For the purposes of this blog I will limit myself to the big 3: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, and in the Christian religion I include Protestants and Catholics.
There is definitely a double standard when it comes to how these 3 religions are treated versus how the newer religions are treated. All 3 of them use a lot of the same books. I am not that familiar with the Koran but from what I’ve read by Hitchens, Barker, and Dawkins, the Koran shares a lot of characters with the other 2 but the timeline is about 500 years off. (As if either the Bible or the Koran dare to put a date on anything)
We can start with Islam because it is the easiest of the 3, I believe. The Muslim religion is famous for treating women as property. They cannot divorce an abusive husband and the penalty for adultery is death. The penalty for even being in the presence of men alone is death. Whether or not anything ever happened doesn’t matter; the appearance is enough. Any woman who acts independently and defies her families’ wishes has dishonored her family, and then it becomes the duty of male family members to kill her so that family honor can be restored.
I will use the example of Warren Jeff’s cult, The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (a Fundamentalist Mormon church), more than once to show the double standard. Jeff’s cult never killed any girls but he would marry off girls as young as 12 to adult men in his church. He was also convicted of having sex with underage girls and even incest. Now I don’t defend what he did one bit, but Jeffs only raped his victims. He didn’t kill them. I don’t see the federal or state governments going after any Muslims for how they treat women. It’s not even as hidden behind the scenes as in the FLDS. The Muslim religion has it written down in the only book they claim as truth. Some might say that only extremist practice this extreme form. However, how do you know who the extremists are? To date I have not heard of one instance where a mosque has been raided for promoting the sexual abuse of women.
The US also refuses to do business, and limits trade, with communist countries (eg. Cuba, N. Korea) because of human rights violations. What about the violations of women’s rights in the oil producing countries of the Middle East. The last time I checked women were still being treated as property in Saudi Arabia. Good news though, they got the right to vote in 2015, but they are still not allowed drive.
Now let’s look at Judaism. Not only does the religion get a pass but we give the pass to the whole country of Israel. We won’t delve into their treatment of women as they don’t appear to be as extreme BUT let’s remember that their book says to treat them as property and/or second class citizens. However, if you review the history of Israel it didn’t even exist as a country till 1949. Before that the Israelis acted like the terrorists. I’m not defending Palestinian terrorist but Israel has unlawfully detained many Palestinians and other Arabs for decades, but the US supports them and we give them a pass. If anyone listened to Netanyahu’s United Nations speech where he spoke of the “red line” in reference to Iran’s nuclear program, he actually says Israelis were promised their land by god. That’s the entire Israeli claim. God gave it to us. As ridiculous as this sounds, his entire reason for the existence of a Jewish State is that it is God’s will. He says this on national television in a speech at the UN and he quoted the bible on at least 5 occasions, and we don’t hear a peep out of any government official as to how ludicrous this sounds. We also demand that Iran be transparent with their nuclear program but we don’t require the same of Israel. Why not?
Let’s also review the Jewish tradition of circumcision, or as Hitchens calls it, genital mutilation. Jewish authors as early as the 1st century wrote, in defense of the act, that it should be done as early as possible because it would not likely be done to someone of their own free will. So we basically circumcise babies because he might not let you cut him when he’s older. So we prosecute cults for molesting young girls but let the Jewish people cut off a portion of a baby’s penis because it is a religious rite.
Now for my favorite, the Christians: I’ll separate them into 2 categories (Protestants and Catholics) because they seem to love to separate themselves from … themselves. I can particularly relate to these lunatics because I used to be one of them. Protestants practice a form of child abuse nobody wants to speak of. I call it the fire and brimstone sermon, and it’s designed to scare the hell out of you. You take a 5 yr. old boy (or younger) and put him in church on Sunday to listen to the stories of the Old Testament. Noah’s Ark, Adam and Eve getting kicked out of Eden, Moses and the exodus from Egypt and all the other fairy tales. You convince him this homicidal, misogynist, genocidal, homophobic, racist, baby killing god loves you but if you don’t develop a close personal relationship with his son he will throw you in the lake of fire to burn FOREVER. They give you coloring books to teach you these lovely stories. Every kid loves to color the animals from the ark. Now they separate you in the morning in Sunday school based on age groups and you get taught by a “church elder”, who may or may not have an understanding of the history of his religion or bible, but he has faith that it is true. You’re in a group and are discouraged from disagreeing with the central theme which is that all this bullshit is fact and you must worship god or go to hell. Imagine a 5 yr. old trying to grasp these concepts. Then after Sunday School you get to go to the main church where you hear some preacher give a sermon on some other part of the bible. During the sermon (or even after) there is no Q&A session. You must just accept what you are told; and if you dare question anything, you are told “The devil is trying to test your faith so don’t ask questions!” (Just like cults discourage questions).
