Controversy is created by confusion. Chaos is nothing more than conflict, a clash of ideology. There has been a lot of confusion lately about what it entails to be Christian woman in a modern society, and no one, it seems, really knows what feminism is all about.
When I say I am Christian, I am not saying that I am holier than thou, or that I am better than anyone else who may believe in some other religious philosophy. I am merely saying that I believe in Christ and have accepted Him as my savior, and that is all. Feminism is a philosophy of social, political, and economic equality of the sexes and nothing more. It does not stand for the proposition that women are better than men, or that males are demons, or that babies can be killed at the whim of a female simply because she wants to. In-other-words, simply because one is a feminist does not mean she believes in abortion.
That is not saying that a feminist cannot believe in the premise of the right to abort a non-viable fetus from her body is acceptable, and even a viable fetus where her life is threatened. Motherhood is not martyrdom, although most mothers would die for her child, most women would agree that what happens to their body is their decision and not the state’s. For someone to claim that a woman cannot be a Christian where she believes that she can exercise dominion and control of her body exclusive to the interests of anyone else, church and state included is ludicrous. To believe anything else, would be akin to saying that all Christians, male or female, cannot not love God because he or she does not believe in the religious tenets established by the hierarchy of a church. Christians once believed that absolution could be bought, torture could evoke the true faith of an individual during the inquisition, and that only men could understand and therefore preach Holy Scripture.
An argument posited by a popular blogger has evoked controversy. He suggests in true rhetorical form, that women who believe in abortion cannot be Christian, and he labels them as feminists. The Catholic Church used to make the same connection in religious symbols of its competitors in order to convert and maintain its following. By demonizing the symbols of another philosophical organization they scare the less intelligent persons to convert and conform. The use of horns on a devil looked strikingly similar to the horns on several animal deities of other religious that existed in ancient times. Wiccans use to celebrate nature and they donned the horns of various animals to symbolize their union with all life.
Notwithstanding the truisms attempted to be established by the argument, that killing babies is wrong, the fact of the matter is all right-minded persons believe this. To use it to isolate and advance the philosophy of a secular group is simply wrong. Further, to utilize the misunderstandings of the uninformed and less educated persons to propel an argument is fraudulent. Here, a radical feminist is not all feminists. A radical Christian is not representative of all Christians, and radial republicans are not indicative of all persons who call themselves republican. Nonetheless, he had many persons believing that, based upon the history of feminism, particularly second wave feminism which was short lived, and no longer the philosophy of many feminists, killing babies was part of their mantra. It is not, and never was. When he argues that the ideals of feminism are archaic or unnecessary, he fails to understand its basic premise. Using his version of history is not historically accurate. First wave feminism was not even conscious that it was the first wave. These were women who demanded to be recognized as more than property. That’s right, property. Women and children for centuries were considered the property of men. First the father, and then, when married, the husband.
The first wave feminists were successful in obtaining certain rights for females to have an education, to vote, and to own property in their own name, even if married. This appeased Second wave feminism brought more advances in educational opportunity, under title IX and other concessions. This was political in nature, and the social equality came later once enough women became educated and began to see themselves as more than a subculture of men. The reason we refer to these periods as waves is because like waves that wash along the shore they rise and fall. Once women achieved some basic freedoms, they were satisfied until something reminded them of social inequity. Feminist Betty Freiden wrote the Feminine Mystique exposing the subrogation of modern women in the Fifties and early Sixties where businesses thrived on solidifying the role of women to be mothers and homemakers, to the exclusion of any other career. Men were still beating their wives, and in some case killing them or placing them in institutions for the insane in order to lawfully annul their marriages, and marry someone else. Women, in some states, were not even allowed to sit on a jury because it was believed their physiology made them less rational than men. Socially most women liked having men be more aggressive, and protect them. The strong draw of sexual freedom during the sixties gave second wave feminists a surge, but ruined their credibility when single mothers, who were caught caring for the love children they conceived as a result of misjudgment in having unrestrained sex left them struggling because the economic and political equality had not yet caught up. Third wave feminism is nothing more than a continuation of a movement for social, political and economic equality of the sexes, which both men and women recognize as an important consideration for an advancing society. When reduced to one political belief it seems to diminish its importance in world assimilation of the genders. The roles played by men and women in society should not be left to politicians, radicals, or other philosophers who propose its own agenda for change. When it comes to certain moral dilemmas such as abortion, one should look at it from an individual standpoint, not an institutional awareness.
The argument as stated numerous times over the years has been simply one of choice, the choice of a woman to make a decision if, and when to abort a fetus, both legally and morally. Christian philosophy is not adopted in its entirety by all of its followers. Adultery and divorce are two things that stand out, and the way the church used to deal with each. At one time Christians believed what God has joined in holy matrimony cannot be separated. Where a woman reasonably believes she has a right to the integrity of her own body, and like her male counterpart, is responsible for the decisions she makes in life, aborting a fetus should be one of them. I know of many feminists who do not believe in abortion whatsoever but still believe in social, political and economic equality of the sexes. How do they reconcile the disparity in their religion’s views? Simply the way every Christian does, using their own free will. Judgment is not by men, but only by God. If a woman makes the decision affecting another life that is tied to her own, she must answer to God, and her alone. The man whom impregnated her answers for his own sins. Why not a woman? Are we not able to make rational sound decisions? Or do we believe that we incapable of being moral?
The Supreme Court of the United States fought with this same dilemma. The state’s interest in preserving life was weighed against a woman’s right to the integrity of her own body. It determined that up until a point that the fetus could not sustain life without its mother, it may be legally aborted. This did not satisfy Christian and other denominations philosophical paradigms, however it gave a reasonable basis for women to believe that they are not held captive to an improvident decision, or someone else’s domination of them (rape). Although not necessary a moral cornerstone for some, legally women may choose and if in conflict with their religious leader’s belief, well does that mean they must resign from being a Christian? Again that is their choice. No man can make that decision for them. It is a woman’s right to decide what is, or is not morally sound for them to believe. One can disagree with religious tenets and still believe in Christ.
I love God, babies, men, and being independent. I am a feminist and I am a Christian. I believe in God, Christ, and the right to be both a feminist and Christian. Someone who believes in total equality of the sexes, and free will to determine my own fate and label, regardless of what others may feel I should be. When the time comes to be judged, let God judge me as someone who believes in life, making my own decisions, and equality of the sexes.
I am a Christian feminist.