Republicans keep accusing Democrats of attacking Trump Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s faith. It’s a kind of pre-emptive attack, since Democrats aren’t engaging in the argument at all. It’s a Wizard of Oz moment: Pay no attention to the man behind the screen.
The man behind the screen is patriarchy. I couldn’t care less about which religion Barrett ascribes to. Yes, Barrett is a cult member, but not because her specific faction of Catholicism is a cult, but because all religions are cults — Patriarchal cults.
There is a bizarre notion that a strong woman can be a feminist while enthralled by patriarchal anti-egalitarian beliefs. That ain’t feminism. The founding principle of feminism is that all people, regardless of sex and gender, are of equal value. An obvious corollary is that everyone can control their own bodies and consensual reproductive behavior. Someone who says they value the life of a zygote as much as an actualized human woman is not a feminist. A person who believes that a male god put women on Earth to serve their husbands is not a feminist, even if she also believes that God wants her to be a Supreme Court judge.
The purpose of every religion is to maintain social order, to keep societies functioning. The myths of religions can put order to people’s understanding of the universe, but the primary reason we have religion is to keep the rulers in charge, and the rulers are generally men. You may have been taught that religion exists to make people moral, that without a document saying “thou shall not kill,” people would go about killing each other every time someone is cut off in traffic. But the top-tier function of religion is to control the masses of people so that some people can have unchallenged power and jurisdiction of other people.
How can an ordinary, or even a super-super-intelligent ordinary person fall for this? How can a person of color support a white supremacist president, or a woman believe her role is to serve men? It’s called internalized oppression: Internalized racism, internalized sexism, internalized homophobia. That’s the power of culture — it indoctrinates from an early age; its toxic beliefs are passed on even unintentionally by adults to children. It can make a small fish think it’s being true to itself by serving a shark.
There are a lot of great spinoffs to religion: songs that make you feel good, bake sales…. But those are things that have been invented by the cult members to make the cult more palatable, to enhance the feeling of community and to comfort people is distress. As good as those things are, they don’t erase the fundamental fact that the congregants are members of a patriarchal cult designed to maintain the dominion of men over others.
Note: This article was originally posted to my OCD-Free blog on Medium (which you should all be following). However, because it doesn’t fit well with the theme of that blog, I have decided to remove it and place it here, where no one cares. If you miss Daisybrain posts, and I know you do, follow both of my Medium blogs: