I grew up as a “daughter of Eve,” in a fundamentalist church.
Daughters of Eve (all women in the church’s view) are unclean because they share Eve’s “sin.” Because of their propensity to sin, girls and women must be closely guided, lest they fall prey to the lure of sin.
None of that made sense to me, especially since my parents weren’t fundamentalist Christians. On the one hand, my father was telling me I could be anything I wanted.
My mother was telling me I should learn to type “In case anything happens to your husband, you’ll have a skill to fall back on.”
The church was telling me I existed to be a “helpmate” to a man and a mother to his children.
Women held no power in the church. We couldn’t be ministers; we couldn’t be deacons; we couldn’t serve communion; we couldn’t even teach Sunday school to children older than 12 because the Apostle Paul said so.
I rejected all of that as I grew up, although I married an “old-fashioned” man the first time out. Once I realized I didn’t want or need a boss, or an owner, I moved on to healthier relationships.
I kept my sons away from church because I didn’t want them to become the kind of men who would treat women without respect.
I finally discovered that there are churches where women are equal; churches where even the men were feminist. In my childhood church, these were called “Dens of Satan.”
The people in fundamentalist churches feel persecuted because they can’t make everyone believe God is a punishing father figure, and they can’t force all of society to live according to their Medieval tenets.
They are the driving force behind laws that withhold health care from poor women by closing women’s health clinics. They are the people who filed the Hobby Lobby suit that exempts “Christians” from covering women’s contraception.
They’re also the ones behind that proposed laws that would allow businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples or fire someone on the basis of sexual preference or gender identity.
They are pulling us all backward with their so-called values, as though women’s lives are less consequential than men’s.
Now comes a bill in Georgia that would exempt these good “Christians” from domestic abuse laws because they believe the man is the head of the household and should be allowed to administer whatever discipline he chooses for whatever displeases him.
“Yeah, I smacked her. She burned the toast. I have a deeply held religious belief that I have to correct her.”
That’s what it’s often called, by the way, “correction,” as though women’s desires are meaningless and wrongheaded and therefore must be corrected.
So, what comes next, public stonings of women who have been unfaithful? How far do we allow ourselves to be pulled down this road?
The day the so-called Hobby Lobby decision was rendered by the Supreme Court, I found my local chapter of the National Organization of Women and re-joined.
The Asheville/Buncombe County chapter holds meetings the second Sunday of each month in the Community Room of the YWCA in Asheville.
Wherever you live, if you’re a woman, you need to become active. You need to register and vote. You need to raise your voice.
When I was a young feminist, I thought we were winning these rights for all time; not I know we have to keep fighting.