Happy International Women's Day: Christians should be feminists

As someone who grew up in intensely conservative cloisters, I often thought feminism was anti-Christian; it wasn't until I got to college that I realized not only was feminism a good thing, but I had been an unknowing feminist for years. From the time I was a kid and would refuse to watch movies that didn't have girls on the cover (cause a movie about a bunch of guys and no girls seems unbearably boring), to the first novel I wrote where the core characters were this powerhouse female family, to my unwavering belief in equality of gender — I was, and am, a feminist. During my senior year in college, I stumbled across a Matt Walsh blog post from his pre-Blaze days. I'm not going to link to it, because views are catnip to bloggers and I don't want to give them to him cause I'm petty, but in it he claimed Christians can't be feminists.

That’s right. This random dude I’ve never met tried to say that, because I believe that there is still an inequality between men and women that needs to be fixed, I don’t really love Jesus. I’m not a Christian to the level he is.

In this April 22, 2014 blog post, “Christian women: feminism is not your friend,” Walsh urges women, “Unbind yourself from the bondage of this term that’s become inexorably tied to a demonic dogma that obliterates the unity of the family, drives a wedge between a wife and her husband, and digs a giant chasm between a mother and her child.”

So now I’m not only not a Christian, I’m also essentially a Satanist who hates men. Brilliant.

He states as his reason for disliking feminism the fact that feminists support abortion. Actually, he says that the core of feminism is pro-abortion.

That’s an interesting take. And it’s also why I think Christian men and women should be feminists.

First of all, let’s get a definition of feminism. According to Google, the definition of feminism is, “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.”

Now, did you see anything in there about abortion? Neither did I. That’s because, even though abortion is one of the things that {many} feminists and feminist leaders support, it is not at the core of what feminism truly is. I know many of you are still up in arms over the Women's March in January because you think pro-life women weren't invited. That's not quite true; anyone was allowed to march for whatever their version of feminism is. It's just that pro-life groups weren't official sponsors of the march, because the organizers felt their goals didn't align. More on that in a bit.

Feminism is an attempt to equalize men and women. And in a world where, according to a report by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), women made 22 percent less than men in 2013, among other worldwide injustices — like lack of education for women, something Malala Yousafzai fights and was shot for; like child marriages where girls, children, are sold off to grown men; like all sorts of things that I don’t even know about yet — that goal has not been reached.

Feminism is not about man-hating, or child-hating. While that is something that some feminists pick up, saying it is at the core of the movement is akin to saying that, because some Christians believe that God hates and wants to destroy all gay people, all Christians must be people consumed by hate. It's like saying God desires to condemn people to Hell just because a few misguided Christians believe that.

It is an over-generalization that is, quite frankly, ridiculous.

Going the extra mile and saying it is demonic is going quite a bit too far, Matt Walsh. There’s a line—you might not be able to see it, because it’s so far behind you as to be actually invisible, but it’s there—and you crossed it.

Here’s the thing: I’m, personally, anti-abortion. I don’t believe that women who have abortions are evil or demonic or should be punished, because they're going through something and making a decision I've never had to make. And I hope I’m never in a situation where I have to decide between my life and the life of my baby, because I honestly don’t know what option I would choose. If you're a man, you will never be in a position of having to make that choice, so of course it's easy for you to say it's wrong and you'd never do it. That's pathetic of you. You can't discount a choice you'll never have to make. It's like me saying, "I would never have a vasectomy, therefore you shouldn't either." Like, what, no. Until you're in a position of potentially having to make a choice, you can't judge and you can't mandate and you just...you can't.

I don’t deny the fact that millions of infant deaths is a tragedy; an undeniable tragedy, but you know what else is a tragedy, or rather a travesty? Our broken system for adoptions and foster care that women don't trust, so they choose to abort instead; women having to go through nine months of pregnancy, often completely alone and shamed and terrified and taking time off work and not getting paid for it — how do we expect them to bring a pregnancy to full term if we don't make that possible?; the fact that our sex education is so un-educating that people don't know how to avoid pregnancy in the first place.

But it is true that many feminists are pro-abortion.

And that’s why I believe that Christians should be feminists.

Is that shocking? It shouldn’t be. It’s the same reason many of us believe that Christians should go into the entertainment world: to shine a light where light has not been shone before.

If we stand on the sidelines and hate on feminists, we’re just giving fuel to their fire. We’re confirming in their minds the idea that Christians are bigoted, sexist people. We’re making it even harder for us to reach out to those feminists who might not be Christians, and show them God’s love. If we hate them, why should they love or listen to us?

If we don’t stand shoulder to shoulder with them in the fight, proving that we, too, see the injustices of the world and believe they need to stop, how will they believe us when we say God is a god of love and not of hate?

Can I say something radical? Can I say that I think God just might be a feminist? Can I say that God loves men and women equally, and believes they are equally deserving (or equally undeserving, really) of good things? Can I point out that Jesus put his arm around the prostitute when his disciples would have jeered at her, and let her know that she was valued no matter what? Can I mention all the women God used, from Rahab to Esther to Ruth to Mary, all women whom He used to do amazing things and bring about amazing change? I mean, God loves women. He thinks they're awesome. He made them and said very good, just like He did for men, and I radically disbelieve that there is any part of Him that thinks, men deserve more. That's...well, bullshit.

God loves women just as much as he loves men. That’s a fact.

The world needs to fight for feminism for the same reason that America needed to fight for independence from England and liberation for slaves: freedom and equality. And Christians need to join in that fight not only because it is right, but because that is the only way we can minister to those fighting.

So today, on International Women's Day and #DayWithoutAWoman, I can't strike and I can't donate money (cause I don't have it lol) and there's a lot I can't do.

FullSizeRenderWhat I can do is promise to fight. Promise to love. Promise to shine. I can promise to be a feminist until feminism is unnecessary and irrelevant because it's just the way of the world. I can promise to be a Christian who loves everyone and shows compassion and seeks to understand rather than judge. I can promise to be a Christian feminist because I believe God's love can change the world and rock it to its foundation, and the only way people will see and experience that is if I'm shoulder-to-shoulder with them, marching and sweating and fighting and protesting and rocking the boat until it shudders.

Portions of this post came from this post.