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I’m not intentionally making this into a feminist blog, but holy cow, stuff keeps happening. Remember what I was saying about zucchini? The Religious Right is like the zucchini of the “religious news that deserves mockery” garden.

I don’t normally pick on Catholics too much, but this Catholic guy deserves a call-out. Raylan Alleman thinks that women should not go to college and has written a big long list of why you should not let your of-age, legally-adult daughters make this choice. It’s bad, you see. They might get all educated and think critically, and won’t become wives and mothers. Plus they might have sex and forever sully themselves.

Speaking as an ex-Christian, it’s always immediately suspicious to me when right-wing Christian men begin pontificating on some aspect of women’s rights being bad, but it’s especially suspicious when they start equating education with evil like Alleman does. He genuinely thinks that when a woman gets educated, she gets steered totally wrong. She gets all sinful. She stops being obedient. She refuses to fulfill her “god”-given role in a man’s life. She doesn’t dance to the tune. She doesn’t pay the piper. Oh, and college is expensive–so it’s such a waste to send a daughter to one when she’d just use the opportunity to husband-hunt (as he explains in the comments), when you could more constructively use that money to focus on the menfolk getting as good an education as possible so they can support their famblees (I guess Alleman means that parents should subsidize their sons-in-law?), since these ignorant, uneducated daughters have no chance whatsoever of finding a living-wage job and are therefore pushed into dependence on a man.

Naturally, the idea of an independent woman gets the most attention from Alleman. His ilk have been pushing the idea of paid work being soooooo harrrrrrd and unpleasant for centuries–like it’s “beneath” women to work and earn their way or be capable of doing so. I wonder who’s fooled? I’m sure not. If it were that bad, men wouldn’t be wanting to stop women from doing it. Women have gotten the shit end of the stick work-wise for ever since someone figured out that girls are different from boys. If men really thought childcare and housework were so glamorous and wonderful, they’d have taken those jobs away from women eons ago. The “it’s so tough and harrrrrd to be a one-percenter” talk doesn’t fly.

Hell, the fact that men lose their jobs sometimes is seen as a sterling opportunity to punish women who have gotten those educations and job skills–if a wife works (and don’t forget, all women in Alleman’s world are straight and want to get married and have kids, which flies in the face of the fact that there are now more unmarried people than married, that 20% of women don’t have kids, or that a good percentage of women are not sexually oriented toward men), then her benevolent slave-master husband might rely upon her too much, so she can’t be made competent because then he must do his job because he has no safety net or backup. She must be a useless, twittering little bird, because Jesus.

Obviously, this piece feeds into the purity myth, that thing I talked about the other day. In his world, women must be rigidly controlled at all times and cannot learn to be functioning adults in their own rights. She can’t be exposed to wrong types of men because she might get sexually involved while she’s out of her parents’ tight-fisted grasps, and oh no! She might decide to fall for the wrong man! And her value lies entirely in her obedience and her abstinence from sex, like she’s some kind of farm animal, and if she has sex, she’s ruined and no man will ever want her.

And did you notice he managed to get in a dig at contraception? At a time when 90%+ of his own religion’s women have used unapproved contraception and most of his religion’s adherents see nothing whatsoever wrong with it, he has to dig at a woman’s right to control her own reproductive capacity. That’s sinful, you see. Oh no! Can’t have her unchaining her body from her destiny like that! His god’s way too weak to override her birth control (which makes me wonder why anybody’d bother worshiping him). I see that and think back to all those anti-contraception arguments I’ve seen that draw a straight line from “a woman having consent over her own body’s use” to “omg the world is ending right now.” I’d argue that a society or religion that insists on a woman not having that right of consent and a full range of choices regarding her reproduction doesn’t deserve to exist, but if you’re a rigid right-wing Catholic, then it’s perfectly acceptable for a religion and/or society to be based on involuntary servitude and lack of consent.

Look, right-wing Catholics and toxic Christians of all stripes, here’s the deal.

We know you’re mad that you can’t control women like you used to.

It’s okay. We’ve figured it out for ourselves. It wasn’t that hard. You keep talking about it.

And we know you see women’s rights as a big cornerstone of All That Is Wrong With the World.

We know you want that old control back and that you think if you can get us under your thumbs again like in the Good Old Days, the world’s evils will be righted again.

We know that keeping women ignorant, dependent, terrified of sex, and uneducated is a big part of how you think you’re going to reach that goal.

And we’re not going to let that happen without taking lawful, peaceful action.

That ship has already sailed. You already lost. You lost years ago. All that’s left is clean-up. You’re not going to roll back women’s rights. Ever again. Live with it.


Women standing in line to vote in Bangladesh.
Women standing in line to vote in Bangladesh. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The more you talk like this, the more obvious it gets that your religion is more about oppressing women and enforcing male privilege than it is about spreading the Good News or loving your neighbor as yourself. The more you natter on and shake your finger at evil slutty women for the sin of wanting to be competent and make our own way, or insist that sex makes us lesser human beings and that we’re not worth educating, or push the Mayberry myth at us and pretend that if we follow it then we’ll be happier than if we reject it–the more you do all of this, then the faster we will realize how weak you are and how ridiculously misogynistic and flawed your position must be if it depends–absolutely depends–upon women being kept ignorant and unable to think critically, and the faster you will fail. It must suck to realize that you’re the bad guys, but you are in this case. You want to oppress other human beings, and dressing shit up in nice fancy words doesn’t make that shit into chocolate pudding.

A religion cannot possibly be good if it produces men like Raylan Alleman.

I don’t mind weird creepy guys like Raylan Alleman revealing what his factions’s real game plan is. I love it when people like him let slip what the agenda actually is. There is no way that his ideas will meet anything but mockery from most quarters. A few totally toxic Christians will embrace his ideas, but most of us will recoil from him (as well we should, because he is a miserable, evil little man if he genuinely thinks like his piece indicates he does). More and more of us are waking up, in large part because of people like him and writing like his. Every single time one of these sexists pulls a nutty like this, the control slips a bit more and the facade crumbles a little further.

Seriously, I can’t wait to see that sick mindset finally get declared legally dead. It could happen in my lifetime. That’s exciting to me.

What is most horrifying to me though is imagining the young women who come out of homes where they are told, over and over again, that their obedience matters more than their intelligence, that their sexual purity matters more than their consent, that disproven junk science (like most of that around their “Natural Failure Family Planning” and anti-reliable-contraception drives) matters more than the real truth. I know women who have come out of such homes; they are broken creatures who must re-create themselves from the ground up and recover from what amounts to emotional child abuse, as well as learn real science and those critical thinking skills they didn’t even know existed when they were kids. That human wreckage and fallout matters less to the Raylan Allemans of this world than the few times they will successfully indoctrinate some unfortunate young woman into believing this crap. The future misery of his daughters matters less than the dogma he pushes and believes.

This kind of zealot-riddled religion cannot die fast enough.

PS: While these Catholic freaks are pontificating about how women can be sullied forever by being educated and having sex, it’s curious that they’re ignoring the scandals of Magdalene laundries, possible ties to the Mafia and various murders, and their organization’s centuries-long child rape and pedophilia scandal. Guess it’s easier to take aim at women who aren’t toeing the line than it is to level their purity-obsessed sights on murder, institutionalized rape, and slavery. Sorry, can’t hear you guys over your rampant hypocrisy…. What were you saying again?

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ROLL TO DISBELIEVE "Captain Cassidy" is Cassidy McGillicuddy, a Gen Xer and ex-Pentecostal. (The title is metaphorical.) She writes about the intersection of psychology, belief, popular culture, science,...