Source of book: Borrowed from the library
This is my selection for Women’s History Month. I finished it just at the end of March, but haven’t had a chance to sit down and write about it until now. Here are the past Women’s History Month selections:
I picked this book because, in the aftermath of several high-profile meltdowns of leaders of the Christian Patriarchy movement, some observers started pointing out just how much the subculture resembled this book. Perhaps most interesting was the suggestion that Doug Phillips’ victim was intended to be his “handmaid.”
Once I got into the book, the parallels were unmistakable, and in that sense, I am wondering if ignorance would have been bliss. Because this book seems all too prescient 30 years later about the trajectory of the Religious Right and shows all too well the real way that totalitarianism could come to the United States. (Hint: it isn’t the Affordable Care Act…)
First, a bit of background. Margaret Atwood is a Canadian author with a fairly wide range of works, from poetry to fiction to essays. She has a connection to the United States, though, that is quite interesting.
Back in 1683, in Puritan Massachusetts, there was an elderly widow named Mary Webster. She was accused of witchcraft, apparently for having “made” a man get sick and die by her spells. She was convicted, and hanged.
Except she didn’t die. The next morning, she was discovered to still be alive. She would go on to live for another 14 years.
The Webster family, however, was, understandably spooked by this whole episode, and high-tailed it to Canada. While not a direct descendant of Mary, Margaret Atwood was a descendant of the Webster tribe.
Appropriately, Atwood would write The Handmaid’s Tale during 1984, the setting of another work of dystopian fiction of that name by George Orwell. The impetus for the book, according to the author, was the claims that she kept hearing from Americans that totalitarianism “could never happen here.” Atwood granted that the United States would not likely end up with a Stalin or a Mao - but she contended that the United States could absolutely become totalitarian. But it would happen differently.
The theory was this - and I think it is a good one: totalitarian regimes do not simply arise de novo, but instead are incremental worsening of existing ideas and institutions. For example, Atwood notes that the KGB was just a meaner, more powerful version of the Tsarist secret police. And the agricultural bureaucracy of Mao just became a more dysfunctional and oppressive version of what already existed before communism. Atwood didn’t mention the Nazis, but I will. Hitler didn’t invent the holocaust. He simply made existing antisemitism and pogroms (dating back a couple thousand years) far worse. And he built on existing undercurrents of nationalism as well. It wasn’t a new idea, just a tapping of the worst instincts of what existed.
[I]f you wanted to seize power in the US, abolish liberal democracy and set up a dictatorship, how would you go about it? What would be your cover story? It would not resemble any form of communism or socialism: those would be too unpopular… Nations never build apparently radical forms of government on foundations that aren't there already. Thus China replaced a state bureaucracy with a similar state bureaucracy under a different name, the USSR replaced the dreaded imperial secret police with an even more dreaded secret police, and so forth. The deep foundation of the US – so went my thinking – was not the comparatively recent 18th-century Enlightenment structures of the republic, with their talk of equality and their separation of church and state, but the heavy-handed theocracy of 17th-century Puritan New England, with its marked bias against women, which would need only the opportunity of a period of social chaos to reassert itself. Like any theocracy, this one would select a few passages from the Bible to justify its actions, and it would lean heavily towards the Old Testament, not towards the New.
For Atwood, then, her view was that American totalitarianism wouldn’t be something imposed from outside, like a communist takeover, or a total change in natural character. It would be a combination of a return to the supposedly glorious past, combined with the exploitation of the most pernicious parts of our national character.
I believe Atwood is correct that it is our puritanical history - which continues to influence us today - that would function as the driving force in a revolution. She also notes our continuing problem with racism and white supremacy. These appear in the book, but they are not the main point, as she chooses to focus on the issue of gender and sexuality. Also prescient is her choice to use a faked Islamic attack to trigger the revolution.
In fact, the Islam connection is a double one. We often tend to forget that it was in the 1970s that the rise of radical Islam came to pass. The Iranian Revolution in 1978 started a cascade wherein expressly “Islamic” regimes came into existence in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia followed, with Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon a few years later. While the characters of the different governments differed - and have taken different paths - a combination of anti-Western sentiment and suppression of dissent brought an instability to the world that continues today. I’m far too little of a history scholar to trace the effects of repeated foreign intervention in Afghanistan, but I can say that the Taliban - which took over in the wake of the breakup of the Soviet Union roughly in 1996 - is the closest analogue to Atwood's dystopian vision in The Handmaid’s Tale. In that sense, she was a true prophet. A bit off on time and place, but astonishingly correct nevertheless.
