The following letter (acquired through a reliable but anonymous transtemporal source) will be written by the Rev. Dr. Judith Hardanger-Hansen, archbishop of the American Archdiocese of the Lutheran Companionship of the Benevolent Deity Spiritual Movement (BDSM) sometime around the second decade of the 21st century.
Beloved in the Offspring:
First of all, I would like to thank the Synod of Bishops for the confidence they have shown in electing me to the archbishopric. I pray that our Mother will give me strength and wisdom to carry the burden of office.
It goes without saying that this burden is heavier for the recent political changes that have taken place in our country. Although these changes will have immediate consequences for all of us, I cannot believe that they will be either as catastrophic or as profound as alarmists predict.
First of all, I must denounce, in the strongest possible terms, the anti-Islamic bigotry that animates much of the resistance to the establishment of nationwide Sharia Law in the United States.
It is my position (and the Synod of Bishops supports me entirely here) that such resistance is both sinful and counterproductive. Sinful, first of all, because it is symptomatic of two of the greatest of all transgressions -- racism and religious bigotry.
Counterproductive because it is rooted in a basic misconception concerning the very nature of our faith. Christianity has always been a religion of the oppressed and the weak. (Not that I expect us to be oppressed under the enlightened rule of our good Muslim neighbors. Far be it from me to suggest such a thing.) Centuries of Christian domination in the world have left behind an unbroken record of tyranny and exploitation for which we can only ask forgiveness. (As a matter of fact, I intend to ask forgiveness when I am granted my first audience with the Grand Mufti of Detroit next month.)
I am particularly offended by the self-righteousness of those who call themselves the New Abolitionists, who protest the revocation of the Thirteenth Amendment. I grant that there was a time when I myself thought slavery a moral evil. But I have recently attended a number of enlightening seminars, at the invitation of the Revolutionary Government, and have come to understand that the old Abolitionist movement was a historical aberration -- an attempt by white Europeans to seize pretended moral high ground and shame their betters in the East. I see now that slavery is in fact the Creator's will (as evidenced both by our traditional scriptures and the historical ubiquity of the practice), and that our rejection of it was a sin. It is the Creator's will that some people be slaves, and it is no kindness to deny them the only kind of life in which they can truly fulfill their spiritual potential.
I have more sympathy for those alarmed by the revocation of Women's Suffrage. As one of my old friends put it, "If I have to give up on the Trinity, I can get used to that. But ask me to throw out Susan B. Anthony -- them's fightin' words."
She spoke in jest, of course, as I explained to the authorities when I denounced her for hate speech. (I understand that she is making good progress in reeducation, and am confident that she bears no grudge.)
Nevertheless, it matters to be clear on what is, and is not, empowering to women. How long have we as feminists complained about the objectification of our bodies? What could be more liberating in that regard than the wearing of the burqa? I know I found my own burqa a little strange when I first put it on, but now I rejoice in my liberation from the lustful eyes of men. For this I have our new lawmakers to thank.
The statute that bars women from participation in various professions presents more difficulty. But I see no ultimate problem. Some complain that these prohibitions force women into the indignity of marriage, merely for the sake of economic survival. I understand this argument, but let us bear in mind that we are talking about marriage under enlightened Islamic law, not oppressive western law.
From the beginnings of Feminist theology, our struggle has always been against the evils of western sexism, founded as it was on a culture of rape, exploitation, and servitude.
Islamic culture, as our best contemporary scholars testify, is a very different thing. To the unsophisticated mind, the condition of the housebound wife of the traditional European male, "barefoot, pregnant and chained to the stove," may appear no worse than the condition of the Islamic wife. But the enlightened perceive fundamental differences. Western marriage was based on primitive biblical teachings which we have, by the mercy of the Creator, cast off at last.
Muslim marriage is based on the Koran. There can be no comparison between the essential sexism of Christian tradition and the enlightened teachings of Muhammed, blessed be he. During my own recent residence at an Islamic educational center, I began to study the Koran, and my appreciation for it grows daily.
Whether we can in honesty maintain a separate, "Christian" religious organization under present circumstances remains a question for debate. Mainline Protestants have long held to the principle that there is no such thing as a bad merger. The union of our Companionship with one of the branches of Islam remains a matter for the serious prayer of all spiritual people. We will not permit any narrow-minded devotion to arbitrary concepts like "lordship" or "doctrine" to prevent the wind of the Spirit from blowing where it will. We have always sought to be weathervanes, and the wind seems to be blowing from the east just now.
Rev. Dr. Judith Hardanger-Hansen
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