If you haven’t heard of Jesse Lee Peterson, all you need to know is that he is the crazy, sexist preacher who’s been in the media recently for his barely intelligible diatribes against women. In a now infamous video, first uploaded in March, Peterson rambles for 12 minutes about how women are destroying America, how they shouldn’t be allowed to vote, and how they are generally evil and destructive. He peppers his meandering sermon with blatant lies, references to God, and a lot of pointless gesturing.
This hateful video hasn’t stopped Sean Hannity from regularly welcoming Peterson to his Fox News talk show, and in a recent appearance, political strategist Kirsten Powers confronted Peterson on his misogyny and flagrant distortions of the Bible. Powers (who is by no means a liberal) brought up sane, coherent points which Peterson side-stepped via ramblings about “truth” and “whores.” Hannity, of course, didn’t want to take sides against calling women evil.
Anyway, so that not one more person should have to suffer through watching Peterson’s disgusting rant, I’ve gone ahead and summarized his bullshit minute-by-minute. You’re welcome.
Minute one: After 37 seconds of talking about why “his” America is “gone,” but never saying what about past America he particularly liked (especially since much of “past” America is full of wars, slavery, segregation, and subjugation), he cuts to the chase: Women are taking over America by achieving positions of power in society. He uses air quotes around the word “powerful.”
Minute two: On women: “most cannot” make sound decisions. Then Peterson reiterates how much it sucks that women are occasionally in powerful positions. No air quotes this time. After a pause, he decides that it’s “not real power anyway,” because real power comes from God. God gave man the power and also the ability to “spiritually guide the world on the right way to go.”
That’s right: Every year before women won the right to vote was marked by men doing an awesome job. History records show there was nothing but sunshine-rainbows and sparkly unicorns. Damn women.
Minute three: Here we learn that women in America have been “degraded” and have “no shame.” He makes a reference to Sandra Fluke and how she testified “before some … uh, before a committee.” He then misconstrues her testimony entirely and makes it apparent that his only source on Sandra Fluke’s statement was Rush Limbaugh.
Minute four: Now Peterson rambles about how women in college spend up to $3,000 on birth control and condoms (what Fluke actually said: “Without insurance coverage, contraception, as you know, can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school”) , which upsets him, because he thinks that pertains directly to “all the sex they’re having and all that kind of stuff.” (Do conservative men just not understand that taking birth control does not directly correlate to rampant sluttiness? That birth control has to be taken monthly, not just the second before you bang? That birth control is taken by women in monogamous relationships? That birth control also helps to mitigate endometriosis and other painful conditions and also to help regulate menstrual cycles?)
Then he seems to forget what he was talking about, and falls back on this gem: “It’s really about maintaining the freedom to kill babies in the womb. … The government is trying to force the Christian community, and the Catholic church to pass out morning-after pills and all that.” What’s that? You didn’t know churches are now making it rain with morning-after pills? Good thing this 62-year-old man in his nifty starched shirt is here to learn you a thing or two.
Then he gets back to the “real” problem: Women have no shame (unlike a guy who records himself regularly saying bigoted and sexist things). “Women would not have done that in the good old days, there’d have been a sense of shame about it,” he says. Ah, those shame-filled years when women were just cranking out kids, dying in childbirth, and most importantly, keeping their traps shut about it. Good times, those.
Minute five: Back to Fluke: “She didn’t re– [sic] she doesn’t, she didn’t realize that she looked like a slut. Sitting there. Making that type of profession. Confession. That type of thing.” I’m honestly not sure what the fuck that means. But what’s next is slightly more clear: “How did we get to a point where women think we should pay for them to have sex?” First, who the hell is he hanging out with, these women who expect to be paid for sex? Also, who is “we”? Is this him foreshadowing a future “Peterson Busted with Prostitute” story? And just who the fuck does he think women are having sex with? If women were only sleeping with each other, do you know what we wouldn’t need? BIRTH CONTROL.
Minute six: He informs us of a big problem, related to the other problems in this country: “No one’s saying, ‘Where’s your shame, woman?’” Then he calls men “weak” and says that they “allow these women to just run wild and screw up everything, including their souls, and their children.”
Minute seven: This minute consists of Peterson basically talking about nothing, but throwing “God,” “truth,” and “Christians” into every other sentence as an attempt to justify his shitty, aforementioned opinions. I’m not just saying this. I really couldn’t decipher a single point in the entire sixty seconds.
Minute eight: “Another big mistake is to – and I think I may have hit on this already – is to put women in powerful positions.” This is for the people who may have come in late, I think, or the ones who didn’t notice that he mentioned “power” about a hundred times in the first two minutes.
He goes on, and here’s where it gets all sorts of off-the-rails:
“They can’t handle stress; they can’t handle anything. You walk up to them with an issue, they freak out right away. Especially if they can’t get the problem resolved right away. I’ve seen it happen at the airport, banks, post offices – one little issue go [sic] wrong they go nuts. They get mad; they get upset. They have no patience. Because it’s not in their nature.”
Part of me feels bad for any woman Peterson knows. This is how he thinks of women: they’re some sort on unstable, ill-tempered wild animals who just need a good, strong dude like Peterson around to make everything all better. Because of course men never freak out. There’s never been one incident of a man losing control or shooting someone or attacking anyone, ever. That’s woman’s work. Men never make rash decisions and always deal with stress calmly. As I’m sure every woman in Peterson’s life can attest.
He goes on to say that women “don’t have love.” Not sure what this means, except that maybe a woman has never really loved him. But that would be understandable.
Minute nine: More God rhetoric. Then this: “Satan is having his way and the way things are goin’ it’s gonna all end in destrussion [this appears to be some combination of distrust and destruction]. Because it’s not like good is happening, evil is happening, and you see what evil do [sic] to you when you don’t have, uh, when you, uh, just allowed [sic] to do what it wants.” I’ll say, for a preacher, he is not a gifted orator.
Then he drops this bomb: One of “the greatest mistakes that America made” is letting women vote. He’s not joking when he says this. He even mocks a woman in the audience whose eyebrows apparently went up when he suggested that she doesn’t deserve the right to vote.
Minute 10: Here he tells us that there are more women than men, and women are voting for “people who are evil, who agree with them, who gonna take us down this pathway of destrussion.” Breaking news: not ONE MAN voted for George W. Bush, as he led the world into a whole new level of destrussion.
Minute 11: In which he tells us that “evil is coming in through the woman.” If you don’t believe him, you can “open up your eyes” and “see it for yourself. … Look at every place a woman is in control … You see nothing but confusion. There is no good in it at all. None.” Really though, this isn’t even funny anymore.
Then he blames women in power for gay marriage. Note that his definitions of “evil” all involve large groups of people that he seems to have no concrete evidence for his bias against. He then mutters what I believe is something about hiding behind rocks, because we’re losing our rights to bear arms. He’s losing focus a bit.
Minute 12: (Disclosure: By this point in the video, I’m in a very bad mood.) This last minute is just a bunch of partially intelligible ranting about freedom and truth and free speech. Then he reminds us that, because women are in positions of power, “evil reigns.” The “positions of power” he lists include home and schools. Then the tape cuts off, because even the technology couldn’t stand to watch this fucking guy.
So there you have it. I’d say the worst part is that there are people out there who actually agree with him, but the worst part is actually that a fissure did not open in the earth and swallow him before he could finish this sermon. The best part about this, though, is that he’s old and probably will die soon anyway, taking his ridiculously outdated, harmful views with him. For the time being, if someone asks you why feminism is still necessary in 2012, you can cite this guy.