Evidence Suggests Patriarchal Religious Indoctrination Played a Primary Role in the 2016 Election

Hillary, Women, and Patriarchalism

Hillary, Women, and Patriarchalism

Hillary Rodham Clinton was the first woman to become a major party candidate for the office of President of the United States.

She was defeated by an unqualified, foul-mouthed, ignoramus who has regularly expressed his contempt for women, even though he claims that he “loves” them.

While it is not surprising that a majority of men voted for Donald Trump, it was stunning that fifty-three percent of white women actually refused to support the first female presidential candidate who had a good chance of winning.

The outcome of any election is determined by many interacting factors, but there is some evidence that patriarchal religious indoctrination assumed a primary role in the 2016 presidential race.

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A slight majority of Catholic voters (60%) favored Trump, while an overwhelming majority of fundamentalist Protestants (81%) preferred the bellicose billionaire. 

From the latter figure, it can be concluded that Donald Trump is the exemplar of the “Christ-centered life” because this term is central to fundamentalist ideology. The justification for patriarchal domination as a God-given mandate is, of course, Holy Scripture. 

Because so many Americans accept the myth of Judeo-Christian nationalism, it is entirely appropriate to look to the Bible as the source for this severely oppressive, anti-woman theme in fundamentalist Christianity. 

The content of the Bible was recorded, transmitted, and compiled over a span of almost two millennia in male-dominated, agrarian, Middle-Eastern societies. 

Therefore, the treatment of women in the Bible reflects the cultural context in which these chauvinistic rules and beliefs developed. 

Because these misogynistic edicts, decrees, and mandates were codified in the Judeo-Christian scriptures, they became part of a vast compendium of commandments that devotees today believe to be God’s perfect word. 

Origins of Patriarchalism

It was only after God created animals and birds, which Adam then named, that God fashioned woman as Adam’s helper from his spare rib (Genesis 2:22). 

The woman, Eve, caused the fall of humankind, at which time death entered the world. She ate the forbidden fruit and gave some to her husband, and he ate it as well (Genesis 3:6, 12). 

Eve’s punishment was painful labor in childbearing and total submission to her husband (Genesis 3:16). In 1 Timothy 2:13-14, Paul provided the Christian rendition of this fictitious event when he said that because Eve was the one who was deceived, it was she, and not Adam, who became the sinner. 

Obedience and subjugation of women are dominant themes throughout the Bible. For example, God approved of multiple wives and concubines for men (Genesis 4:19, 16:1-4; Judges 8:30; 2 Samuel 5:13; and 1 Kings 11:3), but he did not endorse multiple husbands for women. 

Moreover, a woman’s pledges, vows, or obligations could be subject to patriarchal nullification (Numbers 30).

Unjust Punishments

God generally considers women to be less valuable than men (Leviticus 27:1-7), an attitude reflected in several degrading Biblical regulations and judgments, such as the classification of a man’s wife as one of his possessions along with his slaves and livestock (Exodus 20:17). 

In a frightening illustration of cruel injustice, God ordered the rape of David’s wives to punish his disobedience (2 Samuel 12:11-12). 

In another instance of grisly punishment that should mortify “pro-life” zealots, God caused a woman to abort her fetus because she committed adultery (Numbers 5:21, 27). 

Equally horrible is the command that an unbetrothed virgin must marry her rapist (Deuteronomy 2: 28-29).

Interestingly, some Muslim countries like Jordan and Morocco have similar laws on their books and are currently changing or revoking them.

Some Capital Crimes

In additional heinous decrees and actions, God requires that women be killed for violations that are not viewed as crimes in contemporary Western societies. 

For example, an evil enchantress must be executed (Exodus 22:18), and unchaste brides must be stoned to death (Deuteronomy 22:21). Lot’s wife was instantly destroyed for disobeying the Lord’s command to not look back when her family was fleeing Sodom (Genesis 19:26). 

Arguably the most abhorrent event in the Bible is Jephthah’s sacrifice of his daughter, whom he unknowingly promised to God as a burnt offering (Judges 11:29-39). 

Why did God not spare Jephthah’s innocent daughter as he had done previously with Abraham’s innocent son, Isaac (Genesis 22:1-18)? 

Disgusting Attitude

Several gruesome episodes with a common theme illustrate another feature of God’s disgusting disregard for the lives of women. 

In one of them, Lot offered the men of Sodom his betrothed daughters in lieu of his male guests because handing over the guests would have violated the accepted standards of hospitality. But the men of Sodom rejected the young girls (Genesis 19: 4-10). 

In another episode, a Levite offered his concubine to a group of men in a similar circumstance; she died as a result of the ensuing gang rape (Judges 19:20-30). 

He cut the deceased concubine into twelve pieces and distributed them to the tribes of Israel, precipitating a murderous war with the Benjamites (Judges 20, 21). 

There are an additional four ghastly events in which the bellies of pregnant women were ripped open with swords, killing them and their fetuses (2 Kings 8:12, 15:16; Hosea 13:16; Amos 1:13).

Treacherous Women

There are many Bible stories about treacherous, dangerous, dishonest, manipulative, untrustworthy women. Three are notable for their savage behavior. Jael was clever, fierce, and violent. 

She killed General Sisera by hammering a tent peg through his skull into the ground while he was asleep (Judges 4:17-22). Delilah betrayed Samson to the Philistines for a monetary reward. The Philistines subsequently gouged out his eyes and imprisoned him (Judges 16:4-21). 

Evil Jezebel was most certainly the worst of all scriptural shrews. She arranged for Naboth to be falsely accused of blasphemy and then stoned to death so that her husband could take possession of Naboth’s vineyard (1 Kings 21:7-16). 

She was so diabolical that the prophet Elijah fled because he was afraid of her (1 Kings 19: 1-9). She suffered a brutal death herself (2 Kings 9: 30-37). Many centuries later, Jesus criticized the church in Thyatira for tolerating a false prophetess, also named Jezebel (Revelation 2:18-23). 

The depiction of women as untrustworthy even extends to political symbolism, as when Israel’s lack of fidelity to God is represented as the adultery of a faithless wife in Hosea 1-3. 

In fairness, it should be noted that there were heroines among the Hebrew women, including Ruth, Rahab, and Rachel.

Christian Womanhood

Along with slaves and children, wives are commanded to be under the jurisdiction of their husbands. Paul is the preeminent New Testament spokesman concerning Christian marital relationships. 

He said repeatedly that wives should submit to their husbands in everything because the husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is head of the church (Ephesians 5: 21- 23, Colossians 3:18-25). He did, however, stress that husbands should love their wives and not be harsh with them. 

Peter reiterated this advice concerning spousal submission and declared that wives should exhibit purity and reverence in their lives. 

He referred to wives as the “weaker partner” (1 Peter 3:1-7). In addition to marriage, Paul provided specific admonitions for women in the church. They should dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves only with good deeds. 

Women should learn in quietness and full submission, and they cannot teach or have authority over men (1 Timothy 2: 8-15). Moreover, it is disgraceful for women to speak in church (1 Corinthians 14: 34-35). 

Although Jesus did not specifically address women’s status in his ministry, it is clear that men were preferred. 

All twelve apostles were men, and the Last Supper was a stag affair, while women were typically portrayed as committed helpers or servants. 

The Christian Testament’s description of women’s roles is consistent with the definition in Proverbs 31 of the “wife of noble character” as capable, dutiful, dedicated to family, and fearing the Lord. 

The restrictions, limitations, and standards detailed above are enforced in many fundamentalist Christian churches today, even after two thousand years have elapsed. 

Does this testify to the enduring truth of traditional scriptural views of women or to the obstinacy of the dominant ecclesiastical patriarchy?


Brian Bolton

By Brian Bolton

A retired psychologist from Georgetown, Texas.

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