IN THE NEWS: Religious, Atheist, and Political Feminists – Unite?


This post is the first of a new weekly feature on Feminism and Religion that will be published every Wednesday. “In The News”  is designed to invite discussion on topics that are showing up in news and media outlets and are relevant to feminism and religion

Diane Winston recently wrote an op-ed piece for the Los Angeles Times regarding the role of faith in politics. She comments that recent poll results give the impression that religion is not playing a significant role in the current elections, for how else does one make sense of the fact that the Republican Party’s ticket is made up of a Mormon and a Roman Catholic? However she is quick to point out that although religious labels may be passé, “the religious values that inform who’s taxed, what’s regulated, how jobs are created and when or where we help those in need,”  are still very much the driving force behind how people vote and with whom they form coalitions. Thus, in the U.S. seemingly incompatible religions as well as denominations within those religions have come together in an effort to control and legislate women’s bodies and autonomy. As the editors of the Religious Dispatches asserts, “the Moral Majority couldn’t have come together without a big interfaith effort.”  

But theirs are not the only religious voices on the scene.

In the current U.S. crisis regarding women’s rights, bodies, and the overall respect of women’s dignity and value as fully and equally human, the voices that are speaking up on women’s behalf and opposing misogynistic forces are coming from religious and secular sources alike: Judy Dushku – active feminist Mormon politico; Sister Simone Campbell – ‘radical feminist’ Catholic nun; and Amanda Marcotte – outspoken Atheist feminist. As Professor Kalpana Kannabiran of India reminds us, feminism has many outlets and the opportunities for its performance and activism are infinite. 

It [feminism] is not about this one struggle. It is about every single struggle against oppressive systems, or those that are unaccountable, and therefore dangerous to human security and well-being. – Professor Kalpana Kannabiran

So, here’s a question – When it comes to feminist concerns and goals, is religion really the primary opponent? 

If you have an idea for an “In the News”  feature, please send your suggestions or your full submission to feminismandreligionblog(at)gmail(dot)com. We invite your contributions. 

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Categories: Activism, civil rights, Feminism, General, Human Rights, In the News, Politics, Resistance, U. S. Catholic Sisters, Women's Rights

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3 replies

  1. The primary opponent (in political terms) is a paleo-patriarchal attitude that wants to take us back to the 18th century’s Great Chain of Being, where gods, angels, men, eagles, and lions were on top and women and mud (plus all things material) were on the bottom.

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  2. Religion is not the enemy but rather those who seek to control and dominate others and use religion as the reason when in reality, fear is the culprit – and a fear driven need to not feel “less than” acted out by exercising that need to dominate.

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  3. Religion is just a tool, it is not the root cause of women’s sex class status to the male dominant class. What is the enemy is patriarchy, and the subjugation and sexual ownership by men of women. Religion just acts like an agent of indoctrination into worshipping big daddy in the sky, a way to control men as well as women. Even if you are an atheist or anarchist male and you can still sexually colonize and rape women (Julian Assange comes to mind) – this is about male supremacy, not religion.

    We really would have to overthrow all aspects of patriarchy, and refuse to engage with as much of it as is humanly possible. We need to know that children are indoctrinated from an early age into these delusions (malestream religions), and that is why there is so much emphasis on getting at the kids before they grow up.

    The patriarchal retro virus is always good at changing— the minute suffrage and women’s autonomy surfaced in the 19th century, early in the 20th century the males came up with hysteria, clitoridectomies, mental institutions and Freudian psychology to pathologize romantic friendships between women, for example. Psychiatry replaced religion in an attempt to control women.

    Now we have big pharma, and the massive drugging of women to keep us in line, and all the beauty propaganda and diet industry. Even leftist men can protest religion or be “pro-choice” as long as they still get to have sex with women on their own terms and watch as much porn as they want to.
    But hey, they are against organized religion, big deal.

    Remember, a 5000 year old system is quite adaptable.

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