“the religion of my people is very machista,” jesus christ recognizes
RACHEL Emisoras Latinas continues to provide you with complete coverage of the surprising and astonishing second coming of Jesus Christ to the world. Today we have installed our microphones in what was once the old synagogue of Nazareth.
JESUS Good morning, Rachel.
RACHEL As you all can hear, we are once again joined by Jesus Christ, who has not been recognized by the pilgrims visiting this place. Jesus, I understand you were baptized here as a child.
JESUS How do you mean baptized?
RACHEL Oh no, excuse my mistake, I’m just so full of emotion. It’s just that I’m still not used to conversing with you.
JESUS I did get baptized, Rachel, but it was when I was older, in the Jordan River, when the prophet John began preaching about justice.
RACHEL I didn’t mean baptism, I meant circum…, circum…
RACHEL You did get circumcised, right?
JESUS Of course, because I’m a Jewish man. Among the Jews all the males are circumcised.
RACHEL For those in our audience who are not familiar with this ancient rite, could you explain to us what it consists in?
JESUS Perhaps this rabbi who’s coming along could explain it better than I. Rachel, hide yourself behind me. Hey, master! Shalom!
RABBI Shalom, son. What can I do for you? Do I know you?
JESUS Maybe, rabbi. The thing is, this young woman is not from here and wants to know something about circumcision.
RABBI What young woman?
RACHEL Good day, rabbi, I…
RABBI What? A woman, a pagan, and with her legs bare? [Spits]
JESUS Do you see that, Rachel?
RACHEL But why did he rush away? Why did he turn his back on me? I don’t understand at all.
JESUS Let him be. He is a blind guide, as were so many in my time. You wanted to know something about circumcision, right?
RACHEL Yes, so that our audience can be better informed.
JESUS Listen, when the time comes for circumcision, the parents bring their newborn boy to the synagogue. The rabbi takes a sharp knife and cuts away the little ring of skin that covers the male organ. It’s called the foreskin.
RACHEL Excuse my ignorance, but what’s the meaning behind such a strange rite as that?
JESUS Moses instituted it as a sign of the covenant between God and his people.
RACHEL I can imagine it’s painful for the child.
JESUS They cry for a while, but they’re soon over it. Now, at a older age, is when it hurts.
RACHEL At an older age? Could you please explain?
JESUS It hurts that my people are so,… so… how do you put it now? So mannish, so male, so…
RACHEL So male chauvinist?
JESUS That’s it male chauvinist. See, Rachel, they claimed that God established his covenant only with us, the males. And what about you women?
RACHEL Well, sure, we women don’t have…, we don’t have …
JESUS You don’t have a penis.
RACHEL But you never spoke about circumcision in your preaching?
JESUS No, I never did, because I never liked that law. The covenant is the wedding ring that joins together God and his people. How is it possible that it should be symbolized by the skin that covers the penis?
RACHEL Yes, you’re right, that reflects a very masculine kind of religion.
JESUS In my day the men used to pray the following prayer every day “Thank you, Lord, that I was born a Jew and not born a woman.” Certainly that rabbi who turned his back on you is still saying that prayer.
RACHEL What about you? Did you pray it sometimes?
JESUS Never. I felt that it was an insult to God.
JESUS Because… You want me to give you a scoop on something, a piece of good news?
RACHEL Of course I do.
JESUS First, turn off that little gadget.
RACHEL Okay. Now, tell me. [Jesus whispers in her ear.] Do you really think so? Will you allow me to say it on the air?
JESUS No, not now. Later. Then you can shout from the rooftops what I just whispered in your ear.
RACHEL But for now, it’s strictly confidential. Friends, in a future broadcast we’ll tell you this incredible secret that Jesus just confided to me. This is Rachel Perez. Emisoras Latinas. Nazareth.
ANNOUNCER Another God is Possible. Exclusive interviews with Jesus Christ in his second coming to Earth. A production of María and José Ignacio López Vigil, with the support of the Syd Forum and Christian Aid.