Atwood also draws ideas from other countries, from the Nazi occupation of Eastern Europe (for the way that people were bought off for privileges) to the Philippines (for state sanctioned murders of dissidents by the citizens) to Romania’s Nicolae Ceausescu (obsession with fertility and outlawing of birth control - leading to the orphanage crises and a generation of psychologically damaged orphans).
In the book, a faux-Islamic attack succeeds in assassinating the president and blowing up Congress. Martial law is instituted, and the Christian Fundamentalists behind the assassinations takes over before anyone can realize what is happening.
The revolutionaries promise to restore order, and set about consolidating their power. The story is hard to figure out at first, because the narrator tells things in a series of flashbacks. But she is so traumatized by what has happened to her that the past comes in pieces, and out of order. It is not until near the end that one can really figure it all out.
At the risk of spoilers, here is the end result.
Like with the Taliban, the fundamental goal of the fundamentalists (sorry) is to undo all the gains of Feminism and “restore” things to how they were in the glory days of the past. And that past is defined much the same way as the Taliban defines it.
It is nothing less than a return to the power structures and social hierarchies recreated from the respective holy books. And not just, say, Greco-Roman society, as unpleasant as that may be. Rather, going full Old Testament.
I will also add here that the vision of both radical Islam and fundamentalist Christianity in this book is worse than either’s past. Because you can’t just turn the clock backwards. You have to actively destroy institutions, rights, and a great many people in order to institute the grand vision. (That this sounds like the Communist purges is no accident. See above.) Just one example, throughout most of the ancient world, women may well have been sub-human, but they usually had the ability to have employment and money - at least in some circumstances.
Because toxic waste and diseases have lowered fertility catastrophically, women are suddenly in great demand. At least fertile ones. The others, well, they are expendable for the most part.
In this fictitious “Republic of Gilead,” there is a patriarchal hierarchy. At the top are (of course) the bigwigs. These are the architects of the revolution, and the ones with the real power. Below them are the soldiers (fighting an endless war against, well, it isn’t exactly clear), the police forces (militarized), and the secret police. Those who don’t make the cut are eliminated. And, boy, are there a lot to be eliminated.
First, this is a theocracy, so all non-Christians must go. For the Jews, well, they can convert or be shipped to Israel. (Unfortunately for most of them, the job was contracted out to the Halliburton of this world, who dumped most of them in the ocean to improve profit margins.) Muslims and others are murdered. Oh, and this isn’t a multi-cultural republic either, the “Sons of Ham” - that is, as any student of the history of American Slavery can tell you - African Americans - are cordoned off on reservations. (It is strongly implied that Hispanics and other minorities are either evicted or murdered. In any event, only whites get to reproduce.)
And then there are others to purge. Only those who have been married only once have “legitimate” marriages. So any remarried persons (like the narrator, who married a divorced man) have their marriages broken up. More on them later. And what about sexual minorities? Well, it depends, doesn’t it? Gay men are easy. They are “traitors to gender” and are either executed, or if they are “lucky,” sent along with the childless or otherwise undesirable women (aka “unwomen”) to collect toxic waste and die an early death.
Lesbians are different, though, because they are potentially fertile. They, like the narrator, have a different destiny.
Women too have a hierarchy. Those married to the head honchos are “wives,” dressed in blue (like the Virgin Mary). They have certain privileges, but are still practically prisoners in their own homes - as are all women. (The parallels to the Taliban regime a decade later are incredible.)
Below the “wives” are the “cheapwives.” These are the lower class, married to a man who can support them, and perhaps children, but nothing further. They wear a multi-colored garment representing the fact that they have to do everything.
Lower still are the “Marthas,” the servant class. These are typically older women who are considered safe, but not sources of children. They fulfil the basic roles that servants of the past have - for the rich households, of course. And, because they have no real choice in employment, they are really slaves. Similar in status are the “aunts,” who train and supervise the “handmaids.”
The lowest legitimate class, before you get to the “unwomen” are the “handmaids.” These are named after the “handmaids” of the Old Testament patriarchal period. Bilhah and Zilbah, who bore Jacob sons, and Hagar, who bore Abraham’s son Ishmael. They are, as the narrator describes it, “two legged wombs,” intended to bear children. These are those of childbearing age who are believed to be fertile, usually because they have already had children. (Those children have been taken from them and adopted out to rich families.) The job of a handmaid is to have sex (in a ritualized manner) with the wealthy man to whom they are given, so that she can have a child for the infertile legitimate wife. If they fail, they are declared unwomen and shipped out to the death camps.
I noted above the way one became a handmaid. One needed to be young and fertile, naturally. But generally, one ended up that way because one had engaged in some perceived sexual transgression. More than one lifetime sexual partner. Lesbian. Married a divorced man. And on and on. According to the epilogue, when “legitimate” fallen women ran short, offenses were created to drag more young women into the ranks of handmaids.
I won’t go further into the plot than that at this time. It is a dark vision, where women have lost nearly all autonomy. They are forbidden to read, kept in their homes, and viewed as being worth only as much as their uterus can create. Sex for pleasure is forbidden (although it occurs, certainly), and any sense of equality between genders is considered the height of evil.
One thing I wanted to specifically note in this review is that Atwood has clearly done her research. She knows the language of fundamentalism.
I have noted often on this blog that my family spent time in a fundamentalist cult when I was in my teens. In fact, my law school education came from the school started by that cult. My wife, likewise, spent time in a similar - and if anything more misogynist - group. Even if we hadn’t, we have spent enough time in Evangelicalism to know the language well ourselves. Part of my journey over the last decade and a half has been to realize just how much American Christianity has been seduced by fundamentalism (in the cultural sense) and how much the language of misogyny has infiltrated the politics of the Religious Right.
The language of the Republic of Gilead could be lifted from today’s Religious Right - and our current Republican Party.
It was just a bit scary. Women belong in the home. Women are raped because of what they were wearing. Women's bodies are dangerous and cause men to sin. Men only want one thing. The greatest calling a woman can have is that of wife and mother. Women need men to protect them from other men. And many more that I didn’t write down as I read it. The whole freaking culture is the same.
Atwood is writing fiction, so she takes things to their logical extreme. That is part of her craft, and it is a useful device in literature. (Orwell was a master of it as well. And Jonathan Swift.) But the uncomfortable part is that she may have thought she was exaggerating, but she was closer than I would have believed, had I read this back in the 1980s. (I mean, assuming I was old enough to understand it...work with me.)
But seriously, the Taliban wasn’t far off. Actually, the evidence is that the Taliban came darn close to re-creating the Republic of Gilead.
And within certain sub-cultures here in the United States, the Republic exists. Just minus the backup of military force. One great example is that of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints. Who apparently have had their own fertility issues due to generations of inbreeding
But also within the Christian Patriarchy movement. I know. I have heard nearly everything in this book from acquaintances, friends. And yes: family too if I am honest.
Let me note just a few:
One of the handmaids-in-training as part of the brainwashing, is forced to confess that she was raped and had an abortion at 14. (Or at least make up a story that she did.)
But whose fault was it? Aunt Helena says, holding up one plump finger.
Her fault, her fault, her fault, we chant in unison.
Who led them on? Aunt Helena beams, please with us.
She did. She did. She did.
Why did God allow such a terrible thing to happen?
Teach her a lesson. Teach her a lesson. Teach her a lesson.
Oh wait, that sounds like it came straight out of a Bill Gothard teaching!
Or how about this one, about childbirth?
Once they drugged women, induced labor, cut them open, sewed them up. No more. No anesthetics, even. Aunt Elizabeth said it was better for the baby, but also: I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children.
Yep, heard that one as an argument for mandatory home childbirth from fundies. Not that I am opposed to home birth, exactly. I was born at home, and for uncomplicated births, sure, why not? And, bottom line, I’m not a woman. Your body. Your birth choice. But this isn’t about choice. It’s about telling women their pain is a punishment for the evils of Eve and womankind in general.
Oh, and about one I mentioned above.
Men are sex machines, said Aunt Lydia, and not much more. They only want one thing. You must learn how to manipulate them, for your own good. Lead them around by the nose; that is a metaphor. It’s nature’s way. It’s God’s device. It’s the way things are.
Honestly, from Fascinating Womenhood on down, this is THE message of pretty much every “Christian” book on marriage and relationships. Men want sex. Women (who don’t deserve equal power in relationships) have to learn to use sex to manipulate men into getting what they want. That’s really what “Men trade love for sex, women trade sex for love” actually means. It is hard to think of one idea that I had to unlearn about women after my own marriage that is as damaging as this one. And yet it sells. And is presented as a key part of the Gospel itself.
There is another passage that really hit home. The narrator, Offred (meaning “Of Fred,” because her identity is that of the man who has the legal right to rape her to produce offspring) has a complicated relationship with Fred, because he wants to conduct an illegal personal relationship with her behind his wife’s back. And what can she do? Damned if she does and damned if she don’t. He is “mansplaining” to her how much better things are now than they were, when women had to spend vast sums of money and time trying to catch a suitable man, and even if she did, he might leave her, etc. He dismisses the idea that having a job and income was worth it.
Money was the only measure of worth, for everyone, they got no respect as mothers. No wonder they were giving up on the whole business. This way they’re protected, they can fulfil their biological destinies in peace. With full support and encouragement.
When Offred points out that all this overlooks love and romance, he dismisses that as well.
Oh yes, he said. I’ve read the magazines, that’s what they were pushing, wasn’t it? But look at the stats, my dear. Was it really worth it, falling in love? Arranged marriages have always worked out just as well, if not better.
I. Have. Freaking. Heard. Both. Of. These. From friends. And yes, from family. The points missed, among others, of course, are that the reason that parenting in general is sometimes disrespected is that it is “women’s work,” and that the reason arranged marriages were “more successful” is that women were bought and sold and couldn’t leave even if abused. Yep, definitely better.
And it goes on and on. Women need to dress “modestly,” “shamefacedly.” Women should not teach. (In fact, at the handmaid indoctrination center, scripture is played on an otherwise forbidden phonograph in a man’s voice so that the women do not have to “teach.” Oh, yes, I’ve been part of groups that believed the same thing. And John Piper won’t allow women to read scripture in his church…) Women are more easily deceived. They should remain silent. They are saved through childbearing.
Just one more. The Republic of Gilead presents their vision of female subservience through two perspectives. First is, obviously, the theonomic application of Old Testament texts. Second, though, is an appeal to “nature.” The era of feminism - and the idea that women are fully human and not the property of men - is fairly recent in the history of human civilization. As Fred puts it, talking about Offred’s past:
Those years were just an anomaly, historically speaking, the Commander said. Just a fluke. All we’ve done is return things to Nature’s norm.
Oh yes. Heard this one a lot as well. Gender essentialism and the misogyny of the past dressed up as “the way things are.” Here’s the ever-loathsome Doug Wilson:
When we quarrel with the way the world is, we find that the world has ways of getting back at us. In other words, however we try, the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts.This is of course offensive to all egalitarians, and so our culture has rebelled against the concept of authority and submission in marriage. This means that we have sought to suppress the concepts of authority and submission as they relate to the marriage bed.But we cannot make gravity disappear just because we dislike it, and in the same way we find that our banished authority and submission comes back to us in pathological forms. This is what lies behind sexual “bondage and submission games,” along with very common rape fantasies. Men dream of being rapists, and women find themselves wistfully reading novels in which someone ravishes the “soon to be made willing” heroine. Those who deny they have any need for water at all will soon find themselves lusting after polluted water, but water nonetheless.True authority and true submission are therefore an erotic necessity. When authority is honored according to the word of God it serves and protects — and gives enormous pleasure. When it is denied, the result is not “no authority,” but an authority which devours."
See, the way the world is, according to Doug - and according to the Republic of Gilead - is that women MUST be submissive to men. And their bodies are not their own, but belong to men. That’s the whole foundation of the belief. As I pointed out previously, for Doug, orgasms themselves MUST be had only in the context of a man dominating a woman.
That’s “nature.” (I might say, “that’s Darwinism.” But I’m sure that’s heresy, right?)
I want to touch on just a few more points.
The first is this. It is easy to forget in our modern times, but Patriarchy was never just about gender. It is about a whole system of hierarchies wherein the superior rule (hopefully benevolently) over the inferior. As Aristotle put it in Politics, the freeman ruled women, children, and slaves. The slavery is every bit as important to the system as the subjugation of women. The defenders of American Slavery understood this point well, and the modern defenders of the “peculiar institution” likewise make no bones about it.
In The Handmaid’s Tale, there is likewise a need for a hierarchical social structure to preserve power and control the masses. Without the hierarchy, the whole system crumbles. As any dictator could tell you, one major threat to any system is young men without a future. Gilead utilizes the same technique to control the young men while preserving power for the privileged old men that Radical Islam uses. First, there is an endless war, which decimates the male population, while giving opportunities for glory and advancement. If the young male just works hard enough, long enough, he might, just might, eventually get to have sex. Thus, sex is used as a motivation so that the young do the bidding of “the tired old [men] that we call kings.” (Thank you, Don Henley.) Speaking of the young soldiers:
They think instead of doing their duty and of promotion to the Angels [full soldiers], and of being allowed possibly to marry, and then, if they are able to gain enough power and live to be old enough, of being allotted a Handmaid of their own.
Offred sways her hips a little, enjoying the only power she has, which is to drive these men mad.
Then I find I’m not ashamed after all. I enjoy the power; power of a dog bone, passive but there. I hope they get hard at the sight of us and have to rub themselves against the painted barriers, surreptitiously. They will suffer, later, at night, in their regimented beds. They have no outlets now except themselves, and that’s a sacrilege.
And that, I believe, is a distillation of the Religious Right’s message to the young men right now. Never mind that we have made it harder and harder to marry before age thirty. Maybe if you work hard enough you can marry someday. Oh, and don’t masturbate, because that is a sacrilege…
One more that I need to mention. The first step of the “revolution” was to take away the financial independence of women. There were two parts to this. First, because electronic payments had replaced cash, all female accounts were terminated, and the balances transferred to husbands or male next of kin. Second, women were forbidden the right to employment. (Okay, they could still be servants - slaves, really.)
This, as the narrator notes, changed everything. I will also note that it is harsher than it has been in history, but it is also very much the goal of fundamentalist religion. (From the Taliban to Christian Patriarchy.) Once a woman has something of her own (as the saying used to be), she has some degree of power. Here is the scene after Offred loses her job. Luke is her then-husband, before they were separated and their child taken from them.
That night, after I’d lost my job, Luke wanted to make love. Why didn’t I want to? Desperation alone should have driven me. But I still felt numbed. I could hardly even feel his hands on me.
What’s the matter? He said.
I don’t know, I said.
We still have...he said. But he didn’t go on to say what we still had. It occurred to me that he shouldn’t be saying we, since nothing that I knew of had been taken away from him.
We still had each other, I said. It was true. Then why did I sound, even to myself, so indifferent?
He kissed me then, as if now I’d said that, things could get back to normal. But something had shifted. Some balance. I felt so shrunken, so that when he put his arms around me, gathering me up, I was small as a doll. I felt love going forward without me.
He doesn’t mind this, I thought. He doesn’t mind it at all. Maybe he even likes it. We are not each other’s, anymore. Instead, I am his.
Unworthy, unjust, untrue. But that is what happened.
This scene has haunted me.
Just to turn the tables, imagine as a man, losing the ability to make a living. And having to depend on a woman for every dime one has. I’ve seen it happen. And very, very few marriages survive the change in power. Particularly the ones in which the man was the sole provider. His very identity has been stripped away and now he is “unmanned,” so to speak.
My wife has always been employed, and currently contributes roughly half to our family’s finances. And this makes for a particular dynamic. I happen to like it, as I am an egalitarian, and prefer a companionate marriage. But it would be hard on both of us if either were to be out of work. It would shift a dynamic in a way that would be unpleasant for both of us. Either direction.
The reason this is haunting is that the “Christian” ideal within Evangelicalism these days is that the man bring home the bacon. The thrust of the Religious Right has been, since the days of Phyllis Schlafly, to “restore” the world to “nature’s” way, where men are manly, and women are dependent, and so on. I fear that this is the ultimate end game for the Religious Right, both in the church, and in society, and I know in my heart that the loss of this independence and a demotion to a dependent status would be crushing to so many women - and terrible for many of us men as well. Offred knows Luke hurts for her - and his later actions prove it. But still, psychologically, she is correct. He has lost NOTHING. If anything, he has gained power and privilege. While she has lost.
As the Commander puts it eventually, after his attempts to draw Offred into having an opinion fails:
You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, is what he says. We thought we could do better.
Better? I say in a small voice. How can he think this is better?
Better never means better for everyone, he says. It always means worse, for some.
Indeed it does. And the heartrending part of this book is that Offred yearns - as we all would - for the days when she could just be. She could be married. She could have a daughter. She could have a job, and money of her own, and go running in normal clothes, and tan by the beach in a bikini, and read, and be. I suspect many in the totalitarian states of today feel the same way. (The Kite Runner is similarly haunting for the destruction of a way of life.) The very point of the fundamentalist desire for a theocracy is that women (and to a lesser degree, men) have no right to just be, to live their lives as they choose. They are to be owned and controlled by men at all times.
