So let me repeat: I am not anti-Islam as such; I am anti-sexist and anti-patriarchy. And that goes just as much for Christianity. So just to prove that one is an equal-opportunity organised-religion-basher, and heartened by the bracing opinions on the subject expressed by Billy Connolly, whom I saw last night and will post about, much more cheerfully, in a minute, here's something from this morning's news that I find utterly dismaying.
Following closely the faster-than-expected recovery of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords from the experience of being shot in the head by a lunatic (when was the last time you heard, BTW, of a woman shooting someone in the head, apart from those who shoot partners who have been assaulting, torturing and bashing them for decades?), I saw a headline this morning about her, or rather her husband, and clicked on it to read more.
Seems the astronaut husband has decided to go on his planned mission with the next space shuttle, having been reassured that his wife is progressing well and is in good medical hands. And fair do's, I get that part just fine. If I were an astronaut and I'd been at my injured husband's bedside for weeks and weeks and he was getting better every day and being well looked after then I would probably go back into space as well (and imagine, if you will, the opprobrious epithets that a wife would cop from the conservative press for that). No, here's the bit that had me reaching for the bucket:
"Every day, she gets a little bit better and the neurosurgeons and neurologists tell me that's a great sign, the slope of that curve is very important," Mr Kelly said at a national prayer breakfast in Washington.
A national prayer breakfast? In Washington?
It gets worse. Although the phrase is not capitalised in the article, it occurred to me that it might not be any old national prayer breakfast but some sort of particular one. So I googled it.
If you look at the dates you'll see that that's the one all right, and you'll also note that this cute little event began at the height of McCarthyist paranoia, the year the Rosenbergs were executed and the year before J. Robert Oppenheimer was stripped of his security clearance.
You'll also note that one of the purported purposes (sorry) of this event is for attendees to 'meet Jesus man to man'. Seems to me that leaves the ladiez free to point and mock.
Frankly I don't know why Islam bothers the Americans so much. They seem hell-bent on erasing the separation of church and state quite as thoroughly as even the most evangelical Islamic fundamentalist.
Let's hear it for Australia and the female atheist in charge.