I’m not a biblical scholar but there is a wonderful passage in Matthew called “The Woes of the Pharisees and Scribes,” in which Christ – the son of God in Christianity, and a revered prophet in Judaism and Islam – excoriates the leaders of the church and state for their sins. I’ve updated it somewhat:
Who are these feared and fearful patriarchs, these lawgivers, and porers over sacred texts?
… Middle-Eastern elders who find in sacred texts the right to sell their daughters in marriage to their friends and then to hunt them down and kill them when they flee in terror,
… African elders who find in tribal tradition the right to ensure their infant daughters never grow up to know the passion of their gender,
… modern day Scribes and Pharisees, who themselves survived the worst genocidal annihilations of the last century along with the Romany, gays, Poles, and Slavs – who then seek in their sacred texts the right to subjugate their women and daughters and to ensure their hegemony in lands and territories,
… popes, cardinals, and priests who debate “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin” and find in their sacred tomes a pretext for preventing women from dispensing sacraments or having their say in the perpetuation of the race, who in the face of poverty jealously hoard their wealth and, when confronted with their own sins of child sexual abuse, bury evidence,
… Christians who mine the Bible, a writ of other men, to justify hierarchies of race and gender and disguise their own terror of the full range of human sexuality,
… And the Supreme lawgivers of our nation whose male majority find in their “originalist interpretations” of our Constitution:
– That money is now free speech, even if the result is that the rich can now drown out the voices of the poor,
– That corporate enterprises of men are, in fact, men themselves and have the same rights, even though corporations are innately amoral and aspiritual, lacking intrinsic art or ethics,
– That our emerging oligarchy, a concentration of power and wealth that those who wrote the Constitution strove to prevent in their nascent democracy, is now a good thing.
We must ask ourselves if Mohammed, Christ, Buddha, Jefferson, and Maimonides and the other prophets and freethinkers about whom men have written and argued since language and story began were here today, would they endorse such interpretations and find them the fulfillment of their hopes for mankind?
Who are these fearful men? And, I must ask myself, am I one of them?