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Bigotry is alive and well in America

Mud Princess

Cyburbian
Messages
4,898
Points
27
I agree, that IS unbelievable. But you know, it's not just in the South. I know of a situation where a few of the residents in a particular town had a similar reaction to a group of people from another religion coming to their community... and this is in a fairly liberal region. I'll see if I can find the link...
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,889
Points
26
While I disagree with the proposed law, isn't most civil law supposed to reflect the generally accepted moral principals of a society? We find it morally wrong to steal, kill, or run around naked in public throught the nation and we have laws that aim to prevent these actions and punish those who break the laws. If this particular county feels that homosexuality is immoral and damaging to society, do they have the right to outlaw what they find may be damaging to their societal beliefs?

This belief, unlike racism, is based upon religious teaching. Relgious teachings are a significant factor in our moral beliefs.

Racism, on the otherhand, is an unfounded belief that doesn't have a moral teaching behind it.

I hope the law doesn't pass, but if it does. I can't wait for the courts to snuff it out and set some precedent against these laws.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
Ah, but you are totally wrong, boiker. For generations, Southerners (and South Africans) in particular used a particular interpretation of the Bible to justify racism. After all, aren't persons of African descent the "Sons of Ham" and meant ot be "hewers of wood."

I also disagree with your other point. That you can use a religious prejudice against a population. That violates, in my eyes, the establishment clause.

It ain't just the south, either. My local newspaper always prints some pretty scary letters. One just came out quoting all the usual Leviticus verses and advocating "the gays" be expelled.
 

AubieTurtle

Cyburbian
Messages
894
Points
21
BKM said:
It ain't just the south, either. My local newspaper always prints some pretty scary letters. One just came out quoting all the usual Leviticus verses and advocating "the gays" be expelled.
When ever someone tries to use Leviticus to justify their bigotry, I find it useful to point them to this letter:

http://elainemiller.com/presents/drlaura.html

It shows just how much people like to cherry pick their beliefs from the bible.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
Cool. I wanted to find that letter the other day (while slacking), but the reference I had was The Onion-which my employer's firewalk keeps out.
 
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7,649
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29
AubieTurtle said:
When ever someone tries to use Leviticus to justify their bigotry, I find it useful to point them to this letter:

http://elainemiller.com/presents/drlaura.html

It shows just how much people like to cherry pick their beliefs from the bible.
OH. MY. GOD! Thanks. lol.

Michele: who cynically tells a lot of folks that "I am a spiritual woman, therefore church is no place for the likes of me." :-D ;-) B-) o:)
 

PlannerGirl

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
6,377
Points
29
FYI this letter is a Hoax http://www.wtopnews.com/index.php?nid=25&sid=182285

Please also look on the snops page :)

I personaly dont take the time to pay heed or respond to narrow minded screw ups that feel the need to push their views on life on me. Who I love, man or woman has zero impact on their sad little lives.

Let em spout all the crap they want-I go on living and loveing regardless.
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,889
Points
26
BKM said:
Ah, but you are totally wrong, boiker. For generations, Southerners (and South Africans) in particular used a particular interpretation of the Bible to justify racism. After all, aren't persons of African descent the "Sons of Ham" and meant ot be "hewers of wood."

I also disagree with your other point. That you can use a religious prejudice against a population. That violates, in my eyes, the establishment clause.

It ain't just the south, either. My local newspaper always prints some pretty scary letters. One just came out quoting all the usual Leviticus verses and advocating "the gays" be expelled.
thanks for the corrections. I expected to be wrong anyway :-D
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,549
Points
25
...and people in the South wonder why the rest of the country thinks they are a bunch of ignorant backwater hicks. Way to perpetuate the stereotype.
 

Duke Of Dystopia

Cyburbian
Messages
2,713
Points
24
The seventh-grader said she doesn't want homosexuals in the community. "It's not a Christian thing," said Kinney, identifying herself as a Baptist.

"I've never seen nothing like this," Fritts said at the historic courthouse where a jury 79 years ago convicted John Scopes for teaching evolution.


