle several times by the famous women warriors: the Amazons.  Ancient Greek theology and history that cannot be fully substantiated are filled with tales of the Amazons and their exploits, love affairs and battles with what became immortalized as Olympian gods like Zeus, Ares and Hera.  Yet we also read of

Ancient Greek vase depicting Amazon Warriors

Amazon warriors who fought and died in the Trojan war.  Homer, in his Iliad (8th-7th century BCE) and Hippocrates (5th century BCE) speculated over or wrote of these fierce fighting women, as did Greek historian Herodotus (5th century BCE) who described a group of female warriors who lost to the Greeks at the battle of Thermodon. Herodotus’ Amazons were taken prisoner and put on ships, but overwhelmed and killed the Greek crew.  Herodotus further noted that the Sarmatians were said to be the offsprings of Scythians who had mated with Amazons and that their female descendants “have continued from that day to the present to observe their ancient [Amazon] customs, frequently hunting on horseback with their husbands; in war taking the field; and wearing the very same dress as the men” Moreover, said Herodotus, “No girl shall wed till she has killed a man in battle.” Hippocrates commented: “They [Sarmatian women] have no right breasts…for while they are yet babies their mothers make red-hot a bronze instrument constructed for this very purpose and apply it to the right breast and cauterize it, so that its growth is arrested, and all its strength and bulk are diverted to the right shoulder and right arm.”

Both Herodotus (Histories viii, 87-88f) and Hippocrates accounts inform us the Sarmatians took interest in turning their women into strong-armed huntresses and fighters. None was as weak or stagnant-minded as Joel Northrup, and archaeological materials seem to confirm Sarmatian women’s active role in military operation and social life. Burial of armed Sarmatian women comprise large percent of the military burial in the group occupy the central position and appear the be the richest.

Ancient Greek theology describes the Amazons as descendants of the god of war, Ares, and the sea-nymph, Harmonia. They worshipped Artemis, goddess of the hunt. Amazon society was stringently matriarchal. Males were of no use other than for mating purposes and as slaves, doing work that was traditionally in Athenian and Spartan society performed by women.  Male babies were usually given away at birth to neighbouring tribes.  It was the patriarchs of ancient Greece who gave the foundation for future Christian misogynism and gyneophobia when education became a hybrid of superstition and scholarship stumbled downward into rote memorization of unreliable texts considered inspired or even written by a god no one had seen.  This may not have happened if the Greeks had lost their final battle against Xerxes of Persia.

Serving Xerxes at the Battle of Salamis 480 BCE

For a long while it seemed as if Xerxes would conquer the world.  When Xerxes went to war against Greece (480 BC – 479 BC), Artemisia led her powerful ships and helped Xerxes defeat the Greeks in the beginning phases of naval battle of Salamis. The Greeks offered a reward of 10,000 drachmas for capturing Artemisia, but no one succeeded in winning the prize.

The world would have been better off if Xerxes had won the war against the Greek city states, for he offered the vanquished their lives and an opportunity to work within his expanding empire–unlike Machiavelli’s Prince who argued for the slaughter of his opponents, celebrating that “the end justifies the means.”  It was Xerxes book that Thomas Jefferson read when he penned most of the Constitution of the USA, and much of what Xerxes wrote came from an exemplary woman: Artemisia who was the ruler of Halicarnassus (near today’s Bodrum, Turkey) and the world’s greatest military admiral. At that time Halicarnassus was a part of the Persian empire ruled by Xerxes (Kheshayar Shah I).  Both the admiral and the emperor determined that peace would never survive if there was slavery or all members of the empire were forced to worship a particular deity or deities.  All citizens of Persia were considered equal under the law known as the Cyrus Cylinder (Law of Cyrus the Great, now known as the first human rights document ever written, for Cyrus freed 42,000 Jews held in slavery in Babylon) and religion was separated from government affairs and matters of state: politics.

Concerning Artemisia, Herodotus wrote: “Of the other lower officers I shall make no mention, since no necessity is laid on me; but I must speak of a certain leader named Artemisia, whose participation in the attack upon Greece, notwithstanding that she was a woman, moves me to a special wonderment. She had obtained sovereign power after the death of her husband; and, though she had now a grown-up son, yet her brave spirit and manly daring sent her forth to the war, when no need was required of her to undertake this adventure. Her name, as I said, was Artemisia, and she was the daughter of Lygdamis; by race she was on her father’s side a Halicarnassian, though through her mother a Cretan. She ruled over the Halicarnassians, the men of Cos, of Nisyrus, and of Calydna; and the five Triremes (Battle Ships) which she furnished to the Persians were, next to the Sidonian, the most famous ships in the fleet. She likewise gave to Xerxes sound counsel far greater than any of his other allies. Now the cities over which I have mentioned that she bore sway over were one and all Dorian; for the Halicarnassians were colonists from Troezen, while the remainders were from Epidaurus. Thus much concerning the sea-force, Artemisia was a great asset to Xerxes.”

Access to the Eternal Flame in Iran locked by Islam since 7th century--with only the locks being changed on the doors to the old Empire

This lasted until Islam invaded Persia.  The Muslims brought with them, in the name of Allah, bloodshed, tyranny, and slavery of the masses. The Muslims undid five thousand years of an emerging democracy, a love of people, and a heritage far richer than ever crafted in Arabia. With Islam came the incorporation of many stories and legends from the Jewish and Christian bible, and while lip-service was paid to women and the rights of women, men controlled all and only men were allowed to have more than one wife, while no woman was allowed to have more than one husband. It was but a short time after the invasion of Persia that women became increasingly under the control of men “to protect women” even from “the prying eyes of other men”–so much so that in Afghanistan and what would become Pakistan, women were forced under the Burka veil and into obscurity so that no man would be too close to any woman. Joel Northrup would have been delighted to abide in this company that protects women by treating them like fragile porcelain and rare crystal–and not his peers in total ignorance of the biblical story taken from ancient Babylon that woman was created not from the head of man to rule over him, nor from the feet of man to be beneath him, but from his rib to be beside him as an equal. Joel Northrup proved conclusively the day he withdrew from the Iowa state wrestling tournament that evangelicalism and its ignorance of the written word had taken over his life in the same way that the radical religious right took over the state of Iowa and disgraced its heritage–distancing itself from democracy in its full definition.


One comment to Gender Discrimination and Evangelical Christians

  • Cesar Cordova  says:

    Hi Art, thanks for your message is very good, but as a human being I think that at this stage of life a century and still continue to consider these forms of life, clear this part of your text:

    “There is neither Jew nor, Greek slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus ” (ουκ ενι ιουδαιος ουδε ελλην ουκ ενι δουλος ουδε ελευθερος ουκ ενι αρσεν και θηλυ παντες γαρ υμεις εις εστε εν χριστω ιησου ) ”

    It seems impossible that there are people who still is under the domain of belief, absurd and intolerant, but even more amazing that there are people who allow these humiliations, but there is a popular saying: “Everyone has what they want, ” apparently does not will change until people realize and raise their voices in protest and say and a “Stop” to such humiliation, embarrassment is that I feel as a human being.

Leave a reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.