You are subjected to this mental abuse every Sunday morning. Then you get to go back for the evening dose (except I think you might be excused Super Bowl Sunday). Then you get the Wednesday evening business meeting but young people go to class again because church business is “none of their business”. Then if all that isn’t enough, during your summer off from school you have to go to Vacation Bible School to learn about the Bible (which by the way, you should never question for it is the word of God and so they don’t delve into the major contradictions). The entire week is an indoctrination which leads up the big Sunday night celebration/presentation of all you’ve learned before the entire church at the Sunday evening worship service. I remember watching a YouTube video of a 6 year old child singing a song and the line quoted was “ain’t no homos gonna get into heaven”. At 6 I doubt very much he even knew what a “homo” was, but at age 6 he knew it was evil, and the crowd roared with applause. It’s true that bigotry must be taught to children because on their own they wouldn’t know to hate those that are different just for being different. Children are naturally curious and all the Protestant religion does is to kill their curiosity by telling them not to ask the question that ministers hate; and that question is: WHY ___ (fill in the blank)______? But don’t worry. If they can’t answer it rationally, they use the line from a song which is “because the bible tells me so”.
Now my question is why do the Protestants get a pass on this child abuse? The state takes children away from parents that expose their children to drugs, sex and violence every day. They take kids away from prostitute mothers because children shouldn’t be exposed to a sexually charged environment. Have these people read the Bible? Read what God tells the Jews to do after winning battle against an enemy. Kill all the male children and women who have known men, but keep the virgins for themselves. Sounds to me like promoting child sex slaves. How many times have you read about religious parents who pray for the kids instead of giving them antibiotics or some life- saving surgery? These are Protestant religions, so they get a pass in America.
Now can we not say that all Warren Jeffs wanted to do was to home school his girls and teach them his religion? He goes to jail and the other Reverend a*holes continue to collect checks every week and damage children psychologically with horrific fairy tales. Tell a child the horror stories every night and scare him so bad he can’t function and he gets rescued by the state; but read from the bible every night and you’re a Christian parent.
Recently Dr. Marlene Winell (author of Leaving the Fold – A Guide for former fundamentalists and others leaving their religion) formally labeled what I have described here as Religious Trauma Syndrome. Maybe RTS is only a recent diagnosis, and studies have yet to be completed, but common sense should tell you it is psychologically damaging to children to be told things like you are made imperfect, believe or you go to hell forever, women are inferior, and all the other beliefs that we know today are just wrong and immoral. Some may believe that mental abuse is a stretch, but just because Protestants have been around so long and are an established religion, doesn’t mean they should get a pass. Slavery and racism had been around for centuries too and through reason and common sense we realized it was immoral. The one reason they survived as long as they did was because they were profitable; and isn’t that really one of the main reasons that religions survive today? They are profitable ventures and there is too much money being made to just let them die without a fight.
Finally, we get to the easiest religion to criticize. Catholics have got to be the worst. I’ll say this for most Protestants. Most don’t help pedophiles hide and get away with rape. To borrow a bit from Bill Maher; “When you molest hundreds you are called a cult. When you molest thousands they call you pope.” We criticize and refuse to trade with countries who practice human rights violations but I have never heard an elected official say one thing about the Vatican. The Vatican is a country unto itself. People forget the deal they cut with Mussolini to achieve their autonomy. A country founded on a great crime and it continues today because no American politician (except Jesse Ventura) has the balls to suggest prosecuting them under the RICO Act. They even have their own bank.
We have prosecuted and seized assets of cults and their leaders for decades. The Catholic Church’s assets are easier to find, and their crimes easier to prove, but they get a pass. Even when Cardinal William Lynn in Philadelphia was finally sentenced to 3-6 years in prison for helping cover up and move around the pedophile priest, the church said the penalty was too harsh. He could have gotten a straight 6 years and probably should have. I think they should put him in the same prison as Warren Jeffs. In recent news though Lynn has appealed his conviction on a technicality. He admits he screwed up but now wants to go back to working for the church; and they are more than willing to have him back. Just like the Mafia welcomes back members that don’t rat out other members.
In conclusion, you cannot dance around this issue of the double standard for the “established religions”. They do some of the same stuff the cults do and get away with it. We shouldn’t think of it as hindering religious freedom, but as prosecuting criminals. I think a simple test should apply. If your holy book promotes criminal and immoral acts you shouldn’t get a pass. You should be treated the same as a cult if you act on them. The problem is most law enforcement officials are Protestants or Catholics. In court you have to swear on a bible and say “so help me god”. How many court houses have a copy of the Ten Commandments out front?
Seems to me Christians have found a way to make sure they get this pass because they have indoctrinated the law enforcement officials.