Thursday, September 23, 2010
I just received a postcard today for a Wake Forest Law School symposium
titled "Patriarchal Religion, Sexuality, and Gender." The symposium happened last week and I have no direct knowledge of what transpired, but I have a good guess as to the tone and direction of the conversation that took place. Just for the record, if we want to have a rollicking discussion of the pitfalls of patriarchy, count me in. I get the feeling, though (in part from my past encounters with the work of one of the keynotes, David A.J. Richards), that the "patriarchy" label was being invoked early and often at Wake Forest, and that most of the ills of human history were pinned to it. Just from the blurb on the postcard, I learn that patriarchal religion "has been the chief guarantor of straight male power," and that "fundamentalist religions continue to claim authority over the principal social and legal issues of today." (Until relatively recently, of course, the fundy Protestants were faulted for dropping out of society and using law as a hedge to keep out the wilderness, not for trying to rule the wilderness!) I also missed out on the opportunity to hear how "patriarchal religious myth" is responsible for "the proliferation of pornography and woman-hating in Western popular culture." (I guess Jerry Falwell shouldn't have sued Larry Flynt -- apparently he spawned Larry Flynt!) It's not unusual to come across specific papers along these lines, but I don't often read of an entire symposium (apparently) devoted to this extreme sort of criticism. Nothing like a fair-minded and balanced engagement with the issues . . .