I just love it when 11 year olds think they have the cognitive power to bend the bible to thier own half baked thoughts. What would you expect out of this group of human phesies? It makes perfect sense to me that this is where the Scopes trial would have happened (shakes head in disgust).

I theorize that these people are the ultimate reason that most of Europe has become so secular. With thier past history of ctholic/protestant religious violence, they learned where following a rigid spiritual path as a whole leads.

I just love the seventh grade girl, she doesn't even realize that her religion would keep her barefoot, pregnant and ignorant if it could. amazing.......
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,550
Points
24
Duke Of Dystopia said:
I theorize that these people are the ultimate reason that most of Europe has become so secular. With thier past history of ctholic/protestant religious violence, they learned where following a rigid spiritual path as a whole leads.
I think it's just the opposite. Europe has become so secular because so many of its religious fundamentalists/zealots (at least the Catholic and Protestant ones) left there to worship freely in the good ol' US of A.

BTW, this post puts me in the half-clube.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
The National Geographic, as part of their Zip Code USA series, actually profiled Dayton County, Tennessee.

I was very impolitic at a party this weekend when I vocalized my skepticism about Tennessee to a couple who were convinced it was their perfect Mayberry and they were planning to move there posthaste. (Although, Johnson City/Kingstport/Bristol are very beautiful.)

But again, we should avoid the bash-the-south tendency. Bigotry-on all sides, as secular folks can be as bigoted toward the religious-is not just southern. And, as Exhibit A in the People's Court, I need only turn to my local newpapers' letters to the editor.
 

tsc

Cyburbian
Messages
1,905
Points
23
sigh...

how dumb-a@@ can people be. I have a sister who lives in Tennessee.... and she wanted me to come down there to live. I went, I saw, .. no way. I love New England/New York too much....
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,550
Points
24
Repo Man said:
...and people in the South wonder why the rest of the country thinks they are a bunch of ignorant backwater hicks. Way to perpetuate the stereotype.
I'm picking up on BKM's point -- it's way too simplistic to blame the South as the only part of this nation to express its bigotry in any way. There is not one square inch of America that has been a bigotry-free zone, ever. Not everyone in America is a bigot. But the bigots are everywhere in America.

Vigilante militiamen readying for the coming "race war" in Michigan? Check.
Neo-Nazis in Idaho and Montana? Check.
Upper-middle class residents throughout the Southwest bashing Hispanics for coming here, but ready to (cheaply) employ them as domestic help, landscapers and migrant farmers? Check.

What distinguishes the South's form of bigotry over the years is that it was sanctioned by local laws -- just as these people in Tennessee tried to do (OK, so old habits die hard). Other parts of the nation just resorted to extra-legal or outright illegal methods to dominate -- redlining and restricted deed covenants come to mind.
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,549
Points
25
I completely agree Pete-Rock. Bigotry is everywhere. I just made the comment that they are perpetuating the stereotypical southerner image as some over-religious bigoted, hateful hicks. I live in Wisconsin and I guarantee that there are many people that feel the same way as the people in this County. Same with racism, which can be found everywhere. Not a month goes by where I don’t get a phone call from someone opposing a project or complaining about a business and they make some off-handed racist comment, usually disguised by the terms “people from the inner city,” “the wrong element,” or “those people.”
 

Gedunker

Moderating
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
11,491
Points
41
pete-rock said:
Parts of the nation just resorted to extra-legal or outright illegal methods to dominate -- redlining and restricted deed covenants come to mind.
Both now illegal, I might add.

[RANT]What is not illegal is minimum lot size zoning requirements in the 1 acre and above range, allegedly to "maintain the bucolic character" or some such hoo-haw. The only character that they want to protect is the lily white skins of all those smiling faces. How do we, as planners, tolerate and enable this without thinking of the Federal Fair Housing Act?[/RANT]
 
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3,690
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27
My personal experience is that most rural locales, Southern or otherwise, tend to be hotbeds of ignorance and intolerance. My brother was harrassed in our rural upstate ny high school on a weekly basis on just the perception that he was gay (he hadn't yet outed even to himself yet).
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
28,711
Points
71
Duke Of Dystopia said:
I theorize that these people are the ultimate reason that most of Europe has become so secular. With thier past history of ctholic/protestant religious violence, they learned where following a rigid spiritual path as a whole leads.
That's got to be it. Lots of European countries underwent a more or less constant state of religious warfare following the reformation right up into the late 17th/early 18th century. Putting this into historical context you understand why the founding fathers of the US were so eager to form a secular society (and they were - says so on the back of a one dollar bill). Lots of American colonists were immigrants or 1st or 2nd generation and the whole religious war thing was fresh in their minds. We Americans seem to have forgotten (perhaps willfully) much about the origins of our nation.
 

otterpop

Cyburbian
Messages
6,655
Points
28
AubieTurtle said:
When ever someone tries to use Leviticus to justify their bigotry, I find it useful to point them to this letter:

[It shows just how much people like to cherry pick their beliefs from the bible.
Loved that letter. I've long believed that the Bible is not the word of God, but rather man's word about God. A lot of the "do not"s in the Bible seem to be self-serving.

If the Bible was truly the word of God one of the 10 Commandments would surely have been a prohibition of slavery, which is much worse than bearing false witness or stealing. Why was there no prohibition of slavery? Because man and not God wanted slaves. Why does the Bible support an inferior status for women? Because man (men) and not God wanted women under control.
 

PlannerGirl

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
6,377
Points
29
Im reading the Jewish version of the bible-subtle diffrences that I like much better a a woman ;-)

Never mind 613 comandments!
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,175
Points
51
PlannerGirl said:
Im reading the Jewish version of the bible-subtle diffrences that I like much better a a woman ;-)

Never mind 613 comandments!
The Old Testament is part of the Jewish Torah, along with much of the Christian Denominations is based on Jewish Teachings. (Such as the last supper, was that pass over meal and such)

As for the rest of the post, I am going to refrain from commenting. I will say that I do not oppose gays from residing in any location they choose… and I am going to leave it at there.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
Well, in defense of the authors of the Bible, slavery probably had a different connotation than our semi-industrialized plantation slave system.

Not that I am defending the institution. But, like everything else in the Bible, context is key.
 

FueledByRamen

Cyburbian
Messages
449
Points
13
I was raised in the church...my dad is actually a pastor in the Presbyterian Church...and I have, over the years realized how much the Bible is just man's interpretation of what he thinks God wishes. (And usually a bad one at that). Even the ten commandments...if you look back and translate the original Hebrew, you get the commandment about adultery meaning this: You should not commit adultery with another man's wife because you would be sinning against this man. Forget sinning against God or even sinning against your own wife...ya know, cause women dont matter..... B-)

Anyway, I think that that is the major problem with southern US Christianity is the literal interpretation of the Bible (well, and the literallness taken with anything that leads to ignorance in politics, etc.) I have a friend who is a grad student in electrical engineering and thinks that the world is only 5,000 years old because thats what the old testament says!

So I've been really turned off lately by the people around me and what they believe and how close minded they are. Ive really started opening my eyes and doubting alot of what some dudes back a few thousand years wrote down and ended up calling the Bible.

Its kinda ironic cause I used to believe that homosexuality was a sin just because so many "Christians" say it is. In the last few years I realized that it wasnt and then two weeks ago my dad told me that he was gay.

Life throws some curveballs sometimes....
 

Maister

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28,711
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71
FueledByRamen said:
Anyway, I think that that is the major problem with southern US Christianity is the literal interpretation of the Bible (well, and the literallness taken with anything that leads to ignorance in politics, etc.)
I don't think it's particularly unique to southern US Christianity but yeah, Fundamentalism of any religious persuasion damages society on a number of levels.... :-\
 
Messages
7,649
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29
Slavery

You know, I think it is all too easy to completely miss the context in which slavery existed. They didn't have machines and such to do the work. People would have starved and died without a lot of hard physical labor. Some folks came to the colonies that later became the U.S.A. by signing a contract to be an "indentured servant" for 7 years after they arrived here as a means to get their passage here paid for and have job security and a window of time in which to get established.

