Men, stop telling women what to do

Dilemma: Should I cover my daughter's feet? Or should I get a priest to baptise her first?

Dilemma: Should I cover my daughter’s ankles? Or should I baptise her first?


In a previous recording I said I don’t know if it is justifiable to make it a law that

women have to cover their bodies in order to prevent all these problems stemming from the “fact” that young men cannot control themselves.

Of course, I lied when I said “I don’t know”.

I think I know what is better.

Like everyone else, I have a very strong opinion and I’m convinced that my opinion is the more “correct” one, that there is more GOOD in it.

However, I’ll let you be the judge of that since this is a dialogue among equals.

Here’s my opinion:

It is not on us (=men) to decide.

It is not on us

  • Muslim men
  • Jewish men
  • Romanian Orthodox Christian men
  • Catholic men

to decide whether the woman’s head, face, hair, ankles etc. need to be covered.

I do not think that in all these societies, in which men have been masters for so many centuries, men should still be deciding rules for women.

I think women in each of these societies should (be able to) come forward and decide for themselves.

Call me a radical.

However, even this modest proposal presents us with a huge problem in any of the above-mentioned societies.

This is why I’m always hesitant in revealing my opinions which I hold to be better, to be superior in terms of GOOD, in terms of equality, in terms of looking at the Other as a dialogue partner.

Why do I hesitate? Why do I fear? Because a lot of people will be hurt, a lot of people will feel that their sensibilities, their tastes, their cultural learning have been offended.

Many people may feel that their beliefs have been (in some way) invalidated by what I say or somebody else says when we declare that

“Women should have the right to choose if they cover themselves or not”.

All this shows you that we live in a very strange period of our history as homo sapiens because we do not live up to our own definition of homo as including both man and woman.

Notice that in all these cases we have a religious aspect:

we don’t think about this issue as a human rights problem.

This is how sad the story is:

We think that it is a religious problem.

Now, who has come up with (and written down) these holy scriptures? Men. So of course men decide.

It is past time we had a dialogue with women and let them decide. At least in terms of what they wear. Or maybe we can have a dialogue:

We (women) will do this and we’ll do this, but you (men) will have to do this.

For example, ask men to stop telling women all the time what to do.

That would be a good start.

So yeah, I’m a radical from this point of view, and the fact that I’m a radical tells us that we’re in a really sorry state of inequality between genders because we frame it in terms of religion:

People don’t discuss religion.

It is very difficult to discuss religion, because people FEEL so strongly about religion.

I’ve had and still have (allow me to get personal here) a huge fight ahead of me just in refusing and postponing baptising my daughter. I’m Romanian and everyone is thinking:

Of course you’re going to baptise your daughter, make her a Christian.

If not, she’s going to go to hell.

It’s as basic as that. It’s as (and sorry for saying this so bluntly) mean-spirited as that:

If you’re a Christian and you believe that, you have just condemned a baby (who cannot speak yet) to hell at this point.

I’m sorry if you’re an Orthodox Christian and this comes as a shock to you:

Your belief system has just condemned my daughter (in particular) and millions and billions of others (many of them just children like my daughter who cannot yet speak), your belief system has condemned them all to hell.

Why? Because that’s what it says in the Book, right? Does it say so in the Book?

When was Jesus baptised? How old was he then?

Canon 110. (Greek cxii. bis)

That infants are baptized for the remission of sins

Likewise it seemed good that whosoever denies that infants newly from their mother’s wombs should be baptized, or says that baptism is for remission of sins, but that they derive from Adam no original sin, which needs to be removed by the laver of regeneration, from whence the conclusion follows, that in them the form of baptism for the remission of sins, is to be understood as false and not true, let him be anathema.

For no otherwise can be understood what the Apostle says, By one man sin has come into the world, and death through sin, and so death passed upon all men in that all have sinned, than the Catholic Church everywhere diffused has always understood it. For on account of this rule of faith (regulam fidei) even infants, who could have committed as yet no sin themselves, therefore are truly baptized for the remission of sins, in order that what in them is the result of generation may be cleansed by regeneration.

The following, says Surius, is found in this place in a very ancient codex. It does not occur in the Greek, nor in Dionysius. Bruns relegates it to a foot-note.

[Also it seemed good, that if anyone should say that the saying of the Lord, In my Father’s house are many mansions is to be understood as meaning that in the kingdom of heaven there will be a certain middle place, or some place somewhere, in which infants live in happiness who have gone forth from this life without baptism, without which they cannot enter the kingdom of heaven, which is eternal life, let him be anathema. For after our Lord has said: Unless a man be born again of water and of the Holy Spirit he shall not enter the kingdom of heaven, what Catholic can doubt that he who has not merited to be coheir with Christ shall become a sharer with the devil: for he who fails of the right hand without doubt shall receive the left hand portion.]

So we have a whole problem in Romania (and in Christianity) because just with baptism we have already destroyed our argument for a universal brotherhood and sisterhood of men and women by being so narrow-minded.

Let me spell it out for you, Christians everywhere:

“Not baptised” means going to hell. Is it the limbo? Where do the unbaptised go?

It’s mean.

If it’s mean, can we improve it then?

I’m asking what can we do, but I’m coming from a different perspective because I haven’t baptised my daughter.

I’ve stood against the current and I’ve felt the huge pressure you have to resist simply for not carrying out this ritual forward, simply for saying:

I think she’ll be OK.

I think you hold a false belief about what is actually happening in this world.

I think you allow yourself to be deluded about the state of reality because you choose to interpret it based on a single, very old book which is no longer applicable

Raise your hands for “Stone to death those who [insert crime]”

in relation to the present reality, in relation to our current knowledge about ourselves and about Others.

This is not just a conflict with Nature, with what we know after the scientific revolution, but also with what we know about other people.

The dialogues we’ve had with other people (should) have enabled us to realise that our own religion is a peculiar incident, something that occurred with us because we were born in a particular society, culture, time, place.

It is not because we (our race, our tribe, our people) were personally chosen.

It is not because somebody has planted humankind on this planet.

We’ve started from a place and it’s in AFRICA in case you think it’s Jerusalem, or in case you think it’s New York, or in case you think it’s Kyoto, or in case you think it’s Beijing, or in case you think it’s I-don’t-know-what-place.

We’ve started in Africa.

How did it start and where were we many, many, many years ago?

What did we do in the many thousands of years before we managed to talk to each other, before we managed to write to each other, before we managed to have dialogues with each other?

Roaming this planet, coming up with our stories, our myths, our religions.

Mind you, nobody is saying

“Throw the books in the bin and burn them”.

We’re not advocating the communist approach that “religion is the opium of the people” and it needs to be destroyed. Religion is not something we need to destroy.

Religion needs to be faced with the sort of honesty that would allow us to have dialogues on an equal footing with other people.

If it does not allow equal dialogues between people on this planet, then it is not relevant because it does not reflect our current agreement about each other.

It does not reflect anything about

  • who we think we are
  • who we say we are
  • who we want to be &
  • who we want everybody else to be.

If we’re just politically correct about who we give equal status to, then we’re facing (in the near future) another cataclysm

from Greek kataklysmos “deluge, flood, inundation,” from kataklyzein “to deluge,” from kata “down” + klyzein “to wash”

and we know how cataclysms have turned out so far, we know what we’re capable of.

We’ve come up with rational dialogues and now we need to be consistent in our words and actions.

So that’s my comment on religion(s) and that’s my comment on whether women should cover their bodies:

men should just shut up and stop telling women (around the world) what to do.


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