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Domestic Violence and Religion

1999
By Corey Gilkes

The recent comments made by ASJA on the subject of domestic violence are precisely why religion should be kept away from the process of education. The same week those statements were made my intelligence was further assaulted by more inane rantings from Pastor Winston Cuffie and his analysis of the horrific murder suicide of Wayne Phillip and his wife.

The pinning of the escalating cases of spousal abuse on common-law marriages must rank as a new record in stupidity. It also reflects our insistence in viewing our problems in a vacuum that is also devoid of any historical context.

Since ASJA wants to have us believe that common-law relationships are the principal causes of spousal abuse, I have a few questions for them: since when did domestic violence become limited to a common-law thing? And does this mean that the cases of spousal abuse in Goodwood Park, Westmoorings, Glencoe and St. Claire that are either hushed up or not reported, all common-law relationships? What about the hundreds of women beaten and killed in Europe and America every year, how many of them were attacked by common-law husbands? And while we are on the subject, let us look at something else; would the beating and killing of women in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Pakistan for, say, independent thought, just be a figment of my vivid imagination? [after all, these countries are supposed to be the seat of Islam so I assume they should know what is right ]. Hey, isn't it true that in some of these countries women are forbidden to even drive a vehicle [which in my view is tantamount to psychological violence]. But then, this is their custom, guided, by religion, right? My point here is simple: since these marriages are not common-law, what is your explanation for these atrocities against women?

As for you, Pastor Cuffie, since that ghastly murder-suicide is supposed to vindicate you in some way or the other, I have a couple questions for you. The above mentioned cases of spousal abuse that slip through - in spite of attempts to hush them up how much of these are the result of 'obeah'? Am I to understand that Christian unions are exempt from domestic violence? My research over the years as well as my personal interacting with people uncovered innumerable cases where good Christian husbands routinely beat their wives supported by Scriptural passages and even by members of the clergy! Now don't you dare argue that rubbish about taking quotations of the bible out of context. You know as well as I do that if one puts those passages in their proper historical context, one would see that the bible only 'divinely' codified the common practice of beating and killing of women. The writers and the redactors of the Old and New Testament were all fallible men who simply reflected the cultures of Greece, Rome Syria, Palestine or wherever they came from. Most of them thought nothing of beating women, particularly women who tried to be intelligent [or haven't you been reading Paul, or St. Augustine, or Jerome and the other early Church Fathers?].

So, instead of these egocentric rantings, find the courage to explore the evil of domestic violence starting from its roots in the patriarchal cultures of primordial Europe/Eurasia. Cultures which were enshrined in such books as the Bible and the Qu'ran. Cultures which spread to other parts of the world, often by force, profoundly affecting other cultures some of which did not even have a word in their vocabulary for 'rape' and 'wife-beating'. Or at the very least, try not to make ignorance seem so virtuous.

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