They didn't have banks, ATM's, instant credit, phones, and a zillion other things that "we" take for granted. I am not remotely saying that I approve of slavery but I believe that "wives" -- especially homemakers or any woman whose husband makes a LOT more money than her -- are the "slaves" of modern America. By that, I mean that we are not legally entitled to the fruits of our labor. Our husband's are entitled to the fruits of their labor but we are not so entitled. There are plenty of studies which document the fact that a man will rise up the corporate ladder (or what have you) faster if he has a full-time, stay at home wife. And I am very clear that this is because she takes care of "everything" and this frees him to think of nothing but his work. He can put all of his "best" efforts there and it allows him to excel. Then, if they get divorced, with "no fault" divorce, etc, these days, she MIGHT get temporary alimony and half of the family resources and is told "you are a liberated woman: go earn your own way in life". It is explicitly stated that his income from his job is HIS -- he earns it. But she may have worked to put him through college, etc, and she didn't just do it for "love" -- she did it expecting to directly benefit from his improved capacity to earn money. And then she can find herself out in the cold, unentitled to that which SHE also worked hard to build: a middle class lifestyle.

Yet, if you are a young couple, neither of you has much to offer other than your faith in each other and your willingness to work towards something. There isn't much you can contract for: how successful he becomes and what have you is not something which can be predicted in a quantifiable fashion.

I am undoubtedly opening up a can of worms and that isn't really my intent. I gave my services to my husband and children willingly and I wouldn't do it any different if I "knew then what I know now". And I have come to believe that when a woman puts her husband through college, she should IMMEDIATELY start college herself, the minute he has that better paying career that his degree affords him. He has not simply grown in his ability to earn money: he has grown and changed as a PERSON. If he had "started" life as a lawyer (or whatever), he probably wouldn't be looking to date a waitress (or whatever she was while putting him through school): why should he be fascinated by one NOW, simply because she has been sleeping with him and married to him for a few years? It surprises me not in the least when a college-educated man leaves his wife who put him through college -- and then figured she was entitled to his pay check and never mind that they could no longer really relate to each other.

Sigh. MY POINT IS: hundreds of years ago, your body and labor may have been the ONLY thing you had to offer. Primitive tribes also tolerated infanticide because they didn't have the resources to support every child that was concieved or born and limited means to prevent pregnancy and simply couldn't idealistically take care of a handicapped child, whose care could easily be the break point for a subsistence culture. You have to have a certain amount of "excess" to be able to AFFORD modern America's middle class values.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
Exactly what I meant, Michele. Slavery does not always mean the system anathemized in our plantation era. It was quite a bit different.

Of course, if the Bible is the unchanging Word of God, you would be LEGALLY chatel.
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,550
Points
24
Off-topic:

MZ, you make great comments. But how DO you find the time to write such long posts?;)
 

Zoning Goddess

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Messages
13,852
Points
39
FueledByRamen said:
Anyway, I think that that is the major problem with southern US Christianity is the literal interpretation of the Bible (well, and the literallness taken with anything that leads to ignorance in politics, etc.)
Maybe Baptists or evangelicals. I was raised Episcopalian in the south, and I can assure you that they do not literally interpret the Bible. Christianity encompasses many, many churches and they do not all espouse such narrow-mindedness.
 

Rumpy Tunanator

Cyburbian
Messages
4,473
Points
25
Regardless of what year we are living in or what the future holds, the fact will always remain that people will hate other people, whether because of religious beliefs, race, ethnicity, sexual preference, etc.. Its been going on since the dawn of civilization and will probaly continue till the demise of the human race.
 
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7,649
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29
BKM said:
Exactly what I meant, Michele. Slavery does not always mean the system anathemized in our plantation era. It was quite a bit different.

Of course, if the Bible is the unchanging Word of God, you would be LEGALLY chatel.
What you mean is that I would be de juris chattel instead of de facto chattel. <cackle>

Uh, yeah. I figured you kind of meant that. I just thought I would elaborate. lol.
 
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7,649
Points
29
pete-rock said:
Off-topic:

MZ, you make great comments. But how DO you find the time to write such long posts?;)
Actually, my posts tend to be longer when I take LESS time: I am a visual-spatial thinker and it takes less effort to do a 'brain dump' than to craft a well-written and succinct ...yadda yadda.

My husband got home Saturday and I had a really hectic weekend. I kind of took "today" and last night off and caught up on e-mail and such, so I had time to write at length. I have not been taking classes the last 2 quarters but I just signed up for a class again for this coming semester. I appear to be on track to finish my bachelor's in June of next year. This is the first time I have had anything remotely resembling a 'firm' graduation date. I have 7 classes to go.

Er, which is to say, I may post less in the future. What you don't realize is that when I am not running my mouth here, I write very long e-mails to OTHER forums. (Or to friends.) And people there ask me the exact same thing. I can't explain it. I have always been a writer. I can't live without writing. I'd sooner live without eating and sleeping. And while it is absolutely true that I am laying the groundwork for launching a business, and I am working towards a degree, and I homeschool my kids, etc.... really, I used to work MUCH harder when my kids were younger. I do not have to spend that much time sitting and actively teaching them. They are pretty independent in doing their work.

And, frankly, I am looking into having them take the California version of the GED, declare them Officially Graduated -- and give them some time to figure out for themselves what to do with their lives. They already have a finer education than most folks with a college degree and my 16 year old is pretty much over my head these days when we talk. He has always used me as a "living dictionary" and I find myself increasingly saying "I have never heard of that word. Maybe your father knows it."

I also type faster than a lot of people. I know this from spending so much time chatting via IM. I get complaints that I type too fast for people to keep up with replying or whatever. I sometimes ask "Are you still there?" and get told they are trying to catch up -- that they do not read English as fast as I type it. 8-! (Of course, I probably do not know any of their language, so we are stuck with me having to learn patience and manners. :-D )

God, doesn't everybody take the day off by talking to some total stranger via IM for 9 hours straight because they are too sick to actually work??? :p
 

JNA

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
25,807
Points
61
? does this classic quote by Martin Niemoller apply-

They came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.
 
Messages
7,649
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29
JNA said:
? does this classic quote by Martin Niemoller apply-

They came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.
My mom was born and raised in Germany. She was born in the 1930's and was a little girl during WWII and its aftermath. My dad fought in WWII when he was 17. And I am all too familiar with the psychological studies they did, trying to "prove" that only psycho Germans could be made into such monsters -- and found that most people can be made to do terrible things if you start small and escalate it. I am always keenly aware of the danger of "the slippery slope" and I hold myself to very high ethics because of it.

One of the reasons I get into hot water in online forums is because I refuse to be the one who does not speak up when someone who is "different" is given hell. I happily go down in flames to protect the rights of ALL people to be equally safe. I do not target individuals. I target specific behaviors. My presence in any forum tends to raise the bar on tolerance and ability to genuinely discuss a variety of viewpoints calmly. I cannot prove it and I expect to be boo-ed and hissed for saying it, but I think it is no coincidence that Dan's frustrated attempts to invite more international members began paying off only after I arrived on the scene, went down in flames a few times, etc.

God, I will regret this post "tomorrow".

Crawling off to bed now. But you hit one of my hot buttons dead on. That quote is one I "live by" -- as in "tattoo it on your forehead and NEVER forget that this is how great evil occurs: that we say nothing when small evils occur". The Nazi party was 20% of the German population. They were opposed by 30% of the population. It was the 50% who did nothing that allowed them to get away with so much. I would rather die first than stand by and watch and do nothing when the stakes are still relatively small. It only gets worse, not better, if you wait.
 

otterpop

Cyburbian
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6,655
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28
Seems awfully odd that I should have to defend the belief that slavery is a really bad thing. While I do understand the conjecture that slavery of old was different than slavery of the colonial and early years of our Republic, I cannot see the "context" argument. How are we to know that slavery of old was not much, much worse. I doubt the slaves who toiled building the pyramids thought forced labor was a great and wonderful thing. Nor do I beleive the Christian slaves torn apart by lions in the Coliseum were blessing their servitude.

To take a man's or woman's life or liberty is inexcusable, no matter whether the slave's master was cruel or kind. Slaves lived abominable lives.

