Feminism: The Nasty "F" Word

A recent study found that among American Muslim and Christian women, Muslims were more willing to be seen as feminists than Christians were. There are good reasons in the Qu?an and the Bible for taking a feminist stance. What is disturbing, though, is the extent to which these liberating messages are jettisoned within Christian communities in favor of promoting patriarchal culture as God-ordained and therefore right and good.

Feminist Christians are, therefore, faced with a challenge because part of what feminism requires of us is to be critical of all structures that oppress any group of people. This criticism, especially when it is brought to bear upon Christianity itself, is seen as an attack. Yet, the core essence of Christianity, that which can be separated from the cultural conditions in which it was constructed and in which it continues to operate, cannot be seen for its liberating message until the painful stripping away of culture is achieved (at least to the extent that this is possible).

To be a feminist Christian means feminist values must be applied to all aspects of Christianity. We must be willing to analyze all aspects of our faith in light of what it means to be fully made in God’s image. And we must take the next step, too: re-envision our Scripture, our tradition, our assumptions, and our experiences.

This is no easy journey. But then again, the liberation portrayed in the Bible requires crossing the desert step-by-step.