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Posts Tagged ‘feminism’

Women and FreeThought

Posted by dystressed on August 31, 2008

One of my heroes is Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Her intellect was stunning for today, let alone the mid to late nineteenth century. Along with Susan B. Anthony, she spearheaded the more agressive and progressive faction of the women’s rights movement, beginning in 1848 at the conference at Seneca Falls, New York.

I read about her a great deal in college, but I never made the connection to her FreeThought stance until yesterday. I was watching “Not for Ourselves Alone” the Ken Burns documentary that paired the lives of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Buy this movie on Amazon

Buy this movie on Amazon

Most people know who Susan B. Anthony is, because in the 1970s, she was the first woman to appear on US Coins. But Stanton was much more provocative, much more of an introspective philosopher, plus she died first. History tends to favor the character who survives longer.

Stanton is arguably the mother of the women’s rights movement because although Anthony gave many of the movements speeches, organized most of the lectures, Stanton wrote most of the text and provided much of the rhetoric. This included the famous Declaration of Rights and Sentiments at the 1848 Seneca Falls conference. Stanton was also stuck at home with her seven children (whom she did not require to attend any church), so this meant that Anthony was essentially the public face of the cause.

According to the documentary, toward the end of her years, Stanton rewrote the Bible with a slant toward feminism, an outright scandalous move that got her censured from the movement she helped to build.

The Womens Bible on Amazon

Today I found even more information archived online from a speech Stanton made about the establishment of religion and the dangers of putting women down with antiquated religious notions.

She encourages the audience to question popular theology, calling the times (about 1870) not much better than the inquisition.

I think it’s important to reflect on the role women have played in the history of FreeThought and in history overall. I have often wondered what Stanton would say were she alive today.

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Posted in FreeThought, Politics | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

I now pronounce you chuck and larry

Posted by dystressed on June 15, 2008

There’s a lot of talk lately about gay marriage. I find marriage kind of an interesting topic, mainly because as a kid I never thought I’d be able to marry the man of my dreams, seeing how I was and still am a man. Yep, that makes yours truly a gay.

I have been politically active and active in the local gay community, but I’ve never been too sure about the gay movement. As I get older, I realize that there is something to this whole equality thing. Marriage has been a main goal of the gay groups for decades, and I’ve come to agree that it is a worthwhile cause.

In school, I learned all about the role religion plays in civil rights, specifically the 60s civil rights movement. Because religion is such an ingrained thing, both sides were using it to further their platforms on either side of the argument. Historians have pretty much concluded that African Americans and their advocates would not have been as successful if they hadn’t successfully engineered more rational and scriptural stances for their cause.

That’s what is strange about the gay movement. Along with the Women’s movement, the Bible specifically (depending on your interpretation of course) condemns gays and subjugates women to their husbands. The vague references against blacks (i.e. the ‘curse of Ham’) were abandoned because they were so faulty.

Though religion may have been one of the most or the most successful tactic of the civil rights movement, women and gays aren’t really able to use the same arguments without throwing out the parts that denigrate them.

Gays owe a lot to the sciences and skeptical thought. It was the APA who finally removed homosexuality from the DSM4 list of mental disorders: people thinking critically and challenging long-standing notions and fears. Other research continues to break down barriers for gays.

Sexism, Racism and Homophobia are still largely practiced openly thanks to the patriarchal religious systems to which the world still clings.

I would argue that women’s and gay rights movements could benefit from aligning themselves more assertively with freethought and skepticism. I found a great link that seems to agree with me.

First of all, the institution of marriage is largely based in religion. The problem is that the religious people irrevocobaly tied marriage to state licensing centuries ago, which clearly contradicts the modern secularist notion of separation of church and state.

The problem with many religious people is that they believe homosexuality is a sin, and sin cannot be love. Marriage is the ultimate social, public expression of love, so why should two sinners be allowed to express their sin? It is more offensive because society welcomes marriage. Society is largely based on it, both with traditional families and because marriages are essentially partnerships that create a more productive population. Marriages create stability on all fronts, economically, socially, politically, and emotionally.

I think civil unions are a great alternative in the battle for equality, because they are based on the legal benefits of marriage. They take away all of the religious overtones that are ingrained in the word “marriage” and replace it with a simple, legalese term for the bond that two people share.

But then, that’s the problem. It goes back to a matter of semantics. The state should not simply have the power to write-off homosexual couples with a politically correct term. The state should recognize that love between any two people, regardless of the sexes, should be allowed to be recognized with a marriage.

Equal marriage should be allowed because it is the best system our society has for maintaining stability. Equal marriage should also be allowed because there is simply no reason for religion to have a monopoly on the term.

Posted in FreeThought, Humor, Philosophy, Politics, Religion | Tagged: , , , , , , | 10 Comments »