Several years ago, a constitutional Amendment was proposed to equalize the relations between men and women. Known as the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), it circulated throughout the United States for several years, with each state having an opportunity to vote for or against it.
The ERA failed to get enough votes to become a constitutional amendment, but many writers have since noted that feminism has not been stopped by the defeat of the ERA. Instead, many of the main proposals of the radical feminists have been adopted as law. Feminism, in short, has triumphed, even as the ERA was being defeated. The feminist movement has been equally victorious in America’s college classrooms.
A reporter at a recent meeting of the Modern Language Association in San Francisco observes that, “so prominent a part of the academic literary scene has feminism become that during one afternoon time slot at the convention no fewer than nine sessions on feminist topics from lesbian writing to “feminist dialogics” were droning on concurrently. Feminism has gone from being a special and rather narrow interest to having become one of the large clumsy categories by which literary study is organized in the university.“1
Feminists have also infiltrated other areas of study, such as history, sociology, anthropology, and even theology.
Even some evangelical professors claim to be “biblical feminists.” Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, who teaches English at William Paterson College, calls herself an evangelical, but has co-authored a book advocating “convenantal homosexuality.” At a meeting of the Evangelical Roundtable, she defended abortion, saying, “It is our right … it is our body … it is our choice.“2
Within many mainline Christian denominations, a separate “feminist theology” has developed. One of the leading Roman Catholic feminists, Rosemary Radford Reuther, has proposed new liturgies for her “woman-church,” including liturgies for healing after an abortion, covenanting of lesbian couples, and a Summer Solstice Party. Mary Jo Weaver, another Catholic feminist, asks what feminists can do about the traditional patriarchal church.
She sees two possible alternatives: “to reject the tradition and search for new alternatives (usually focused on the goddess and a revival of witchcraft) or to reinterpret the tradition in order to change its direction and open it to the influences and lives of women.“3 Some churches have changed their hymnals and Bibles to avoid masculine references to God, and some have gone so far as to place crucifixes in the church sanctuary with female Christs!
Some feminist historians are interested only in studying the place of women in history, and some feminist biblical scholars are only interested in understanding how the Bible addresses the problems of modern women. These are worthy exercises, and can be very fruitful. A study of President’s wives, for example, can reveal a lot about American politics.
In addition to this relatively mild form of “feminism,” however, there is a group of hard-core, self-conscious feminists whose main goal is to destroy the traditional family and Western “patriarchal” culture. At an extreme, there is a relatively small group of feminist witches. Though often scorned by other feminists, whose goals are mainly political, feminist witchcraft is the fastest growing segment of witchcraft in America today.4
What are the presuppositions of the feminist ideology?
1. Radical feminists are virulently anti-Christian. Some advocate a return to the ancient mythologies because the ancient pantheon of gods included female deities. Others do not go quite so far, but in the end, they have replaced the Christian God with women. For the feminists, Woman is God. At a conference on woman’s spirituality in 1976, the advent of the goddess was proclaimed. One feminist writer noted that “proclaiming that the ‘Goddess is Alive’ in a traditional church setting is proclaiming that … being female is divine.“5
2. Feminists seek equality for men and women. Some seek more than this, desiring feminine dominance over men. But, even equality between men and women is not a legitimate goal for a Christian movement. The Bible teaches that every institution in society has a structure of authority. There are elders in the church to rule the church; there are magistrates in the State to rule the citizens; and there are husbands who are to rule their families.
Though the Bible does not teach men to tyrannize their wives, the Bible clearly states that men are to be heads of the home, and women are to submit to them (Ephesians 5:22-23). In seeking to overthrow this God-ordained order, radical feminists are simply rebelling against God. Rebellious tendencies are also manifested in the feminist advocacy of “unisex,” in which an attempt is made to overcome God-ordained differences between the sexes.
3. Feminism is often a form of Marxism. The feminists see themselves as the oppressed and alienated sex, and their goal is to throw off the chains of oppression in order to liberate themselves. What they are seeking liberation from, of course, is the traditional family structure. They are also able to make the claims that Marxists do, about the ideas of their opponents. Scholars who draw attention to the psychological and biological differences between men and women are dismissed because they are simply interested in maintaining the status quo. This tactic is often simply an attempt to dismiss evidence that is not consistent with the feminist outlook.
4. These presuppositions of equality and liberation work out in a consistent social program. As summarized by George Gilder, the ERA, if passed, would in all likelihood have had the following effects:
- eliminated all rights of wives and mothers to be supported by their husbands, except to the extent husbands could claim an equal right;
- eliminated all laws in any way restricting the rights of the gay liberation movement publicly to teach, proselytize, or practice their sexual ideology;
- forced sexual integration of all schools, clubs, colleges, athletic teams, and facilities;
- forced the drafting of women and the sexual integration of all military units;
- compelled the use of government funds for abortions.6
Culture is also to be feminized. In fact, feminism has already made remarkable progress in transforming our culture into a feminist ideal. As one “biblical feminist” notes, “Feminism since the early 1960s, has begun to color interpersonal relations, the language we speak, family life, the educational system, child-rearing practices, politics, business, the mass media, religion, law, the judicial system, the cultural values system, and intellectual life.“7
The feminist goal is nothing short of social, political, and cultural revolution. Beware of this when it emerges in your college classroom.
When the National Women’s Studies Association had a recent annual convention at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, the following courses were offered for professors. These are the actual course descriptions listed in the conference publication:
- “Lesbian Studies: Creating Choices Both Inside and Outside the University. This session will explore lesbian education both within the university and in community based programs and will ask how feminist education can facilitate the choice of lesbian identity.”
- “Female Deities: Historical Perspectives. Panelists present historical overviews of female deities: one discusses intimate associations of female deities of the ancient world to various insects and beasts; the second panelist sketches some major trends in the history of the mother goddess religion; the third explores the patriarchal dichotomy of marriage in opposition to love.”
- Lesbian Nuns: Breaking the Silence. Unique revelations gathered from both ex-nuns and present nuns.”
- “On the Barricades for Abortion Rights: What We’ve Learned and How We’ve Won Against the God Squads. Four activists will discuss how we can defend our gains nationally against the right-wing campaign to turn back the clock for women’s rights.”
- “Lesbian Mothering. This session will deal with alternative conception, legalities and custody battles, and other related issues of lesbian mothering.”
- “Incorporating Feminist Content into Traditional Courses: How the Revised Syllabus Looks.”
The convention was paid for with our tax dollars.8
1 D.G. Myers, “MLA Malaise,” The American Spectator (March, 1988), p. 33.
2 James L. Sauer, “Letter From Philadelphia,” Chronicles (February 1988), pp. 40-41.
3 Phyllis Zagano, “In Whose Image? – Feminist Theology at the Crossroads, “ This World (Fall, 1986), pp. 81, 83-84.
4 Jeffrey B. Russell, A History of Witchcraft (London: Thames and Hudson, 1980), p. 156.
5 Quoted in Mary Pride, The Way Home: Beyond Feminism, Back to Reality (Westchester, IL: Crossway, 1985), p. 5.
6 George Gilder, Men and Marriage (Gretna, LA: Pelican, 1982), pp. 103-104.
7 Quoted in Mary Pride, The Way Home, p. 12.
8 Phyllis Schlafly, “Taxpayers Foot Bill for Radical ‘Women’s Studies,’” Copley News Service.
Excerpt used from Surviving College Successfully: A Complete Manual for the Rigors of Academic Combat by Gary DeMar, 1988 by Primero Resources, used by permission of Wolgemuth & Hyatt Publishers, Inc. Available from your local Christian bookstore.