Being A Feminist Christian

Posted: August 24, 2011

Last week, Madrid was all geared up for the Pope’s visit. An important aspect of this visit, was that the Church had granted authority to other priests who were in Madrid to give absolution to people who confess to, either having had or abetted abortion(s) – a sin which is awarded with excommunication usually. I remember once in school, a Catholic nun was telling us that abortion was a sin. From that day till now, I have found myself questioning this statement. I am a Christian and have always been one. I have been educated in its doctrines to a reasonable extent and follow most of the rituals associated with it. I don’t have anything against any other religion but Christianity is the only religion I know.

I do think that Christianity is relatively liberal towards women.  There are countless instances mentioned in the Bible that clearly shows that women are to be treated with respect. (Of course, there are other incidences that are open to debate, but I am not arguing the pros and cons of Christianity here.)  But what I fail to grasp, is the Church’s stand on abortion. (Nor can I understand its stand on contraception. The world is bursting at its seams! “Natural” Family Planning? What about those of us with irregular periods?! We need contraception now more than ever! But that is a different issue.)

According to the Church, abortion is equivalent to murder, as it counts every conceived child as “gift of life”. Although I tend to agree with this under normal circumstances, I’m afraid that there are far too many facets involved, that a blanket rule cannot be applied . Suppose I was raped, and this “gift of life” was implanted in me by a random rogue, seriously I don’t think I need that gift at all. When I posed this question to the nun, she said that there are a lot of adoption agencies willing to look after the child so the mother need not worry about being stigmatized. But I am more concerned about the woman herself.

Does that mean that the woman simply has no say in the matter and has to blindly comply? People are quick to point out that Mother Mary accepted Jesus Christ without any questions, even before she was married and while living in an arguably restrictive society. Yes she did. But she accepted the Son of God. Not the son of a sex-crazed, violent animal. How can a woman possibly be forced to endure the physical and mental trauma of bearing the child of a man whom she has every right to detest? Being raped is suffering enough. As if to add insult to injury, I cannot fathom why should she suffer any further just because some horrid man did not have the sense to control his raging hormones? In many cases, rape survivors do not even know who raped them. So in this scenario, does the esteemed Church in its infinite wisdom, expect that a woman should further sacrifice her body and mind to have a child for no fault of hers?  I find this unacceptable.

I m happy to be a Christian and do not want to embrace any other religion. But that does not mean that I can blindly accept or agree to the dogmas dictated by outdated customs, which bear little or no significance today. As much as I believe in Jesus Christ, I also believe that He has given each of us a mind to think, analyze, decide and then act on our decisions. And I believe that this is what makes me human-just as God intended.

Anne John plays with words for a living and would probably do the same even

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  1. I am glad to see that there are people supporting abortion rights for women even in cases where they personally don’t think of abortion as right. I think this is important – even if a person believes that abortion is morally wrong in certain cases, you have no right to take other women’s rights over their body away. That distinction needs to be made.

  2. excellent Anne! nobody just nobody has the right to force their views on an individual under trying circumstances. It is degrading to think of having a child born to a sex addict or animal.

  3. Thanks Aparna & Srilakshmi. Exactly my point. Real progress comes out of liberation and not by imposing hard and fast rules on anyone,not to mention on people in helpless and disadvantaged situations.

  4. I wonder what the church or rather the anti abortion group with or without religious affiliations think of the circumstance when doctors advise abortion in case of a risky pregnancy or due to the possibility of the child having genetic disorders? Should the mother be prepared to die so that the child may live? Or to watch her child suffer due to the disorder? Difficult it may be, but the decision rests with the parents, particularly the mother.

    • Good point HG. Unfortunately the Church holds the stand that one life is not greater than the other and man has no rights to choose which one should live or die and that he/she should simply accept Nature’s course/divine will whatever it may be.

      In fact last year a case was reported in the media, where a nun working in a health care position was excommunicated because she allowed an abortion to take place as the mother’s life was at risk.

  5. Bang on target, Anne.! You made my day.! A feminist Christian, I am striving to be, each day and every day, minus the filth fed to me in the name of religion.! And when I was submitting my papers on Social Evils in Syrian Christianity to the Uni of Nottingham, I was initially scared and worried, and as you said in para 2 my motive was only to expose that.! Whenever they talk of women, they give examples of Mother Mary, Sara and Rebecca.! But then as you know, it is impossible to be any one of them in this lifetime.! Thank God I discovered this wonderful post of yours and as you said Christianity is the only religion I deeply know.! And it irks me when the people in today’s times are going against the wonderful lamb of God that sacrificed himself for us.!

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