If Feminists Fear Religion, They Should Fear Its Decline Even More

For at least half a century, American feminists have considered religious conservatives their greatest rivals in the public square. But Louise Perry points to the greater danger to women from a new kind of post-Christian morality, which, she argues, bears a strong resemblance to the morality of the pagan world before Christians introduce a new sexual ethic with its roots in Judaism:

In historical terms, it is the Christian system of sexual ethics that is an aberration. What the historian Kyle Harper describes as the “first sexual revolution” emerged in a society in which Roman men enjoyed unrestricted sexual access to their social inferiors. The Roman marriage system may (unusually) have been monogamous, but it looked radically different to the monogamous system that existed until recently in our own society, and their sexual morality was even stranger. High-status women were expected carefully to guard their chastity, but all other women were potentially ripe for the picking, whether or not they wanted to be. This was a slave society, after all.

Christians demanded chastity, not only from women, but also—radically, infuriatingly—from men, too. The advent of Christianity really did constitute a sexual revolution, which is exactly why its early converts were disproportionately female, and why the majority of the world’s Christians are female still. No wonder Nietzsche described Christianity as a religion of “women and slaves.” (He did not intend this as a compliment.)

Modern feminism is not an enemy of Christianity; it is its descendent. The moral ideas that form the basis of feminism are derived from Christian values that are, in historical terms, highly unusual.

Read more at Compact

More about: Christianity, Decline of religion, Feminism, Sexual ethics, Sexual revolution

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy