There's run-of-the-mill Religious Right stupidity, and then there's stupidity so breathtaking that you're left speechless.
Vyckie Garrison of No Longer Quivering recently wrote a post on Jesse Lee Peterson, founder and president of Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny (BOND). BOND, which counts Sean Hannity as an advisory board member and received praise from the Heritage Foundations's Rebecca Hagelin, aims for "rebuilding the family by rebuilding the man," according to its website. (See bondinfo[dot]org)
Peterson, a right-wing media commentator, has a long history of making controversial statements about President Obama and other African-Americans, as documented by Media Matters, Huffington Post, and Right Wing Watch.
On March 5th, Exploring Your Destiny with Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson featured a talk by Peterson entitled "How Women Are Building a Shameless Society." Peterson's talk oozed with hostility and condescension toward women, and his brazen misogyny surprised even me.
Peterson begins the video by lamenting the end of America, which he attributes to women attaining positions of power in society. He insisted that most women are illogical and incapable of making sensible decisions.
"I want to say goodbye to America. It's over. My America is gone. It's unfortunate, but it's over, and short of God intervening, I don't see any turnaround ... One of the primary reasons that it is over for America is women are taking over. Women are taking over. They're in high, so-called powerful positions. They're running companies, they're making decisions ... There are some, a few out there, logical women [who] can make sound decisions, but most cannot, and the unfortunate thing is that they're in powerful positions."Women, he claimed, are allegedly running wild and putting both their souls and offspring at risk. At the 5:40 mark, he had this to say.
"It's unfortunate that women are allowed--that men are so weak, they've been so intimidated, that that they allow these women to just run wild and screw up everything, including their souls and their children."At the 7:17 mark, Peterson insisted that women allegedly panic or get angry when confronted with challenges, making them unsuitable for positions of authority.
"Another big mistake ... is to put women in power positions in businesses and jobs because they can't handle stress, they can't handle anything,. You walk up to them with an issue, they freak out right away. Especially if they can't get the problem resolved right away. I've seen it happen at airports, in banks, in the post office. Whenever issues go wrong, they go nuts, they get mad, they get upset, just like that. They have no patience because it's not in their nature."Jesse, millions of women gracefully cope with stress every single day at work and home. Your statement is not only ugly, it's inaccurate. The world simply would not be able to function if most women behaved as Peterson claims. Also, raising children is far more stressful than many paid jobs, but strangely I don't hear Peterson discouraging women from raising their children.
At the 1:23 mark, Peterson claimed that women are incapable of handling power effectively, adding that men rarely made mistakes in the past when they held the reigns of power. (!)
"Women cannot handle power. It's not in them to handle power in the right way. They don't know what to do with it. And secondly, it's not real power anyway. Power that the world gives you is not power. It's all ego-building. Real and true power comes from God, and God is the one that gave man the power and authority over the wife and to spiritually guide the world ... And I realize that men made mistakes in the past, but most men did not make mistakes in the past, and when men were in charge, things were tougher, you know and more solid."Really, Jesse? I'd say centuries of senseless wars, oppression, superstition, and ignorance in patriarchal societies throughout history were pretty big mistakes, dude. To boot, if worldly power (i.e., jobs, authority, autonomy) is just "ego-building," why is Patterson so eager to secure it for men?
At the 2:25 mark, Peterson ridiculed Sandra Fluke's testimony before the House Democrat Steering and Policy Committee in February. His description of Fluke's statement suggests that he did not actually listen to her testimony, but rather drew information from the likes of Rush Limbaugh.
"Women have been degraded ... They have no shame. There was a woman from Georgetown University ... She testified before a committee about condoms and birth control and all that kind of stuff, and and in her testimony, she said ... women need to be able to get free birth control, free condoms, and things like that ... This woman's standing there, testify about how much, all the sex they're having, and all that kind of stuff, and it's really all about maintaining the freedom to kill babies in the womb, because that's how this whole thing got started."Stunningly, Peterson condemned female suffrage in 2012. At the 8:29 mark, he claimed that women should not have been allowed to vote because they vote for evil candidates.
"I think that one of the greatest mistakes that America made was to allow women the opportunity to vote. We should have never turned it over to women ... Right now, 50% of the voting population are women. Did you know that? There are more women out there voting than men now, because there are more women than men, and these women are voting in the wrong people. They're voting in people who are evil, who agrees [sic] with them, who are going to take us down this pathway of destruction. And this probably was the reason that they didn't allow women to vote when men were men, because men in the good old days understood the nature of the woman. They were not afraid to deal with it, and they understood that [if] you let them take over, this is what will happen."At the 10:17 mark, he claimed that women in power sow confusion, and that women are to blame for LGBT rights.
"Look at every place where a woman is in control ... most, you'll see nothing but confusion. There's no good in it at all, none. This is how homosexuality came to the forefront. Now they have this gay marriage thing coming to the forefront. It just blows my mind to see how evil is working its way through."First, there's nothing wrong with LGBT equality. Second, there are plenty of workplaces, businesses, and governments with female leaders that are doing quite well. Peterson's sentiments suggest a man who has not or will not look at the world around him.
Progressive commentators wasted no time in lambasting Peterson's misogyny. Writing at Pharyngula, P. Z. Myers mocked Peterson mercilessly.
"This guy, Jesse Lee Peterson, is amazing. You listen to him, and notice that he’s incoherent and stupid, completely lacking in charisma, with a speaking style that makes you wonder if he’d been stunned with a hammer just before, and yet he’s got a ministry and a television show and is beloved of the Republican Party."Vyckie Garrison insightfully observed that Peterson is not unique among Religious Right voices in his misogyny.
"Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson is not exceptionally extreme or outlandish in fundamentalist circles. What makes Peterson “edgy” is that he has the audacity to speak aloud what most right-wing men truly believe about women - the Reverend is aberrant only because he is outspoken enough to post his misogynist views on YouTube."Peterson's hateful, retrograde, and just plain stupid pontification sounds like the rhetoric of a man from ancient times, rather than a man from 21st century America. His naked contempt for women and antipathy toward their sexuality, political rights, and careers suggest deep-seated hostility toward females. Sadly, I suspect that more than a few men in the Christian Patriarchy Movement think as Peterson does. Fortunately, many people recognize Peterson words as venomous and false, and refuse to live their lives that way.