Thursday, December 15, 2005

I am a feminist*

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Notable feminists: Gloria Steinem, Rosemary Ruether, myself.

I happened to be up late the other night and ended up on the website of the Episcopal Women's Caucus (I know, I know). It was at that point that I made an important life discovery. I am a feminist*. I had always thought I would be out of contention, until I saw the clear and accurate definition of feminism* proffered on the website. Whenever the word occurs on their site, there is this note of explanation, "A feminist is anyone who believes that God created males and females equally human."

That put me squarely in the feminist camp. I thought about who else in the world today might be a feminist also. I began a list:

George W. Bush, feminist
Pope Benedict XVI, feminist
Bishop Jack Iker, feminist
Sean Connery, feminist
Pat Robertson, feminist

By this time, I figured out that it was going to be a really long list. So I thought I might take the opposite approach. Who is not a feminist? This took more thought.

I figured you could eliminate all staunch atheists from the ranks of feminism,* first of all. After all, the clear and accurate definition of feminism* really starts with a belief in God. So I could add people like Marylin Manson, Kurt Vonnegut, and Fidel Castro to the list of those who are not feminists.* You could also list those who are strict evolutionists, like Stephen Jay Gould.

I was stuck for a moment when I thought about Jack Spong. On the one hand he calls himself a feminist* and talks alot about God. Yet he also says theism is meaningless and obsolete, and wants nothing to do with creationism. So I'd have to put him on the "not a feminist" list. Then I thought about the "equally human" part of the definition. It occured to me that of all the people on earth, there was one person who was definitely not a feminist*--one who believes that women are Venusians and men are Martians.

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John Gray, PhD, definitely not a feminist

*A feminist is anyone who believes that God created males and females equally human.


Milo Johnson said...

"Venusians." Unless they're from Venice.

Fr Timothy Matkin said...

That makes sense. I rarely hear people speak of beings from Venus, so I must have gotten mixed up. My apologies to all residents of that beautiful city.

Fr Timothy Matkin said...

Correction made. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Atheists by definition can't be feminists?
That there is a bad definition padre.

Maybe your 1732 Olde Dictionairy of ye Englishe Language copy is out of date. Here are the real definitions in case you need them:

fem·i·nist Audio pronunciation of "feminist" ( P ) Pronunciation Key
A person whose beliefs and behavior are based on feminism.

fem·i·nism Audio pronunciation of "feminism" ( P ) Pronunciation Key
1. Belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.
2. The movement organized around this belief.

Nope, nothing about the big bearded white guy in the sky there. May the Flying Spaghetting Monster diddle you with his noodly appendage. Ramen.


Chris Clarke said...

If I'm gonna take a guy's opinions on atheism seriously, he needs to be able to spell "atheist."

Anonymous said...

You've reminded me why I don't consider myself a Christian anymore but I'll be DAMNED (and so will you, by the way) if you'll take feminism away from me.

Fr Timothy Matkin said...

Anonymous (x2 up),
I agree that "atheists by definition can't be feminists" is the unfortunate consequence of the very poor definition of feminism at EWC--far from "clear and accurate." I'm glad you got my critique.

also, Mr. Clarke,
"Atheism" corrected. Thanks for the spelling note. God bless.

Milo Johnson said...

You're welcome. And by the way, I too am an atheist and also find the contentions of your post specious. No offense intended, I just don't wish to appear to be affirming your conclusion. Happy blogging.

Kel-Bell said...

If the Pope were a Feminist, we would have women holding office in all levels of the The Catholic Church: From Priests to Pope.

The basis of Christianity lies in the premise that humans came from Adam and Eve. Adam being Gods great creation, and Eve being the secondary.
It claims that Eve was born from Adam. (Yea, right...A man giving birth. Ha!)
It claims that women are eternally cursed with the pain of childbirth for Eve's apple eating crime.

Anyone who believes this fairy tale is NOT a feminist.

There is a basis of historical truth in these tales, but modern Christianity has twisted and warped the stories so badly that it's just insane.

Eve was not the sinful underling of Adam. She was a wise healer. The apple was a symbol of her knowledge and the serpent is a symbol of the practice of medicine. Adam and Eve were like king and queen of their tribe.

Cain did not murder Able. His Blood was 3/4 of the royal line, while his half brother Able was only 1/2 royal, thus Abel’s blood was "of the earth' while Cain was given the mark of a leader.

Silly humans.

Eden is a word that means Great Walled Garden. This implies that they lived in a place like the taj-mahal. Who built it? Who were Cain’s enemies?

Why did God need to use the Cherubim to guard the gates when he exiled them?

Maybe Yahweh was a God-Man, like the Pharos of Egypt, and the Cherubim were his armies. Maybe Adam and Eve were cast out by means of a completely human hostile takeover.

Occams Razor: The simplest explanation offers the truth.

Unknown said...

The question I never see addressed is which God created males and females equally human? Was it Odin, Zeus, Aman-Ra, Vishnu or one of the others? Are we just suppose to assume it’s Yahweh? There seems to be an assumption that everyone is part of the judeo/christian tradition that I as an Asatru find annoying.
Oh, and I reject the basic premise of the EWC definition. My definition of feminism is that all people are equally human and have equal rights and opportunities.


wordgirl said...

The idea behind feminism is not whether women are equally human as men are. Feminism is the philosophy that promotes a woman's freedom to choose the kind of career/lifestyle she wants without being told that "females can't do that".

Women in the Episcopal Church (according to Jack Iker) can't possibly hear the call to priesthood because women can't be priests. He doesn't care if they have the skills or talents to be a priest. He doesn't care if they feel drawn to it. He doesn't care if they have the temperament for it. Their gender keeps them from being candidates for the collar.

Feminism knocks down those man-made walls. Don't peddle the notion that this is scripture based. Men wrote those, too.

Fr Timothy Matkin said...

Your explanation of feminism seems far more realistic than the EWC definition. Your comment is also timely in light of my "The ministry of episcope" post. "He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it" (Titus 1:9).

As a side note, several women from our diocese have entered the ordination process here and are now serving as priests via the Dallas Plan.

For a fair and balanced report on the issue, I recommend the following report.'SORDINATIONSTUDY.pdf

TimT said...


I reckon you got treated fairly harshly over at, especially in light of the fairly obvious sarcasm in this post (my comments included in that, obviously).

You've got a decent blog here, and I reckon I might visit later ...

Anonymous said...

"The basic elements for a gynocidal campaign - an ideology of male supremacy, a vivid imagination of (particularly female) sexual filth, loathing of eroticism, belief in the sanctity of marriage and the family, and the containment of women in male-controlled in-stitutions" Jane Caputi in Violence Against Women, London, Sage, 1993, p18
Sounds like your average Christian to me. Feminism and Christianity (or indeed any other delusion devised to legitimate the social order by removing it from the realm of rational criticism as divinely planned and ordained) are incompatible. I choose feminism because I don't believe in female inferiority upheld and sanctioned by men in frocks reciting mumbo-jumbo. Atheists are more likely to challenge injustice and question prevalent belief systems/attitudes since they are free from the cringing subservience of the opium-addicted (in Marx's sense) "faithful".

Fr Timothy Matkin said...

"Sounds like your average Christian to me."

Only the part about "belief in the sanctity of marriage and the family."