Tuesday, October 30, 2012



While the eastern part of Canada and the U.S. await the ravages of Hurricane Sandy we are reminded that what affects the people in these regions affects us all.  We are all connected as everything is connected, Global Warming, Climate Change, Politics and Religion.

 I was raised in the very bosom of Christian evangelical fundamentalism. I know that the current vicious weather patterns of Climate Change will be regarded as “God’s Will” by this very large group that is increasingly trying to take over The US and Canada. They believe that whatever happens is “God’s will”.  However, before a live audience last Tuesday, Indiana Republican for US Senate, Richard Mourdock said something so bizarre that even I was taken aback.  He said: “Life is that gift from God.  And I think when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something God intended to happen”. 

And Mourdock has not retracted this statement.  Nor has Mitt Romney, US presidential candidate, disowned him. This puts both Mitt Romney and Richard Mourdock on the same intellectual level as their Republican Senate candidate from Missouri Todd Akin, who believes that women can automatically shut down sperm from entering their fallopian tubes when raped if they didn’t really want to be raped, that is, if their rape was “legitimate”.  But I find Richard Mourdock’s attempted explanation the day after the debate the most revealing.   What exactly did Mourdock say at his press conference the following day in his attempt to explain his position more fully?

He said, and I quote: “I abhor rape. Certainly I did not intend to suggest that God wants rape, that God pushes people to rape.”

No? Fundamentalist Christians are usually well versed in the Old Testament of the Bible. The book of Numbers recounts how Moses, after defeating the city of Midian, instructed his commanders:

“So kill all the male children.  Kill also all the women who have slept with a man.  Spare the lives only of the young girls who have not slept with a man and keep them for yourselves”. (Numbers 31:17-18)

And where did Moses get his instructions from?  Read on:

“Moses and Eleazar the priest did as YAHWEH  had ordered Moses.” (Numbers 31:31-35)

And who is Yahweh of the Old Testament?  God, that’s who.

The Old Testament’s stories of the rape of women and little girls (and there are others, equally as shocking) are part and parcel of Christian and Jewish tradition of recognizing the laws of the Old Testaments, laws that are also recognized by other patriarchal religions.  My thesis is that this Biblical background is exactly where fundamentalist men take their cues on women and climate.  The earth, like women, is to be controlled; nature bent to men’s will.  If the earth and all life on it suffer and even disappears, it doesn’t matter, this is “God’s will”.

And need I remind anybody that our prime minister is also an evangelical fundamentalist Christian? And so are many in his cabinet? And that Prime Minister Harper intends to sneak around his promise not to open the abortion debate by letting his ministers do it?  Will anybody be surprised when the abortion issue winds up in the Supreme Court of Canada? And guess who will be waiting there for the issue to appear?  Why, the right wing judges that Harper has appointed which will give them the majority on the bench.  And guess how the right wing judges will vote?  They will vote in “God’s will.”

 Extreme weather patterns are the result of collective decisions made by the banks, corporations, militaries, the oil and gas industry and university and government “sell outs”. When fundamentalist religions bless these crimes and deem  them “God’s will” they seek to numb us and dumb us down to accept any imaginable atrocity brought about by the sexist, racist and economic thievery actions of men who have lied, cheated, and bribed their way into power.  Women everywhere are in the most severe jeopardy from these men (and their female clones).  We must resist and find the strength to weather the storms.  For our children’s sake.  And we will.

Monday, October 22, 2012



According to consensus of most earth scientists of all stripes, along with what our own individual experience on earth is telling us humans, Global Warming is the very most pressing threat we humans are facing.  Yet Global Warming didn’t even make it to the microphone in the presidential debates between President Obama and Governor Romney. And our own prime minister doesn’t believe there is such a thing as Global Warming.  

 The alpha males in charge of global finance (and their token female cohorts) along with the world’s militaries are not interested in Global Warming, either.   If push comes to shove and food and water are scarce for the rest of us, well, they will have theirs.  They think they can depend on their own wealth to shelter them from climate change.   The end result is a conglomerate of ruling parties of men who consider the earth and its treasures not as a living system, but as huge individual commodity fields that are up for grabs. Bad news for all living things, especially children.

 So what agencies presently exist anywhere that can demand an immediate end to the constant degradation of the earth in pursuit of oil, gas, coal, diamonds, uranium, etc.?  In my opinion, the only group large enough, and who can be angry enough at the effect of Global Warming on children are women. 

 Yes, I realize not all women are mothers, but all mothers are women and all women have or have had mothers. And yes, some of my best friends are men and I have worked with wonderful men on environmental and social issues who love this earth as most women do.  But these enlightened men are in the minority. There are too few of them.  My fear is that any change coming through the patriarchal institutions of government, with mostly misogynist men still in charge, will be too late.

