by Bob Cesca
Lost in the geyser of ongoing Trump headlines was the one about Michele Bachmann signing on to advise the GOP nominee on foreign policy. I was unaware that Bachmann was a foreign policy expert, but okay. She couldn't possibly be less qualified that the rest of the dunderheads working for Trump at the moment. Put another way: she fits right into Trump's legion of doom.
Speaking of doom, Bachmann announced to CBN's David Brody that God himself elevated Trump to be the next president.
She told CBN, "I actually supported Ted Cruz. I thought he was fabulous but I also see that at the end of the day God raised up, I believe, Donald Trump who was going to be the nominee in this election." And, "I think it's very likely that in the day that we live in, that Donald Trump is the only individual who could win in a General Election of the 17 who ran. Maybe I'm wrong, I don't know but I do know that the Bible is true and that Daniel teaches the most high God, which is one of God's names, is the one who lifts up who he will and takes down who he will."
While I agree that "the most high God" would help Trump get to this point (I mean, he'd have to be high, no?), the rest of what she said is pure superstitious nonsense. Not surprisingly, the commenters over at Crooks & Liars agree with me. Here are some random ones, with the names omitted:
- "The invisible flying spaghetti monster thinks Bachman is a meatball."
- "If she's referring to the same God that murdered everyone (except 8) in a premeditated act of genocide commonly known as "Noah's Flood" she might be on to something........"
- "oh fucking christ. What idiocy."
- "The woman is fucking psychotic. That is all."
- "It's nice that she gets visits at the Funny Farm."
- "Off her meds again?"
- "They let her out on a weekend pass or something?"
- "Hey psst, Michelle, it's not God talking to you, it's the schizophrenia."
- "Batshit Crazy Shelly has been listening to the voices in her head again."
- "How is it possible for one human being to be so deluded, so bat-shit crazy?"
There are many more where those came from. Generally speaking, and granted this is an informal survey of liberals who read one particular blog, the consensus is fairly clear that the notion of God's existence, one, and God's meddling in the selection of Trump, two, is kind of silly, no? The readers at Crooks & Liars certainly have strong opinions about Bachmann's belief system, as do I.
And, be honest, you kind of chuckled when you read this story, no?
Either way, imagine for a moment that a political leader who happens to be Muslim declared that it was Muhammad's will that all devout women should cover their bodies from head to toe in a burka. I doubt there'd be the same level of giggling and ridicule.
Yes, we're back here again. Following my essay last week, I've heard from quite a few liberals that burkas, along with its variations, are merely about personal religious choice -- that they're not necessarily a symbol of the subjugation of women per the mandates of deeply patriarchal religious dogma. The above exercise involving Michele Bachmann is therefore intended to both underscore her mind-blowing fealty to a 2,000-year-old myth as well as, mainly, to illustrate how the left is much harder on fundamentalist Christianity than fundamentalist Islam. Indeed, if the same remarks had been directed at a Muslim leader, other commenters would've immediately shouted down the critics as bigots and racists.
To restate my view on this particular aspect of Islam, I'm not indicting people of faith of any religion, nor am I defending the former law in Nice, France that banned the wearing of burkas and burkinis. I am, however, indicting any religion, including Islam, that includes in its scriptures the oppression of women as second-class humans, subservient to the will of men. Furthermore, I'm indicting any religious dictate or symbol which lopsidedly punishes women.
Somehow, this distinction was lost on quite a few readers of my previous essay.
The misconception was that I was shaming women for wearing burkas rather than scolding an archaic rule requiring the wearing of such a garment that not-so-subtly suggests that a woman's body is dirty and shameful, and should be covered in public. Likewise, I'm equally disgusted with the Christian rule outlined in Ephesians 5, among others, that requires women to remain subservient their husbands.
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Is it acceptable, as liberals and/or feminists, to turn a blind eye to such oppression simply because certain women, including another famous "Michelle" with the last name Duggar, willingly submit to such rules? Of course not. The goal of liberals shouldn't be to condone the oppressive rule, it should be to empower women to, themselves, reject the rule, rather than being punished for it, whether by despotic, theocratic Islamic regimes or by Muslim husbands or both.
The fact remains that religion, by its very nature, is coercive and manipulative. Does anyone who's a believer really engage their free will, or are they intimidated into behaving in certain ways or else face eternal damnation? The threat of eternal -- and especially corporeal -- punishment is the very antithesis of free will. As a former devout Catholic, I understand exactly what this means, and I have a difficult time buying that most women who are held in captivity by their religion or their religious husbands are doing so by choice.
Shortly after discussing this topic on the After Party podcast, I received the following note:
My wife and I were listening to the after party. She asked me to say thanks for standing up for Muslim women. This is a picture of what my wife was forced to wear under threat of prison in Iran. The second photo is her today. You're on the right side brother.
The attached photo:
I'd like to think the American left would be on the side of empowering this woman, along with millions of others, to escape a harrowing existence in Iran, rather than brushing off the oppression because speaking out against it is inexplicably targeted as racist by other lefties.
Along those lines, I'm almost positive why I was on the receiving end of such harsh criticisms in response to my thoughts about this obvious (to me, at least) contradiction on the left.
The truth is that I've spent a considerable amount of time contemplating whether this is even an argument worth having. Nearly every time I sit down to write another article, I've felt confident in my own take on the issues, and, frankly, I feel quite confident in this one, too. However, it's a take that could put my career in peril, given how criticizing Islam on any level is, at best, verboten on the left. This is a take which could land me in a significant amount of hot water, so every time I've returned to thinking about it, I've hesitated to bring it up publicly for fear of inciting fellow liberals who would summarily mischaracterize my opinion as being some form of racism, no matter how clear I am, and no matter how often I qualify that I'm opposed to outright bans on religious garments. (The establishment clause of the First Amendment also makes such a ban unconstitutional here.)
Suffice to say, it's more than a little disillusioning to know that any minor or nuanced attempt to empower women against an obviously oppressive religious mandate is more often than not shouted down by those who ought to know better. Any rule from any source that restricts basic human rights and basic equality should be vocally resisted by the left. Not excused. But anyone who dares to question the injustices of Islamic law is too often met with severe kneejerking and groupthink, even when intentions are clear.