Indentured servitude was not slavery; it was a contract with a term limit. Some ancient slavery also had a term limit, but this was a minority opinion held by the "enlightened" masters.

Nor do I believe the defense that times were hard so slavery was a necessary evil. The Northern colonies of America got along quite well without widespread slavery. In fact, the Northern colonies were much more prosperous, benefiting from their own labor and not burdened with the cost of feeding, clothing and housing their slaves. Just the savings on not needing to purchase whips, chains and the services of runaway slave hunters must have been considerable.

Slavery was wrong in 2000 B.C., 1 A.D., and 1860. It was and always will be wrong and inexcusable. "Context" is an intellectual dodge to assauge societal guilt.
 
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5,352
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31
Rumpy Tunanator said:
Regardless of what year we are living in or what the future holds, the fact will always remain that people will hate other people, whether because of religious beliefs, race, ethnicity, sexual preference, etc.. Its been going on since the dawn of civilization and will probaly continue till the demise of the human race.
Exactly. Not to say that it's right, but it will continue to exist. It's a part of human nature.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
otterpop said:
Seems awfully odd that I should have to defend the belief that slavery is a really bad thing. While I do understand the conjecture that slavery of old was different than slavery of the colonial and early years of our Republic, I cannot see the "context" argument. How are we to know that slavery of old was not much, much worse. I doubt the slaves who toiled building the pyramids thought forced labor was a great and wonderful thing. Nor do I beleive the Christian slaves torn apart by lions in the Coliseum were blessing their servitude.
No. But, one could easily argue that the Northern Working Class of the pre-Civil War era was, if anything, treated worse than some slaves.

God, I can't believe I am trying to defend slavery :-\ . I would never agree that slaves are ever "necessary."

That's really, really not what I meant to do. Just to point out that in some ways the American and European 19th century era of slavery may have been the worst period.

Historians other than myself have described the status of slavery in Ancient Greece and Rome. Was it "better"? you're right-we cannot really know. My understanding, though, was that the status and role in society was different than the plantation worker in South Carolina circa 1845. Of course, some historians argue that the evolution towards more of a plantation economy effectively destroyed the Roman free economy. Just like our modern corporate overlords dependence on semi-enslaved Asian factory workers may be destroying ours :)

I can't speak to the tribal slaves of the Israelites. Given that they were often prisoners of war, their lot cannot have been very good. either.
 
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29
otterpop said:
Seems awfully odd that I should have to defend the belief that slavery is a really bad thing.
To take a man's or woman's life or liberty is inexcusable, no matter whether the slave's master was cruel or kind. Slaves lived abominable lives. "Context" is an intellectual dodge to assauge societal guilt.
There is no intent on my part to make you "defend" such a view. I have every intention of escaping my own "chattel" status as a homemaker. I think it is a bad thing. But liberty of the kind we tout in modern America was not really possible hundreds of years ago and is still something which is hard won for individuals in this day and age. Some of the hardest "chains" to break are invisible. Having hewed my way through a number of those, I have had to think long and hard about some of this. I was sharing my thoughts, not suggesting a moral position.
 
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BKM

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6,463
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29
I was actually reading an interesting analysis of economics (from a very conservative Catholic site) positing that modern "wage slavery" in some ways is even more enslaving than, say, (the example used) the medieval serfs. I can't really do the argument justice or say I agreed with them, it's just another perspecitve on these "invisible chains" you speak of. And, actually, through home-schooling, you have severed one of the chains the site focused on.
 
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29
BKM said:
And, actually, through home-schooling, you have severed one of the chains the site focused on.
Yeah, verily. Homeschooling is a godsend for me and my kids, in so many ways.

One issue I had to wrestle with in my marriage: my husband was not only entitled to go away from the family any time the military sent him, it was a noble sacrifice, blah blah blah. Poor, pitiful guy: a prisoner of the only career he ever wanted and forced to travel the world and such. :-D But if I wanted to go away for some reason, I was "endangering our marriage". I began going to visit relatives when he was away for extended periods, then sort of built on that. The first time I went to see family without him when he wasn't gone for an extended period, he was a big Grump. And we couldn't talk about WHY he was taking it so poorly because he believes himself to be a Noble Soul, all for "women's lib", yadda yadda -- yes, he wants me liberated and even making money (god knows, he could spend it |-) ), as long as I pursue my college degree and launch my career without inconveniencing him, slacking on my REAL obligations that must come first of housework and raising kids like a single parent, etc.

