Posted by: minnow | May 21, 2013

CHRISTIANS AND FEMINISM

Sometimes I wish I could just let the fueled-by-outrage-snarky part of my character rant unchecked.  But I can’t.  In the big picture I neither want to be fluent in snark nor do I care to be rage-filled, so whenever possible I take a big enough breath between allowing my ire to be piqued and publicly saying something about what precipitated the irritation so as to control my rant.  A few issues catch my attention whenever they’re brought up.  How Christians paint the character of God is one of those issues.  Injustice, education, and equal rights are other subjects on which I am almost always tempted to weigh-in.

While doing research for an earlier post I came across these two guys: Christian conservative radio hosts Kevin Swanson and Dave Buehner.  On their January 22nd Generations Radio program  recorded in Swanson’s basement they sparred with each other over what they called the two forms of feminism.  Swanson begins, “And Dave, you talk about the two kinds of feminists now, this is your new division, you say there’s two kinds of feminists. All of them want to be free from the family. They want to be free from the husband.”

“Right,” answered Buehner. “There are two forms of feminism, and it actually has to do with a division of how attractive a woman is. So, you have the group that is very attractive…Now they will probably some of them become the Sarah Palin-style feminists, they’ll get themselves a husband, but they’ll never be dependent on the husband, they’ll never submit to the husband, in fact they will use their power probably to make their husband submit to them…The other ones are those who we should say are, um, attractive-deficient. … These are the kinds that will look for careers mostly likely in academia…I believe history will go back to this period of time and will look at feminism and say there was a time in which women lost the love of their children…They no longer loved their husbands…They were riled up into a froth about how they were victims of society, patriarchal society, and they decided to become selfish, narcissistic, family-destroying whores.”

Needless to say neither of these men is a fan of feminism.  But what concerns me is they actually have a platform.  People listen to them, submit to their teaching, share their attitudes, and agree with their ideas.  Their on-line monthly hits have reached over a million and their reach is international.  Swanson is a pastor in Castle Rock, CO and  Buehner is a pastor in Colorado Springs, CO. They bring in enough money through their ministries, speaking engagements, and book sales to support their families and grow their organizations.  I only stumbled across them by accident but other people purposely tune-in to their version of truth on a weekly, perhaps even daily, basis.  Yet even more alarming to me, than the venom that spews from their lips or that others agree with them, is the fact most everyone else in the Church is silent.

Feminism is the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.  It does not advocate the superiority of women any more than it advocates the superiority of men.  Feminism supports economic equality in part so that women can provide food, clothing, and shelter for their families.  When women make up 84% of the custodial parents in single parent households, being able to provide adequately for their families is essential.  Feminists support political and social equality for similar reasons–to encourage the well-being of their families by making certain the issues which impact the family, such as the availability of child care and health care costs, are taken seriously by our politicians and policy makers.  Feminism is NOT anti family or anti marriage.  In fact, it isn’t even anti God.  Believe it or not there are actually Christian Feminists.  Yet, even if you don’t self identify as a feminist, even if you don’t think women should receive the same pay as men, or be allowed to do certain kinds of jobs, I would be surprised to hear any of the people I know talk the way these two men talk on their radio program.  So what gives?

Nothing in the dialogue I quoted above exemplifies a loving God.  Yet the Church remains silent.  The intentional misrepresentation of feminist theory reveals more about the speakers than it does about feminism.  Yet the Church remains silent.  Others more well known and only slightly less offensive–Mike Huckabee, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, and Mark Driscoe to name a few–share these erroneous anti-feminist attitudes.  Yet the Church remains silent.  Do we really not care that these self proclaimed mouth pieces make God out to be a bully  and a brute by their words and their examples?  Are we seriously willing to let their ugly words of condemnation represent the heart of God toward His creation?  Have we truly become more concerned with the egos of men than with Truth? Are we honestly content to allow weariness, apathy, and fear do our talking for us?

Men and women of God–with all the courage and kindness you can muster the time has come to speak up for Love, and Truth, and Justice.  The time has come for the silent Church to be heard.  I don’t expect all of you to support the tenets of equality or even social justice.  But I do expect the Church to speak out and defend the character of God especially when those who claim to be speaking for Him have by their witness maligned His Name.

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