IWD: Politics and Religion
To me, in patriarchy, politics and religion are always mixed. Sometimes (like now) we are (made) conscious of it by events that make the mix obvious, and sometimes it lies just "below the radar" or in the subconscious motivations of our thoughts and actions. As I noted in a post a few years ago many people deny or do not understand the relationship of politics and religion in history and because of this do not understand how it is interwoven at present. This despite the situation described in the previous paragraph, and despite ongoing examples in other parts of the world. These "many people" include people who consider themselves feminists, some of whom teach courses related to women in our universities. We may have made a little progress, because there was a time when what I’ll term exclusively-political feminists did not see the relevance of religion at all. Today, in most cases in the US, both exclusively-political feminists and spiritual feminists (a term I use for spiritual-political feminists) usually agree on the problem: that Abrahamic religions have played a role in establishing patriarchal rule and their doctrines continue to play a part in sustaining misogyny. What we disagree on is the solution. Exclusively-political feminists tend to either count themselves out of any organized religion and/or be atheists. I think this is a valid personal position. But, as we can see today, it doesn’t solve the problem for our culture, for our society as a whole. Spiritual feminists point out that religion isn’t going away. It would seem that some sort of belief system that causes us to seek connection with a spiritual source or dimension is hard-wired into us. So, while atheism may be a valid path for an individual, it doesn’t solve the problem of an oppressive religious system that validates oppression of women (along with validating oppression of other groups seen as "other"). The solution that spiritual feminists see as essential is replacing oppressive religions with religions of equality. For many of us this means having female deity as primary, or imaging the divine (0r sacred) as female. We find historical justification for this, described by now in many books, and verified it seems almost daily by new archeological finds. These finds verify that in almost every culture, the divine was worshipped in female form. Anthropologists find these societies more egalitarian than those that developed after the Goddess religions were destroyed. It is no accident that Christian Dominionists attack what they call the "Queen of Heaven," which includes all female representations of the divine, including the Christian Virgin Mary. And it has become clear that what the radical right is after is the re-subjugation of women.
This International Women’s Day, in this Women’s History Month, is a good time to remind ourselves and remind others, of the importance of rooting out the misogyny in politics by going to its roots, misogyny in religion.