Liberalism as Feminist Religious Tradition: Friend or Foe? By Amy Levin

Come, come, my conservative friend, wipe the dew off your spectacles, and see that the world is movingElizabeth Cady Stanton

Whenever I find myself in conversation with a liberal skeptic who assumes that the existence of a liberal Mormon or Catholic is about as likely as aliens walking the planet, I do two things. First, I show them our blog. Second, I attempt to describe the complicated, long, and constantly evolving relationship between American liberalism, religion, and feminism. The roots of this complex triad are planted in a complicated history whereby, on the one hand, religious liberalism helped women gain equal rights and social justice, while on the other hand, it created divisions among some religious women who felt liberalism threatened their theological beliefs. Of course, the term “liberalism” is fraught with its own contemporary meanings. However, religious feminists throughout history have nevertheless engaged in practices we could place under the rubric of liberalism, including the push toward cosmopolitanism, modernism, and political progressivism. The difficulty was (and still is) maintaining their religious practices and beliefs.

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