Feminist theologians have long pointed out the need to think critically about what is and isn’t called a sin. Naming sins is an enterprise engaged in by the powerful, and it has real effects on those deemed “sinners.” Labeling something a “sin” often works as a bait and switch, distracting people from naming the violence and injustices that really matter. It was pretty convenient for patriarchal religious authorities to call “pride” a sin and “humility” a virtue, pretty savvy to make it a sin for women to speak up and speak out in church, pretty calculating to call submission a godly obligation and resistance an abomination. Those with the power to name what counts as a crime rarely end up in jail.
So here’s my proposal, Ms. Pelosi: If I tweet you the photographs taken by American soldiers of the torture that took place at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, will you call for a House ethics committee to investigate those who authorized that torture? I’m also more than happy to tweet you the link to the torture memos in case you need to read those again to make your case to Congress. Do we have a deal?
Read on: Religion Dispatches