Sigh. The thing is, such issues are very hard to talk about in a constructive and effective manner. It is really hard to get it through to someone that this is a double standard which imprisons me: if I cannot go away to school or whatever to invest in myself, then how can I ever become anything other than a homemaker? (And this point is an incredibly common issue in marriages: it is 'normal' for the family to move to whatever college he wants to attend to further his career ... while he assumes that the little woman should "better" herself by taking classes at whatever college they happen to live near, which is usually dictated by his job, and never mind that this means she cannot pursue her career goals in the same manner he does: with an emphasis on career goals and not on what is convenient for the rest of the family.)

In some ways, I didn't really experience this gender-based double standard too much when I was growing up. I was completely shocked to run into so much of it as an adult. I was STAR student, a national merit scholarship winner, etc. I was raised with the expectation that I would have a career. I find it chilling to think about what a woman might put up with who has fewer personal resources than I have. It is a long, slow process for me to launch a career and I have a jam-up academic background, plenty of self-confidence, and so forth. I think that when a woman is financially dependent upon a man, it is incredibly hard, and perhaps impossible, to avoid bias which makes him have the only real say in many important decisions. I do not think it is humanly possible to completely overcome the subconscious, even visceral, response of 'going along' to some extent because, by golly, this person is "holding your life in his hands": if he dumps you, you may not know where your next meal is coming from.

That is an understanding I would have never had if I had done the career thing and not had babies so unexpectedly young. I hope to put that understanding to good use. It is often the subtle stuff that determines which choice you make at a crucial intersection/decision. Many people do not see where X leads until it is so far along that changing paths is a huge problem. It is that slippery slope thing again: if I had agreed that it is "just circumstantial" and is not some gender-based bias and, yes, I "should" be here all the time when hubby is home "for the sake or our marriage" and his absences are "beyond his control" (yeah, like he was drafted <cackle>) ... it would have effectively locked me up and thrown away the key.

And that rubric -- about the subtle stuff -- is true regardless of whether it is gender bias, religious bias, racism, etc.
 

BKM

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Thank God my sister never married the nutcase I called "The Frugal Monk." You know the kind-drive around town to save 5 cents per gallon on gasoline. :)

He was from a disfunctional, hard core Baptist family. I still remember a drive across country with him and the sister once. The whole time-some cassette with a female preacher yaddering on and on about submission and obedience and how she gives "the leader of her family" all her money. Yucko. He also had scary, scary eyes. Thank God she bailed. He did not really like her college education at all.
 
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BKM said:
Thank God my sister never married the nutcase I called "The Frugal Monk." You know the kind-drive around town to save 5 cents per gallon on gasoline. :)
The really hard part in the "fight for women's rights" is the fact that a lot of men are NOT the kind of fruitcake you describe and genuinely do not see the consequences of their own subtle personal biases and assumptions about what is "normal". Many of these men would happily do The Right Thing -- IF they knew what it was. But trying to explain it to them can become a huge blow-out, in part because they feel attacked, the hostility towards men of the American Women's Lib movement is an unnecesarrily inflammatory position, these things DO run very deep and it can be a genuine identity crisis for a man to have it pointed out to him that X is really gender bias and keeps women in a chattel position, etc. Sigh.

I am glad your sis didn't marry him. Ugh.
 

BKM

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Her hubby is a sweetheart whose major negative feature is giving too much money to his mother :)
 

tsc

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Downtown said:
My personal experience is that most rural locales, Southern or otherwise, tend to be hotbeds of ignorance and intolerance. My brother was harrassed in our rural upstate ny high school on a weekly basis on just the perception that he was gay (he hadn't yet outed even to himself yet).
So true Downtown......in upstate, if a guy doesn't wear a baseball cap, jeans and tee-shirts.... 24/7 he is could be considered gay. Doesn't take much. Not many metrosexuals up there!!
 
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