Woman, Christian, and the “F” Word

I read a recent article that asserted, quite vehemently, that Christian women do not need to use the “F” word.

A few months ago, upon visiting my mom’s church, I heard to a sermon about Luke, the writer of the Gospel and a physician.  The minister listed all of the many ways Luke, and Jesus himself, were fair to women.  All the ways women were included in the ministry of Jesus.  All the kindnesses that were shown to women.

But the minister was sure to point out that Luke was not…the “F” word.

feminism

After all, according to some, the “F” word is responsible for driving a wedge between husbands and wives, between mothers and children, and the unhinged slaughter of innocent babies.  How could a Christian ascribe to such a philosophy?

I’ll tell you why I am a Christian, a wife, a mother, AND the “F” word.

In the church I grew up in, the first argument against almost any activity was, “Think of what it could lead to.”  Drinking one glass of wine could lead to drunkenness, so you better not drink alcohol ever.  Dancing a slow dance with a boy could lead him to lust, which could lead to sex…so you better not take that 6-week ballroom dancing class.

And apparently, somehow, believing that women have equal intelligence and equal rights under the law and before God leads to broken homes and dead babies.  So, you better not give womb bearers equal rights under the law because you never know what they might use that freedom to do!  Because we all know that if men could bear children, no man would EVER use his freedom to end an unborn child’s life.  Right.

Using the “what could it lead to” argument is false logic, and is only applied when it is convenient.

I’ve never heard anyone in my church warn that using pharmaceutical drugs could lead to drug addiction, so better not go to the doctor or have surgery.  Even though, every year, more people initiate abuse of prescription drugs than any other drug.

The second argument used in my church against getting involved in an activities is “guilt by association.”  They like to use that old adage, “Evil companions corrupt good morals.” Or even that warning about “causing your brother to stumble,” (which is also handy with the slow dancing argument, above).

Unfortunately, that was also the argument used by the Pharisees when they accused Jesus of wrongdoing.  “If you knew what kind of woman she was,” they spat at Our Lord, “You wouldn’t let her touch you!”  They blasted him for “eating with sinners and tax collectors.”  They wanted to stop his miracles because he dared to heal on the Sabbath!

They claim that if we (the ones who claim the “F” word) only understood how much damage it has done in the world…how many broken homes…how many dead babies…in the name of the “F” word, then we would never associate with it.

I could say the same for Christianity.

In fact, I’m almost embarrassed to call myself a Christian when I think of how many injustices I and my children have suffered alone in the name of Christianity.  And then when I compound that by how many lives and families and futures that have been literally destroyed in the name of Christianity worldwide and throughout history, then I feel like I can make the same argument.  Why claim to be a Christian when you understand just how much human suffering has happened as a result!

I’m sorry, but your arguments are false.

The “F” word has a place in modern Christianity and with modern women.

Only a person who has never experienced racism would ever claim that because the Civil Rights Movement accomplished many of its goals to end legalized racism and segregation that racism no longer exists, and there is no need for a Christian to also be a Civil Rights Activist.

And it also follows that only a person who has never experienced sexism would ever claim that because the Feminist Movement accomplished many of its goals to afford equal rights for women that sexism no longer exists, and there is no need for a Christian to also be a Feminist.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, one of the original suffragettes, said that “the Bible and the church have been the greatest stumbling block in the way of women’s liberation.”  And that has been my experience, too. 

It was in church that I was taught that women, by executive order of God himself (re I Cor. 14: 34), are “to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak…and if they desire to learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home, for it is improper for a women to speak in church.”

It was in church that I was told that women are not allowed to preach, teach, or otherwise have authority over a man.  It was in church that I was taught that God’s equal regard for men and women (Galatians 3:28) does not mean equal roles, equal consideration, nor equal rights.

And it was when I stepped outside of church that I learned that so much of what I learned inside my church regarding God’s will for women were LIES.

Yes, Feminism is still needed.  And it is needed in our churches.

I regret and am saddened by the harm has been done in its name, but that does not mean that the movement itself is without merit or worth.

Just as those who do horrendous acts in God’s name don’t represent the true God and His will, women who use the “F” word to justify bashing men or leaving their families or even making abhorrent choices, do not represent what Feminism really is.  Unfortunately, their acts have made Feminism the “F” word to many Christians.

So yes, I am a Woman, A Christian, and A Feminist.

feminism1

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