I have never doubted my book The Bible According to Eve can help ordinary people, especially ordinary women. Why? Well, lots of reasons–some of which I mentioned–but I have a story that I want to mention that has always meant so much to me, though I doubt if the woman who told it to me knew it, she would realize that though sometimes I doubted her Conservative Christian views I never doubted her essential goodness or help to me personally. I had a problem once writing a poem in Judges. It was one of the last poems in the book–and I believe it is part of why a critic said I shouldn’t be read by kids because it was rated “R”. The idea is that a man with a concubine had her run away. And he went to her father to get her to return. She did not want to return, her father did not want her to return, and I implied that he was a child molester. However, they went back home… or started to… and on the way they went to an inn… and at that inn… a group of Benjaminite tribesmen came. And… they demanded to be allowed to rape the people inside… and so it was that the virgin daughter of the inn keeper and the concubine got tossed outside and were raped by a mob… in my poem, the men inside heard the butchering of those two girls… and the next morning the man tried to get his concubine to go home… and she was dead… and so it was he asked the other tribes for vengeance and got it. However… the girls… I portrayed their plot and showed it to Anne, “Is this too extreme for the book.”
I deliberately picked the most Conservative Christian at my work place who I worked with… and she said: “No, I do not think it is too extreme. The truth is, I had a daughter who was an engineer… and she worked at a factory where engineers work. Now, engineering is a male dominated profession, and she was the only woman. And her male coworkers had all this pornography around and other things that never made her feel comfortable… and then on a trip once she was with her male boss in the winter travelling. And the truck got stalled. And he raped her. And I asked her, ‘But you are such a big girl. Couldn’t you fight back?’ And she said that all her life she had believed in the goodness of authority in society and now she didn’t know what to believe…” She went on some afterwards about how she was changing–or trying to change her thinking–based on this terrible experience.
I have never doubted afterwards that my story could help an average girl in the face of being raped–or that an average girl could be raped–we should all be ashamed that such serial rapists as ex-President Donald Trump and Judge Kavanagh get to be big in society after what they do to women. I do not appreciate Donald Trump’s racism either, but it is dumbfounding to me that any woman can seriously like the man… any more than any black or Latino male, or disabled person’s relative. No, I have no respect for the man. Yet I have to say that the sad truth is that men with power can do terrible things. And as I think about my friend’s daughter being raped, I have to say: though the Bible did not condone the cruelty of the mob or the equal cruelty of the retaliation, it did prove that it has always existed and needs to be stopped. And that is why the Bible is not a book of pretty stories only but a book that should be seriously considered and questioned and not merely blindly believed… and that is by Christians and Jews, and not just atheists and agnostics. Perhaps the election of Donald Trump represents the blind acceptance of what is worst about our past.