Here is an oped piece I wrote and submitted to several newspapers. We will see if it gets published.
The Curse of Sexual Fundamentalism
Darrel W. Ray, Ed.D.
I am a native of Wichita, Kansas, and grew up amidst the fundamentalism that infects that once proud and progressive town. With the assassination of Dr. George Tiller, it is time to recognize that Kansas has been for sometime, an incubator for crazy ideas and behavior, much like the Swat valley in Pakistan has served to incubate the Taliban. The behavior of fundamentalists in Kansas, is only different in degree. With the murder of Dr. George Tiller, that degree has now vanished. Dr. Tiller was an incredibly brave man, having endured many death threats and being shot twice in the past, he nevertheless lived his values and supported women’s right to choose. The Kansas Taliban-like Christians have done their best to persecute and harass him at ever turn including a bogus trial and constant legal attack from the former Kansas attorney general. Dr. Tiller faced every challenge and never bowed. His assassination is the latest act in a campaign to silence him and others who would challenge the misogynistic religion of Christian fundamentalists.
You may think that the term “assassination” is a bit of overkill. It is not, Dr. Tiller was murdered for his political views and activity no less than Dr. Martin Luther King or President Lincoln. Assassins murder to silence someone’s political views and activities. Dr. Tiller was assassinated. We who support his views know that this was an attack on us as well. The assassin and his fundamentalist ilk would silence us as well if they had the power.
Do not be fooled by the crocodile tears of the religious right who decry violence and say they do not condone murder. Where were they when Dr. Tiller was being mercilessly harassed and could not get effective protection from Federal authorities under the Bush administration. Did they denounce the death threats? Did they decry the vandalism? Did they call out the fundamentalist Kansas Attorney general, Phil Kline, for his bogus legal actions that came to nothing? No, they aided and abetted his persecutors through their vocal support and voting him into office. Now one of their strongest leaders, Randal Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, the serial Christian adulterer, has said what many fundamentalists believe,
"The point that must be emphasized over, and over, and over again: pro-life leaders and the pro-life movement are not responsible for George Tiller's death. George Tiller was a mass-murderer and, horrifically, he reaped what he sowed."
In other words, blame the victim for the crime. Just as women have often been blamed if they were raped, Dr. Tiller is blamed for his own murder. It is a thinly veiled threat to all others who might stand up for a woman’s right to choose what is already hers under the law. It is a not so subtle message, “You too may be harassed and ultimately murdered if you do not agree with our religious dogma.” This was not just an attack on one brave man, but an attack on women, and our right to live in peace under the law. The sexual fundamentalists have not been able to do what they want through legal processes, so they resort to intimidation, threats, vandalism, harassment and censorship.
Assassination is a terroristic tactic of the Taliban and Al Queda. It serves to silence and intimidate those who would question their dogma. Christians who wish to impose their views about reproduction on the rest of society, are no different than clerics in Pakistan preaching against Western values, encouraging violent responses to girls going to school, wearing western clothes or having the right to divorce their abusive husbands. Fundamentalists of all stripes see themselves as god’s anointed enforcers, be it by censorship, harassment, intimidation or murder. They not only fight against abortion but also against birth control, sex education and gay marriage - all issues that are basic to our American constitutional right of freedom and liberty.
You may notice how all of these issues are related to sex and sexuality. As I demonstrate in my book, The God Virus: How Religion Infects our Lives and Culture, sexual control and guilt are the most important infection channels for Christianity, Islam, Mormonism, and many others. There is a reason that these religions place so much emphasis on brainwashing people into their particular view of sex. Without sexual guilt, these religions would lose their power to infect and hold people.
It is time for those of us who are less religious or non-religious to recognize that Dr. Tiller’s assassination was a symptom of the underlying disease of sexual fundamentalism in our society; it is a disease that infects the mind through messages of sexual guilt and control. If you want to understand Christianity and Islam, look carefully at how they use messages of sexual guilt to infect people and subjugate women. From the idea of original sin to Paul’s and Jesus’ views on sex and marriage, Christianity is a religion of female sexual control. That is why Dr. Tiller was harassed and ultimately killed. He dared to say that women are the best judges of their sexuality. In his own words, “Trust women’s judgment.” That is something that strikes fear the heart of sexual fundamentalists.
Let me be clear, sexual fundamentalism is a disease that fuels much of the struggle with religionists today. Dr. Tiller is a victim of sexual fundamentalism, a dogma that seeks to take control of schools, marriages, women’s reproduction, congress, the judiciary and all it can reach. Call this battle what it is – the fight to use sex and sexuality to impose fundamentalist beliefs upon our nation.