Friday, February 13, 2015

The Bible and Beatings

I was taught, from before birth, that God is a jealous and vengeful father who uses brutal force as a way to keep his children in line. The early books of the Roman Catholic Bible were full of instances where the men who drew the most blood from their children were favored most by God. Abraham even assented to kill his own son as an offering to his Heavenly Father.

Our churches, school rooms, Bible, and “holy cards” were full of images of the wrath of God . We had  pictures of Jesus brandishing a whip to rid the temple of money changers.  The power and authority of God the Father was passed on to us by the priests, whom we were to call “Father” and our own male parents, uncles, grandparents, and brothers.  

Just like Abraham, males were considered immune to the rules of monogamy and chastity. The “Divine right of kings” to deflower virgins filtered from God to our male authority figures. Women were to constantly seek ways to purify themselves and their children, in order to please the fathers, both in Heaven and on earth.

According to my mother, the first time I was beaten by my male parent was at the age of nine months. Is it any wonder that I kept silent as my male parent drew blood with beating of his many other children with belts, whips, and shoes? The wrath of our mother was filtered through our male parent, adding to the wrath he already displayed.

Is it any wonder that I kept silent as my mother counted our transgressions and devised tortures, such as drinking our own urine and kneeling for several hours at a time in gravel;  reporting all her “injuries” from her children to her husband so that he could beat them into submission to her and her church.

What power did I possess to stop our male parent when he kicked my oldest brother across the room while our mother silently looked on?

Is it any wonder that I kept silent as the eldest son began to taste my feminine flesh as I slept and demand that I taste his male flesh upon my awakening?

Is it any wonder that I kept silent as the priests placed their hands and lips on private places of me and my sisters?

Is it any wonder that the full six-year-old class, including the teacher, remained silent as the “Mother Superior” and principle of our school, took down a classmate’s pants and beat his naked flesh with a yardstick, in front of the whole class?

When I did attempt to speak out, I was told that the sanctity of the family and the church were more important than the actions of any man. I was told that I was arrogant and that I had a “big mouth.” I was told that I must keep quiet about what happened in the privacy of the offices of the priests and our home.  My mother and the other mothers in the family warned that I was endangering my mother’s tenuous hold on sanity.  In short, I was told to “Shut up!”

When I became a wife, I made sure that I married a man without a violent temper. Unfortunately, he also expected me to shut up and serve him and his family and friends whatever favors they wanted.  I thought this was what a “good wife” was supposed to do, until his friends started demanding sexual favors.  I became afraid in my own home.

When I became a mother, men continued stalking me, threatening to harm my child if I didn’t succumb to the sexual demands.  My mother was sure that I was bringing these issues upon myself. I was at a crossroads where I did not know how to be an obedient wife and a monogamous marriage partner. My moods became very erratic

When I realized that I was taking my frustrations out on my small daughter, I sought counseling. The counselor, a “Christian” hospital chaplain, also thought that I should be shared in sex.  My obstetrician/gynecologist told me that I should stop thinking and take up tennis. After the birth of my second child, a son, I ran away from my husband and my mother. I had no education, no work history, and no voice, but I thought I could at least bring up my children to follow a different family design than that in which I was brought up.

Little did I know that most of the earth was still telling women to “Shut up!” Only my children were forced to hear my voice. I struggled daily with fear of my own children, as my daughter was favored by her father and my mother; and my son was a male from a family of men who acted as sexual predators. The hardest thing in parenting is knowing that one must break from the mold in which one has lived all one’s life, especially when there is no support network in place to teach a different way of working and being. Every minute of every day, I had to question my own actions.

My mother is dead, as is her husband, and our oldest brother. As a last stroke of evil against her children, our mother gave a gift of cash upon her death to one favorite child, demanding that her injustice be kept secret.  Secrets are never really safe in families.

The ongoing cycle of family favoritism and hatred is well-documented in Biblical texts, yet we continue to follow the lead of the ancestors that came to power through infidelity and brute force.  Isn’t it time that we redefine what it means to embody The Sacred Spirit upon our shared earth? Isn’t it time that we admit that violence, in any form, is anti-sacred?

Isn’t it time that we stop stooping to the paradigms of power accepted by those who were just learning what it meant to be called upon to be something more than animals? Full humans don’t act only on instinct, following the alpha members of our tribes. Full humans bond with others on earth, based on a set of social contracts that promote harmony with all on earth (in the whole universe?)

Isn’t it time that we take compassionate responsibility for ourselves, our actions, and our shared earth? To give one’s life is to faithfully serve, not to offer one’s life’s blood in one great show of martyrdom.  If we discipline ourselves, the examples we set will draw others to us. This is how we create peace on earth, one baby step at a time. Commitment in continued action is what love is really all about.

I have officially defected from the religion of my parents and have broken with all my siblings. This is the only way that the evil energy of our parents isn’t still visited upon me and my family. I have discovered that there many who want to hear my voice, and I will continue to speak out for a new way to define what it means to belong to The Sacred Universal Embodiment of Energy.