Thursday, January 7, 2010

Odds 'N Ends

1) Mary Daly

Via Feminist Law Profs, feminist theologian Mary Daly recently passed away on January 3, 2010. Daly was, in my humble opinion, one of the most influential thinkers with respect to sexism and male-centricity in Christianity. Without apology, she critiqued the notion of "God the Father" and aptly explained how such a notion legitimated the oppression of women and made male superiority appear "natural." Many other feminist religious scholars have built upon her ideas.

From her obituary, in the National Catholic Reporter:

"Studying archetypal forms and prepatriarchal religion convinced Daly that church doctrine consisted of a series of significant 'reversals.' She explained these to NCR writer Jeanette Batz in 1996:

* the Trinity, from the triple goddess once celebrated worldwide;
* the virgin birth, from the parthenogenesis that once begat divine daughters;
* Adam giving birth to Eve."

She also acknowledged that patriarchy is bigger than any one religion or belief system. It is embedded in our society, and will not be eradicated by merely making organized religion more female-friendly:

"And so Daly would like to say: 'I urge you to Sin. ... But not against these itty-bitty religions, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism -- or their secular derivatives, Marxism, Maoism, Freudianism and Jungianism -- which are all derivatives of the big religion of patriarchy. Sin against the infrastructure itself!'"

I don't, of course, agree with everything she ever did or said, particularly her early transphobic thoughts. However, her own human failings do not erase the contributions she made to feminist religious thought. Perhaps it's time to re-read The Church and the Second Sex, in her honor. With a sharply critical eye. I doubt she'd want it any other way.

[UPDATE: Check out Historiann's post and commentary relating to the "I of course don't agree with everything Daly ever did or said"/transphobia issue.

2) "Comprehensive" Immigration Bill Leaves Out Same-Sex Couples

One of the many legal benefits of marriage`is the ability to claim a spouse for green card immigration purposes. This legal privilege is not available to same-sex couples since, under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the federal government may not treat same-sex couples how it treats heterosexual couples. One of the ways to rectify this injustice would be to pass a law that recognized same-sex couples as "families" for green card sponsorship purposes.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez recently introduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act of 2009. Unfortunately, this inaptly-named proposed bill does not include a provision that would allow a person to sponsor a same-sex partner for immigration.

3) Uganda's State-Sanctioned Hate

This New York Times article on gays in Uganda was interesting. Oftentimes, mainstream media articles about the experiences of "gay people" in repressive non-American countries actually only reference the experiences of gay men. This trend is so common that one is led to wonder if gay women and other gender-nonconforming people exist at all in these countries.

The NYT article, however, acknowledges and references the experiences of transgender people in Uganda. While that is refreshing and informative, the article, you will notice, also seems to place transgender people into the category of "gay men and lesbians."

Baby steps, I suppose.

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