Feminism is very important to my identity – but so is my religion, Christianity. At first, I thought feminism and Catholicism would be incompatible. But I was so wrong – the two belief systems have more in common than one would initially think.
I am focusing on feminism and Christianity because I am a Christian. I do not know Judaism or Islam enough to write about their interactions with feminism; but since religion is based on peace, I imagine that there would be similarities. If you are a feminist and of a different religion other than Christianity, I would love to hear your story and how the two belief systems are synthesized in the comments! (Note that any trolling comments will be deleted.)
Feminism is about the equality of all genders, no matter the race, sexual identity, religion, age, or abilities. When this movement is executed in a way that represents Christian values, there is no reason that feminism and Christianity are not compatible.
My favorite Bible verses exemplify this:
Romans 14:13 – “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.” Word Alert iPhone app
Romans 15:7 – “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” Word Alert iPhone app
Galatians 3:28 – “There is no Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” NAS
These verses embody acceptance – no matter what. The first and second quotes are straightforward and to the point. The third literally means that there is no earthly identity in the eyes of God. Societal constructs, such as the patriarchy, state the differences between men and women, but the God of Christians sees all – no matter the religion, gender, or state of capture or debt – as children of God.
“But wait a minute,” someone may ask, “Don’t you have to be pro-choice to be a feminist?”
Some feminists would say yes. I say that it is up to the woman, as I am not going to tell someone else what they should and should not believe under the premise of a label. I am pro-choice. I’m not going to cherry-pick the Bible verses that I believe take a stand for or against abortion; I’m going to go back to the title of the stand itself: pro-choice.
Pro-choice is simply so much more than abortion. It is supporting a woman’s right to choose – whether she chooses abortion, adoption, motherhood, surrogate…it is my belief that these choices are left up to the woman, her doctor, and her deity of choice. However, I will mention that I personally do not support abortion. Pro-choice does not equal pro-abortion. I just recognize that it is not my place to tell a woman what to do with her body.
I was once truly puzzled about this. Could I, a pro-choice feminist, really call myself a Christian? Were both identities mutually exclusive? I called upon the help of a religion professor I had in college who is also a Deacon; and he gave me the best description of why pro-choice feminism and Christianity are compatible. (The message below is paraphrased.)
There is nothing in feminism that is against Christian doctrine. The name “pro-choice” contains the word “choice.” Christianity is pro-choice by default, simply due to the belief that God gave all of humanity free will. If God were not pro-“choice” (outside of the context of abortion), He would not have given humanity free will.
I will never forget that teaching. Respecting another’s choices is respecting their God-given right to free will, even if we do not agree with those choices.
As a final note, I do not and will not claim to know everything about the Bible – this is just how I interpret it based on my own reading, discussion, and life understanding. As a feminist and a Christian, this is how I interpret what I believe; this is how I have come to the conclusion that feminism and Christianity are very compatible.