 It is ordinary women who make this world go round; who do most of the poo work both at home and abroad (paid work).   And there are millions of us. The only thing preventing us from rising up en mass and confronting the powerful men of this world who make all of the decisions affecting Global Warming is we don’t think we are strong enough.  We have been taught through religion, myth and custom that it is not women’s responsibility to make the important decisions that could actually stop the slide of the earth into oblivion.

  I argue that it is our responsibility because no other group is large enough, or angry enough about climate change to do it.  Besides, women created the human race.

The study of the origins of humans by those in Anthropology,   Archeology, and Paleontology strongly suggested that humans gradually evolved from ape men, or man apes (Peking man, Java man, Neanderthal man, Homo erectus, etc.)  However as yet no creature has been found who would classify as the missing link between Homo erectus (walking man) and Homo sapiens (thinking man). So there has been a big hole in these theories.  But some geneticists from the University of California at Berkeley began wondering if the recently mapped human genome might help.

In the 198 7 issue of NATURE magazine (the most prestigious science magazine in the  world) appeared a paper written by three geneticists, Rebecca L Cain, Mark Stoneking and Allen C. Wilson.  The paper described their research  using  samples of women’s DNA (mitochondrial DNA, only women have this)  from various countries around the world (for a history of this research written for lay people read IN SEARCH OF EVE by Michael H. Brown).  The geneticists came to the conclusion that the first anatomically correct human (Homo sapiens) was born approximately two hundred thousand years ago in Africa and was female.  

  When sexually mature, this first human mother passed on her human genes to both sons and daughters through her mitochondrial DNA.  However only her daughters could pass the human gene on.  In this way, over a period of time, while sons could not themselves pass on the human gene, they were also the beneficiaries of the bigger brains their mothers gave them.   But after the first little flurry in the news, the geneticists findings just dropped from sight although they have been repeated by other geneticists with more or less the same results.  My point?  Ancestral women created the human race through our maternal DNA.  Will the human race end with us?  Climate change will kill most forms of life, including our children. What to do?  Continued…

Saturday, October 13, 2012



Two women have captured my heart in the last few days, Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan and the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. I’m sure that most of you have heard about Malaya.  She is only fourteen years old.  She lies in a medical induced coma trying to survive gunshot wounds to the head and neck.  She was shot point blank by the Taliban because she attended school and spoke out for the rights of other girls to attend school.  If she lives, the Taliban has promised to try to murder her again. The bright spot in this, if there is one, is that Malala’s family is supporting her and her actions against the murderous threats of the Taliban.  Another bright spot occurred in the Australian parliament recently.  Prime Minister Julia Gillard gave the most passionate speech condemning misogyny in government I have ever heard.  Check out Gillard’s speech attacking Tony Abbott  (opposition) for his  sexist  actions and remarks in government on Youtube if you haven’t already.  Julia Gillard is spell binding. The video has gone viral.

 BC MP Elizabeth May and Premier Pauline Marois of Quebec are two Canadian women leaders trying to move governments to embrace a more egalitarian value system.  Their efforts to increase respect for women, kids and the environment are of course severely hampered by our prime minister who belongs to a Christian evangelical fundamentalist church.  The pastor and congregation of this church are heavily steeped in Biblical prophecy which they take literally.   In my view this in turn fosters the belief that it doesn’t matter much about the environment anyway, or the needs of the poor, who are primarily women and children because it’s all going to end soon as we are in the End Times .  According to scripture the End Times precedes the Second Coming of Christ.

Mary Daly, international Catholic theologian. Philosopher and feminist (she died two years ago) suggested in her book “Beyond God the Father” that the Second Coming so anticipated by Christian fundamentalists might be hugely surprised when it gets here.  Daly suggests the Second Coming is really the “Be-Coming” of women in leadership roles demanding equality for all humans along with care for the environment.   In other words, Daly thinks women will bring the end of patrarichary. In the meantime we have male Conservative politicians who are trying to bring back the debate on when life begins, which is of course, the angle they hope might eventually outlaw abortion.  The question of when life begins for a single human egg is still fuzzy, but one thing is becoming clearer all the time, and that is how, when and where the first truly human person (Homo sapiens sapiens) was born.