My own fundie experience wasn’t this bad, obviously, although my wife’s was worse. But over the last few years, watching friends and acquaintances emerge from the nightmare of Christian Patriarchy. It is very much like waking up from Offred’s nightmare, where their bodies and selves were owned by their fathers, then by their husbands - if they didn’t escape first. It’s all there. The rape culture, the Modesty Culture, the hostility toward education for women. The whole thing.
Offred discovers a pseudo-Latin quote inscribed by her predecessor handmaid, who later hung herself. Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
I can say with honesty that this has been the unspoken motto of so many who have escaped this subculture. And it remains a motivating factor for me, in my own battle against the creeping Patriarchy within the American church and politics. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
Note on past politics:
Atwood patterned a character, the Commander Fred’s wife, “Serena Joy” after two real-life persons. First is Phyllis Schlafly, mentioned above. She was the foremost female face of the dawn of the Religious Right, which coalesced around the cause of opposing desegregation. (See the notes at the bottom of this post.) The secondary cause was to oppose feminism, which, as fellow Religious Right founder and now certified loony Pat Robertson said at the time, “encourage women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” (Wait, I’ve heard that sentiment a thousand times too!) Schlafly would, to paraphrase, encourage women to “return home, to let their husbands provide, and to use their femininity and feminine wiles as the core of their success and fulfilment as women." Serena Joy was also patterned after Tammy (Bakker) Messner, the wife of televangelist Jim Bakker (who later did time for financial crimes.) The composite character used her fame to call for women to stay home, but then found herself miserably unhappy when her only outlets were knitting and gardening, and her only way to get out of her own home was to call on a “sick” neighbor. The hypocrisy, of course, of a Schlafly, who farmed her own child care out to nannies while having her own bank account, is palpable.
Schlafly, of course, appears to have not changed at all, openly endorsing The Toupee Who Shall Not Be Named in significant part because of his racist platform.
Messner’s story was both more tragic and yet heartening. After Jim fell from grace, she took the brunt of the blame, despite the fact that he controlled everything. (Good submissive wife, yo.) Because, as in Gilead, in American Christianity, the woman is always to blame. Jim is now selling survivalist gear to people who were probably his audience before. Tammy died a few years back from cancer, after years as a pariah. Ironically, before her death, she was embraced by the very people she castigated during her televangelist years: the LGBT community. She would later say that the love and, yes, grace she received from her LGBT fans exceeded anything she got from the “Christian” community.
Note on current politics:
The Republic of Gilead remains alive and well in the Republican party these days. I’ve already blogged on the re-emergence of racism as a driving force in the success of The Toupee Who Shall Not Be Named among Evangelicals.
Less known is the connection that the second choice candidate has with the Dominionist movement. I won’t get into all of it here, but just note that Ted Cruz has been a featured speaker at a conference led by Kevin Swanson. Right before Cruz spoke, Swanson openly called for the execution of gays and lesbians. That’s not all of his crazy, either. He has claimed that women who take birth control have thousands of dead babies embedded in their uteruses, claimed that Frozen will turn kids to beastiality, claimed that the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks deserved it because the rock concert was “a worship service to Satan,” and so on and on. Google him. Primary sources are easy to find.
Perhaps most telling is his claim that sending girls to college will result in them “having two abortions or becoming lesbian.” And even worse, the idea that a woman might work.
Basically, plug him into The Handmaid’s Tale as a bigwig in The Republic of Gilead and he would fit right in. And this is someone that that no fewer than three major GOP candidates (also Huckabee and Jindal) would gladly share a stage with without apology. This is not a pleasant thought. And it is one that has gotten too little airplay, probably because the front runner is even worse.
(In addition to these three, I’ll also note that the “moderate” former candidate, Marco Rubio, has an affiliated PAC headed by none other than Russell Moore, one of the founders of the Counsel for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, which calls for women to submit to men in the home, church, and society. I’ve written about them and their failure to condemn domestic violence here. Also note that Moore has complained that too many marriages are “functionally egalitarian” and called for a return to Patriarchy, complete with hostility to contraception and a belief that all of society needs to reflect “male headship.” This includes the idea that men earn and control money, women stay at home and make babies. Again, he would be perfectly at home in the Republic of Gilead.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is your 21st Century GOP: the party of the Republic of Gilead. Things have changed since I was a kid in the Reagan years...
Just a reminder from a wise man: