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“I know where I'm headed.”

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Human folly

Over the past four years, the North American Minor Lacrosse Association has grown into a league of six teams in upstate New York . . . . While the teams do not wear native clothing or have tribal sideline chants, the players say they adhere to the spirit of the game played hundreds of years ago. For instance, the Onondaga Red Hawks and the Tonawanda Braves do not allow girls to play, and male players on some other teams forbid women touching their sticks for fear it could cost them the protection of the Creator during games. If a stick has been touched by a woman or girl, some native lore says it must be put away for seven days, and some Tonawanda players have been known to forgo such sticks forever. - New York Times, July 13, 2007
Egypt's health authorities have talked of curbing the practice since as long ago as the 1950s. Eleven years ago, after shocking footage of one girl's suffering was aired on television, the ministry forbade doctors from performing [female genital mutilation] except under unusual circumstances. But the ancient rite, common in the Nile Valley and other parts of Africa, has remained particularly prevalent in Egypt. A nationwide survey carried out in 2005 revealed that 97% of married women claimed to have been circumcised. - The Economist, July 5, 2007
With "evolutionary psychology" as much in vogue these days as sociobiology used to be disfavored (go figure), I wonder if anyone has hypothesized about why we seem to so consistently come up with misogynistic religions. Even the religions that don't have facially ridiculous views about the role of women in society all seem to set up hierarchies favoring men. I'm hard pressed to think of a religion or denomination that is truly evenhanded today (maybe the Episcopal Church), and I doubt that any of those started out that way.


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