*More information about this polemical topic…*
Circumcision consists in the amputation of the foreskin, the tissue that covers the tip of the penis. This microsurgery leaves the glans exposed in such a way that it can easily be seen who is circumcised and who is not. Circumcision is done for religious, cultural and medical reasons. In recent years circumcision of newborn boys has become common in some countries, for reasons of improved hygiene and prevention of infectious diseases. However, the preventive value of circumcision is being increasingly questioned; in fact, circumcision is associated with certain health risks since it involves such a delicate, sensitive part of the body. Some groups consider circumcision to be a form of mutilation; they view it as an expression of contempt for the body based on religious ideas.
An ancient custom
Circumcision was practiced in ancient Egypt, and it’s possible that the people of Israel learned of the rite from the Egyptians. Among many peoples today circumcision is performed during adolescence, as a rite of initiation to an active sexual life. In Israel it was considered a sacred rite that embodied the covenant of God with his people; it was a sign that the male Israelite was incorporated into the people of Abraham. According to the book of Genesis, God ordered Abraham to be circumcised at the age of 99, and so the lineage of the people of Israel began with him (Genesis, 17,1-27).
In the time of Jesus, a baby boy was circumcised eight days after his birth, and at that time he was also given his name. This is still the custom with pious Jews today. The practice of circumcision was hotly debated in the first Christian communities. It was Paul who proposed that the rite should not be required of Gentiles, since he wanted to attract to Christianity all those Mediterranean peoples who were not familiar with the custom and would not accept it. In the churches of Egypt and Ethiopia circumcision continued to be practiced. In Islam, which was much influenced by Judaism and Christianity, the males are still circumcised, even thought the Koran does not prescribe it.
A super-masculine religion
The religious rite of circumcision, which is only practiced on males, is another expression of the patriarchal character of the Jewish religion. What can be more male chauvinist than having the people’s covenant with God symbolized by an act performed on the penis?
Yahweh, the God of Judaism, is different from the other gods of ancient times: he is a super-masculine, solitary male, without a mother and without a spouse. He is an ancestral father god: tribal, warlike, and jealous. In that culture and in that religion men are considered superior to women, and they are brought up to believe this. Pious Jewish men recited then, and still recite today, a prayer in which they thank God for having been born Jews and not pagans, and for having been born men and not women. They feel themselves to be especially chosen as a people, and also as a gender!
A pious Jewish man will not speak with foreign women and will go out of his way just to avoid coming into contact with the shadow that a woman throws on the ground. In the Hebrew language the words “just”, “pious” and “holy” have no feminine form because it is assumed that women cannot be just or pious or holy! “Unfortunate is the person whose children are girls” is a popular Jewish saying. In the Jewish synagogues the women stay in back, separated from the men. And at the Wall of Lamentations in Jerusalem the women pray in a place apart from where the men pray, and in a space that is smaller than men’s.
Patriarchal, misogynous and male chauvinist
Such contempt, disrespect and rejection of women has not the least basis in the words and attitudes of Jesus of Nazareth, who contravened all the patriarchal principles of his religion and all the male chauvinist traditions of his culture. Nevertheless, this contempt for women passed over from Judaism to Christianity, championed first of all by Paul, who was trained as a Pharisee. Later on the same contempt was found in all the Church Fathers, with Augustine at the head of them: he went so far as to claim that women had no souls!
The literature of the first centuries of Christianity is saturated with so much misogyny that it provokes consternation and demands serious reflection and self-criticism, which are still nowhere in evidence. Protestantism has not changed this orientation in any substantive way. Today the Catholic Church is betraying Jesus of Nazareth; it is fighting against the advances in humanity’s growing knowledge and sensibility around issues of gender, and it is presenting itself to the world as the West’s most male chauvinist institution.
All based on a myth
In the course of the centuries, both Judaism and Christianity have argued in favor of the subjection of women and the superiority of men. They have created a rigid, seamless doctrine based on the myth of Adam and Eve, which they take to be a concrete event that actually occurred. They read the book of Genesis as if it were a historical, or even scientific, text, and they present it as revealed truth which completely explains the meaning of human existence, the role of women and men in history, and the relations of humankind with God.