Homo means man, of course, and Homo sapiens sapiens means thinking man (to differentiate modern humans from Neanderthal types).  When these words are strung together they mean the human man, hence the term mankind.   Women are supposed to be included in this description.  The thought and image of women as subordinate to the male simply became part of religious thinking which eventually turned into civil law in Europe.  Remember Adam and Eve? This myth is deeply embedded in at least half of the world’s brains, both male and female. But the entire world is going to have to rethink this Biblical myth, and other creation stories,  because according to the geneticists at University of California, Berkeley, when Eve was born there was no Adam.  The very first Homo sapiens sapiens wasn’t a guy at all…she was a baby girl.  And she was a mutant, so to speak.  That is, she mutated in her mother’s womb to become the first truly human being, one that differentiated her from all the other man-apes (and women-apes).  According to these geneticists this happened approximately two hundred thousand years ago in Africa and all of the humans on earth today are descended from this first human female child.  But after the rise of patriarchy female children were treated brutally as property of the men; this is still happening in many countries.  Let us center our minds and hearts on the life and death struggle our little sister and daughter Malala Yousafzai is waging. More later about how and when the geneticists made this discovery of the first human.  Oh, and this video was just sent to me from Silver Donald Cameron. Check it out, too, if you have time.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012



Whenever I come face to face with a woman in a burka, or even see a photo or newscast depicting women in burkas, with their faces and bodies covered with swaths of black material I emotionally recoil, not from the women themselves, but for what this dress symbolizes for me.  I was raised in southern Louisiana and seventy-five years ago (I am now eighty-four) the population of southern Louisiana was At least a third Catholic.  Catholic nuns swathed in black from head to foot were a familiar sight.   As a child the nuns scared me.  I asked my more distant cousins who attended a Catholic school and were taught by nuns if the black robed nuns didn’t scare them, too, or at least didn’t they find it scary to have to deal with so many nuns in the enclosed area of a small school?  At first, they admitted, they were afraid of the nuns, too.  But after a time my cousins adapted.

But I never did. While I didn’t attend Catholic school  I still felt there was something very wrong about adult women being wrapped up in swaths of black material with only a bit of white around their faces as if they were already dead.  And of course my own families’ religious affiliation with evangelical fundamentalism thought that Catholics were probably doomed anyway, because they worshiped Mary.  I couldn’t help this indoctrination as I was only a child. But as a very old atheist adult (I consider myself to be a deep ecologist) I think my childish reaction to the nuns was simply a deep feeling, or intuition, that when women are compelled to wear such extreme total camouflage of their bodies, a camouflage that is composed of materials as black as night, with or without a face covering, something very strange is going on.

There is a temptation to believe that we Western women would not put up with such patriarchal religious attitudes in the present.  And after all, many, if not most Catholic nuns now dress in comfortable, regular women’s clothing.  But I wonder.  The thought nags…can any woman say, regardless of where she lives believe that she is free from the attitudes that patriarchal religions represent and still foster?  The Muslim world is being torn apart by religious strife that began as a thirst for political freedom; the Catholic Church will eventually have to bite the bullet and allow women to become priests as there are fewer male takers (for whatever reasons).  And our own Conservative government just yesterday morning announced that they will no longer pay for any kind of religious ministers except Christian chaplains to go into Canadian prisons.

Of course Mr. Harper is himself a member of an evangelical fundamentalist Christian church. Believing as he must as a member of this church, that all non-believers in a literal interpretation of the Bible are doomed,  why would he be concerned that other religions have equal access to counsel Canadian prisoners?  In our prisons First Nation prisoners are often the majority.  Many First Nation prisoners are trying to recapture their own ancient beliefs and practices with the help of Elders who come into the prisons to teach and counsel. From my own experience in the women’s prisons in British Columbia the Elders who came in to hold healing circles and teach were extremely important to many women who desired to break away from the dangerous and degrading lives they had previously known.  Will these women also be left without the Elders to teach them and give them hope?

The Chinese are fond of quoting the Chinese proverb that “women hold up half the sky”.  But if you look at the rows and rows of men on news reports making the important decisions in the Chinese government there is not a woman is sight.  Ditto the Arab world.  And the Western World?

Well, some  Western Women are out there all right…Angela Merkel , Chancellor of Germany,  Hillary Clinton, US Sec. of State, (what a disappointment) and of course our own provincial premier, Christy Clark.  However, all three of these women are indistinguishable from right wing men in their beliefs, attitudes and the way they govern.   They teach what they have been taught by their alpha males…capitalism, corporatism and competition that ultimately lead to death dealing violence of the earth and whole human and animal populations.

And while Western women are making enormous strides in numerous areas, women as a group haven’t come forth with a new vision of how to arrange societies that might retard or stop the destruction of the environment. My own theory is that even though women may never darken the door of a church, synagogue, mosque or temple, the black robes of patriarchal religions are still there in women’s psyches dragging us down, keeping us from developing our own vision of a just society.  These black robes also instill fear in women, a subtle fear that prevents us from calling a spade a spade.  And besides that, we’re nice.  We love our own men.  The attempt to even try to throw off thousands of years of male rule makes women either laugh at the thought, or cry. Or even fall back on patriarchal beliefs that women are weaker than men, not as intelligent (made from Adam’s rib?) and are after all, the second sex.  Yet women deep down know better and there have been recent scientific discoveries that put these patriarchal beliefs forever to rest.  Next time.