Full Disclosure: I never believed the Creation Myth was real.
I was raised Protestant. Mostly Mainstream Protestant, which I know doesn’t count to the fundamentalist right, but still. In Sunday School, of course, we learned the Old Testament’s Greatest Hits. I had a Sunday School teacher, Dayton Lewis, who called himself a fundamentalist, but even he glossed over the question of whether we were all descended from Adam and Eve. I was always suspicious of that, and the Noah’s Ark story, because it seemed weird to me, even as a child, that Adam and Eve’s children — brothers and sisters — married each other and had babies. Animals, too, would have had to do that after getting off the Ark. It struck me as wrong, because I was raised on a farm, and we had sheep. My father made sure to rotate out the ram to prevent it from mating with its sisters. He explained this was because inbreeding hurt the flock, causing malformed sheep.
So if Adam and Eve were the first humans — and the only ones at the time — and their kids married each other and had babies, I raised my hand one Sunday to ask Mr. Lewis, “Does that mean their kids were all deformed?” I didn’t stop there, because I had a habit of thinking aloud, and taking things to their logical extreme. “And then the next generation would have had to marry their siblings or their first cousins…” so it’d still be too close for genetic comfort. “Does that mean, Mr. Lewis, that Christians are inbred?” I had worked my self up into a frenzy of genetic concern.
Mr. Lewis, not accustomed to being challenged by second graders, especially girls with animal husbandry experience, reassured me. “Times were different then,” he said. But that didn’t do anything to reassure me.
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A few years later, we would again discuss the creation story, but this time, older and more attuned to the social justice movements of the late sixties and seventies, I had a new insight as I contemplated Adam and Eve. Again, I raised my hand, an action that Mr. Lewis, a kind man who really believed in his mission of Christian education, had come to dread. “So that means, then, that if all people are descended from Adam and Eve, we truly are equal, right? Like in the song, red and yellow, black and white — we really are all brothers and sisters under the skin!”
This notion excited me, but it alarmed the adults. “Yes,” Mr. Lewis responded, “but many have strayed…” Again, my hand. “Strayed? OK, maybe, but we’re all equal, right? Despite our skin?” I felt as if I had just solved the problem of civil rights. He didn’t seem quite as enthusiastic.
When I got older, of course, I learned about evolution, and it just made a whole more sense to me. I couldn’t believe, when I read about the Scopes Monkey trial in seventh or eighth grade, that people were arguing about whether we should teach evolution in the classroom. Of course we should, I thought. Because by now, churches (at least the ones I went to) were walking back The Garden of Eden story, selling it as metaphor, the type of stories village elders might pass down in an oral tradition.
So I’ve always wondered why, today more than ever, fundamentalists are pushing that story as fact, and insisting it be taught alongside evolution. Was it just ignorance? But recently, with the GOP War on Women, I finally put 2+2 together, and came up with a theory. I began to suspect men had made up this story, and included it in the bible just to keep women down. And Jesse Lee Petersen just proved to me that my theory = 4!
Watch this video and you’ll see what I mean:
See, I finally realized that fundamentalists don’t give a hoot about Adam and Eve populating the world. What they care about is keeping the Eve and the Apple story alive. That way, they can blame women for all the evils of the world. When you combine the Eve story with God’s alleged command — heard by no one, BTW — that man is to rule the earth, assisted by woman, and you’ve got yourself every reason in the world to subjugate women to men.
I listen to the venom perpetuated by the Right, but I must admit, I haven’t read enough of the religious materials on which they are based. I can see I’ve been remiss in keeping up with how God wants to punish me now. Read this website about how women shouldn’t use anesthesia during childbirth, because labor pains are God’s payback for Eve’s sin. There are some lovely comments there about how it is God’s will if a woman dies in childbirth for lack of anesthesia. That giving anesthesia during childbirth is sin, for which a doctor will burn in hell.
But Rev. Petersen lays it all out for us. Women are not capable of handling power, we get stressed far too easily, and because we have gotten power, America is on death’s door. In the “good old days,” which he refers to often, men weren’t scared of women and took care of business when a woman spoke out of turn, presumably by beating them. But women –who represent the material temptations of life and are ruled by Satan — took care of that, by getting laws passed to preventing men from performing their duty. To the point now where men are afraid of women, an abomination before God.
The problem can be traced, according to Rev. Petersen, to giving the women the vote. Now, he despairs, that with 50 percent of the vote, women are picking the wrong people for powerful positions, and America is on the road to ruin. He weighs in on Sandra Fluke, and women like her, misquoting her but more or less regurgitating el Rushbo’s hate speech. Of course, he conveniently glosses over the fact that these women only need birth control if they are having sex with men, a fact which he seems to have forgotten. And he also seems to forget that the same men — our Founding Fathers — who did not give women the right to vote also did not see fit to give it to black men, either.
And then he comes full circle by concluding that because women have been given power, we are now saddled with gay marriage. His logic is a little fuzzy there, since gay men aren’t really too interested in, well, anything about women, but I figured it out. Men who are gay, in that they both catch and pitch, make themselves like women, and who but someone evil and gross would emulate anything so evil and gross as a woman?
So now you know, people. Christian males want their kingdom back, as the Good Lord intended. And they won’t stop until they’ve gotten it.