Monday, October 24, 2011

Women's Persecution by the Church

Even as a young girl, I didn’t buy the whole story. I remember being about 11 years old and having been raised in a Catholic Church, prepared for my First Holy Communion ceremony, going to Sunday School and learning all manners of things they teach kids about Jesus and the rules and God and Heaven and Hell. I had figured Santa Clause out, looked up books in the library about sex and hated when my mom answered me with, “Because God made it that way.” It was never enough. But the thing I hated most was the way people talked about Eve.
            My parents had a huge painting of The Last Supper on a wooden board in their bedroom. Weird place to have this hanging around but it was there and I remember being sick and home from school and studying that painting. I loved it. I knew there was a woman in it and I knew it was Jesus’ lover. I never asked and never had anyone interpret it to me, but I just knew. I knew something sneaky was up and they were telling secrets and the guy in the corner was a liar. I knew there was something being hidden under that draped table cloth, people playing footsies with each other. I could just feel it in my young mind. The picture was sexy to me, in a weird way, intriguing, mysterious. I knew there was symbolism that I think my genes understood but I couldn’t put it into words.

            Imagine my excitement as a young adult woman who had already separated from the church and studied religions from all over the world. I was a not so closeted but not really out of the closet pagan type, who had just got my hands on this controversial book, “The DaVinci Code.” Oh How I reveled in the conspiracy, how I felt like Dan Brown was telling a story I knew in my heart HAD to be true, after all, history backs up so much of it. Common sense tells you that his version is so much more likely than religious scholars would have you know. Political warfare, men who were greedy and wanted power, killing an important man who wanted peace and equality, and succeeding, but leaving his wife, with child. Oh no, that was not going to work. So defamation is the first course of action, ignoring, demonizing and continuing to repress the voice of women who sought peace, logic, and harmony with their surroundings. What more can be an enemy of men who are power hungry?

            Of course it didn’t start with Mrs. Christ, and it certainly didn’t end with her as Mr. Langdon and Mr. Sauniere reveal in The DaVinci Code. So many cultures have sought to humiliate women, control them, own them. So many still do. But the gendercide that has plagued this planet has been fueled at such an intensity by the Church, to ignore it and act like it never happened and deny the rights of women to restore their original place in society is just one more way of continuing the mistreatment of them. 

            Above all things, women are the creators of life, the very essence of our primal being, the need to reproduce is as strong as the need to eat. I often wonder how many men would be inhabiting this planet if women weren’t making babies and feeding people. In childbirth, women form the very bonds that create a biological safety net to protect their children, our future. They nourish them with their own bodies, if all goes well, for more than 2 years from conception to weaning, and then continue to care for them and not only take care of the young, but old alike as well as their husbands and other relatives or members of their communities if they are able. It must be terribly confusing to a man to see women give so freely of their bodies to create and nurture life, such a selfless act in so many cases.

            Birth is an experience that would prove to be one of the biggest misconceptions amongst men over time. The Bible will explain the pain of labor a price paid by women for their sin of temptation. I would like to reinterpret that to be that the discomforts of labor, to bear a child is the price paid by a woman who engaged in sex, which is a product (if we are lucky) of temptation, and temptation is not all that bad. And in the book, “Medicine and Society in France” by Forester and Ranum, they claim after being introduced to a publication of theories by Dr. Engelmann that, “There has been a widespread acceptance of the idea that the length of labor and the intensity of the pain felt increases with the degree of civilization” and that child birth was easier for women who were more connected to nature, such as those in some African Tribes (there are many tribes that are just as repressive to the women, mutilating their genitalia and considering them property) and how short and easy their births were. It seems with shame of the body and of the act that brought the baby to the womb combined with the fear instilled into civilized, God fearing women, that only then did childbirth become dangerous and painful. There are accounts from all over the world of women in matriarchal societies having amazing births that are easy and hardly resulted in  maternal or infant death when compared to populations of people who are or are attempting to be civilized. Furthermore, these matriarchal societies are often the types that are living close to nature and practicing some form of Goddess Worship, honoring the sacred feminine and exposing the life giving energies surrounding sex as sacred and honorable.

            Calling temptation a sin and saying you shall be punished for it or for causing it to others has created much mental anguish over thousands of years. In an attempt to curtail sexual irresponsibility, the Church has literally mutilated the minds and bodies of countless people, from unnecessary circumcisions ( on both males and females) to brainwashing people into believing that sexual feelings, the biggest instinct of our animal bodies, are evil, to people being sexually abused by religious authority figures by manipulating them to believe they are serving God by pleasuring their leaders.  Instead of men claiming the power of self control, it was easier to demonize women and blame them for the cause of all things sexually desirable. 

            Besides the cultural repression of a woman’s sexuality and her being shamed into a painful and dangerous birth history, the actual proof that lies in the Malleus Maleficarum,  or also known as the “Witches Hammer” is enough to make any woman seriously question if we will ever know the true nature of women. We have undergone such a blatant massacre (over 5 million women executed for supposed witchcraft)  and continue to scare into submission the survivors. This book was published in 1487 by Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger and told the reader that “the Devil’s presence was strongest where human sexuality is concerned” and  of course women were believed to be more sexual than men so they must be the cause of it, even accused of  having sex with the Devil himself because they were so insatiable. The writers wanted the readers to believe that women were weaker than men and so women with strong personalities or who were smarter than the average women (or man) must be a witch and must be tortured and killed. Even more disgusting was the ways in which healers and midwives were targeted for helping other women and for knowing how natural medicines worked to ease the ails of women. If a woman who was “over used” by her husband, having too many children in succession and was in danger of dying in childbirth, wanted to have an abortion or use birth control, a midwife would help her and if found out, they would both be put to death. In the time frame we are talking about, the Middle Ages and Renaissance times, women were expected to lay with their husbands when ever called to do so and they were forbidden to try to control conception, often having 2 babies in one year. And during these time periods, women were often married by 16 years old, suffering childbirth before their bodies were developed fully and having a life expectancy of only around 35 years old. (Pomeroy)

            In closing I would like to bring all the info presented together to point out that women suffering because of religious teachings has not furthered society in any way.  It has contributed to a de-evolution of our species, been used as weapons in war and politics, has weakened society and most of all has influenced human kind in ways that do exactly opposite that was intended  bringing us closer to “Evil” than had we empowered, honored,  and respected the women of our societies. Supporting the life giving and nurturing population of our communities ensures healthy humans. If babies are born to a broken mother, how will she then teach them what they need to survive in this chaotic world? When looking at the issues we are faced with today, in seeing the blatant disregard of life and environment, I have to wonder if we participated in a woman centered culture, if things would still be the way they are today.

Ehrenreich, Barbara and English, Deirdre Withches, Midwives and Nurses: A History of Women Healers The Feminist Press City University New York, NY (no copyright date available)
Forster, Robert and Ranum, Orest Medicine and Society in France Selections from the Annales Volume 6 Published by John Hopkins Press Baltimore, MD 1980
Gies, Frances and Joseph  Women in the Middle Ages: The lives of real women in a vibrant age of transition Published by Harper Perennial, NY 1978
Pomeroy, Sarah B. Godesses, Whores, Wives and Slaves: Women in Classical Antiquity Published by Shocken Books, NY 1975

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Are Vaccinations Weakening our Immune Systems?

Are our immune systems being weakened by the overuse of vaccinations? In the 1980’s there were only 10 standard vaccinations that were mandatory as far as the CDC was concerned, now there are over 30. Some researchers have shown that there may be a correlation to long term immune system dysfunction due to the developing immune system of babies being bombarded with toxins before it has fully established. The continuation of scheduled vaccination throughout much of a child’s life has shown to cause side effects ranging from short term discomforts to long term developmental delays and in some rare cases, death. These possible negative reactions are often not communicated to parents who are in charge of their child’s health decisions and in many cases the physicians are playing down the possibilities of how severe the reaction can and have been for people in the past.
The advocates of vaccinations propose that the risk contracting one or more of the debilitating and life threatening diseases we are susceptible to without vaccinations outweighs the risk of having a slight fever and body aches. This view point believes that if we stop vaccinating, even though we have almost eradicated these diseases in our society, that we will have another plague of illnesses. In order to prevent this mass illness, it is imperative to start vaccinating children at birth.
The protestors of the scheduled vaccination model insist that the vaccinations are proven to weaken the immune system, making the young child more likely to have chronic infections and asthma or allergy related illnesses, resulting in other long term effects, including loss of time at school, reliance on prescription medication that is costly and has more side effects and in some cases, surgeries like tubes in ears for reoccurring ear infections. There are some people who believe it was the fault of vaccinations that have cause neurological disabilities in their children including ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders. There are a few cases of parents who were not given the proper information to make choices about when the right time to vaccinate their children are and have had to bear the death of a child.
There is a middle ground that thinks vaccinations are a good idea but they chose to do them at different intervals, often delaying the first round of vaccinations until their child is a year old or older, and then selectively choosing which ones are appropriate for their child.
And then the extreme anti vaccination group who comes who firmly believe that their bodies function just right biologically and that if they take good care of themselves and their immune systems that they could survive if they are exposed to the viruses of concern. Some of the people in this group come from a religious background and believe that Faith will guide them and others are from a non religious background and rely on their faith in the biology of their body and the natural law to guide them.
My personal stance on this issue has gone from no concern at all to vehemently opposed to scheduled vaccinations and am starting to lean toward opposing all vaccinations unless the manufacturers start creating them differently. My first child was vaccinated on schedule until he was 3 years old. He had recurring bronchial infections and ear infections and the pediatrician diagnosed him with asthma and ADHD and was prescribing steroidal drugs and interested in behavioral modification drugs. I was absolutely not about to put my 3 year old on these types of medications without looking into all options. I found all of these different views which posed many questions about alternatives and habit changes that would lead to a healthier lifestyle and prevent some of the issues we were dealing with. The first thing we did was modify our diet to get rid of many of the things studies had shown could contribute to asthma and ADHD in children including dairy and artificial food colors and preservatives. It was the best decision we could have done. My son improved within months. I never gave him another vaccination either because at this point, studying a natural, biologically correct diet and lifestyle, I became aware that there could be more going on with the vaccinations than I understood yet.
When my 2nd child was born we decided to delay her vaccinations and waited until she was a year old. The first time she had been to the doctor’s office since her 3 week old check up was the week she was to turn one. She received her first round of vaccinations and she contracted chicken pox which wasn’t even one of the vaccinations we gave her. This coupled with a complete change in her behavior, which at the time I thought was related to the chicken pox, was enough to start me doing more research. I watched as my daughter healed from the pox but then withdrew from interacting with our family the same way she used to. She then started with ear infections, bronchial infections and she didn’t receive another vaccination. She is 9 years old now and has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of Autism.
My 3rd child never received a vaccination until last year, when she was 7. This child was always the last one in our family to get sick, if she even got it. She recovered the fastest and had the least severe effects, often not requiring any interventions or medications when the rest of us would be miserable for a week or more. Even a stomach virus that would bounce from family member to family member that would have each of us laid up for 24-48 hours, she would throw up one time and feel bad for about 6 hours and then be fine. It was incredible to see the difference in a normally functioning immune system on a human being who was born naturally and never exposed to medications and a healthy diet of mostly whole foods.
Some resources: