God’s Wife?

Posted: June 1, 2011 in General Blogging, Indulgent Commentary
Tags: , , , ,

I was reading an article on the website from Time Newsfeed called “Fertility Goddess Asherah: Was ‘God’s Wife’ Edited Out of the Bible?” by: Christy Choi.  I thought it was a very interesting article and shows how discrimination can have a life-altering effect for generations after generations.  In this case, if the story is accurate, it has affected a religion that is followed by millions of people.  The article says, “Some scholars say early versions of the Bible featured Asherah, a powerful fertility goddess who may have been God’s wife,” which is a very controversial subject.  To be honest, I am not surprised.

The article says, “some scholars say early versions of the Bible featured Asherah, a powerful fertility goddess who may have been God’s wife.

Research by Francesca Stavrakopoulou, a senior lecturer in the department of Theology and Religion at the University of Exeter, unearthed clues to her identity, but good luck finding mention of her in the Bible. If Stavrakopoulou is right, heavy-handed male editors of the text all but removed her from the sacred book.”

J. Edward Wright, president of The Arizona Center for Judaic Studies and The Albright Institute for Archaeological Research, backs Stavrakopoulou’s findings, saying several Hebrew inscriptions mention “Yahweh and his Asherah.”   In 1967, Raphael Patai was the first historian to mention that the ancient Israelites worshiped both Yahweh and Asherah.

Asherah was known across the ancient Near East by various other names, such as Astarte and Istar and was “an important deity, one who was both mighty and nurturing.” In English translations Ashereh is translated as “sacred tree.

Discrimination is serious and in the U.S. federal laws address discrimination specifically, gender inequality in the workplace.  These laws include:

  • Title VII of the CIVIL RIGHTS Act of 1964 – prohibits discrimination by employers, employment agencies, and labor organizations with 15 or more full-time employees on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1991, which expanded some of the protections granted by Title VII – enhanced the protections granted in Title VII. It added compensatory (i.e., pain and suffering) damages and PUNITIVE DAMAGES, sometimes known as exemplary damages, for all victims of intentional discrimination. 
  • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) – addresses sexual discrimination in the area of education. It applies to all federally funded educational institutions, including any college or university “any part of which is extended federal financial assistance.” It provides that no person shall be excluded from participation in or be subjected to discrimination on the basis of sex in any educational activity.
  • The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 – protects pregnant women by stating that employers must treat pregnancy as a temporary DISABILITY, and they may not refuse to hire a woman or fire her because she is pregnant or compel her to take maternity leave
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 – This act applies to employers of 50 or more employees, and permits up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth, ADOPTION, or foster care placement of a child; the serious medical condition of a parent, spouse, or child; and the worker’s own serious medical condition that prevents the worker from performing the essential functions of his or her job.

Some other interesting facts include

  • Not until 1875 were women in the U.S. legally defined as persons (Minor v Happersett, 88 U.S. 162), and women did not receive the vote in the U.S. until 1920 and in the U.K. until 1918.
  • In the US, women received the right to vote with the passing of the 19th amendment on August 18, 1920. They first voted in National Elections in 1923. Women had earlier been allowed to vote in some of the other states. The first instance of a woman voting in America was Lydia Chapin Taft in 1756 who voted in New England town meetings.
    From 1790 to 1807 women were allowed to vote in New Jersey, provided they met the land ownership requirement.

The treatment of women has been questionable for years and years.  Even today many parts of the world, women’s bodies and their sexuality is denied, hidden and controlled by men, governments and religious institutions. 

Thirty years after the adoption of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), many girls and women still do not have equal opportunities to realize rights recognized by law. In many countries, women are not entitled to own property or inherit land. Social exclusion, “honor” killings, female genital mutilation, trafficking, restricted mobility and early marriage among others, deny the right to health to women and girls and increase illness and death throughout the life-course.

“We will not see sustainable progress unless we fix failures in health systems and society so that girls and women enjoy equal access to health information and services, education, employment and political positions.”  said Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization.

Take a look at these headlines indicating that discrimination against women is still happening:

Pakistan: Women Lose Livelihood Centres to Militants
Saturday, May 28, 2011

Nepal: Women Battle for New Constitution
Thursday, May 26, 2011

South Africa
: Women Candidates Struggle in Local Government Elections
Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Saudis crack down on activists for women’s driving rights
USA Today – Chris Woodyard – 19 hours ago

Nearly Every Minute a Women is Raped in the Congo
ABC News – Carrie Halperin – Mandana Mofidi – May 13, 2011

Syria’s defiant women risk all to protest against President Bashar
The Guardian – 6 days ago

Report: Turkey Fails to Protect Women From Domestic ViolenceVoice of America – Dorian Jones – ‎May 5, 2011‎

Women face extra obstacles to secure retirement
msnbc.com – Dave Carpenter – May 9, 2011

German Boardrooms Lack Women. Can Quotas Help?
NPR – Eric Westervelt – May 17, 2011

Women and the coalition: How the government is letting down women
The Guardian – May 20, 2011

Immigrant women face high levels of harassment, and most never
Monterey County Weekly – 1 day ago

 

Read more:

http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/03/22/fertility-goddess-asherah-was-gods-wife-edited-out-of-the-bible/#ixzz1M3bzW0tK

http://news.discovery.com/history/god-wife-yahweh-asherah-110318.html

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/When_were_women_allowed_to_vote_in_America#ixzz1M3mISTM7

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