Look, it's no secret that in our area, feminism can be perceived as the second worst f-word by so many people. I mean, we live smack dab in the middle of the Bible belt and are swimming in the vast sea of red that is the state of Missouri.
But recently, it has come to my attention that the definition of what it means to be a Christian has become quite convoluted and complicated. And for a lot of people, this is probably a no brainer but I grew up in a town where you didn't question anything. So when I moved off to a college that is the tiniest blip of blue, my world was rocked in the best way possible.
In our current political climate, it can seem paradoxical to many that one can identify both as an unapologetic feminist and a Christian. Despite what some preach in the pulpit on Sundays, I refuse to believe that in order to follow my savior, I must compromise my deepest moral convictions, many of which have come from becoming a feminist.
I feel like so often, Christians believe that morality can only be religiously based.
I strongly reject that belief because it's divisive and condescending. To be frank, most of the time, I have more in common with my atheist and agnostic friends than I do with most of the Christians that I know. I have many issues with the overall narrative that mainstream Christianity perpetuates both in the media and the White House.
Despite what many people believe, you can be both a feminist and a Christian, and here's why.
The Fundamentals are the Same
Although much of the modern church believes that feminism is leading to the demise in America, I personally believe that my feminism makes me a better Christian. This is because both belief systems are founded on the premise of advocating for others. Feminism is about fighting for the rights of marginalized groups and unapologetically proclaiming equality.
Feminism is about handing the microphone that our privileged lives have granted us with and passing it to our neighbor, who by sheer dumb luck, wasn't afforded that same right. Christianity is about loving people without first inquiring whether or not they are worthy of that love.
Jesus did not question if we were worthy of love. He decided, on the cross, that every single soul that would ever be born into existence was inherently worthy. We are not worthy because we go to church on Sundays, pay our tithe diligently, or any other box that legalistic Christianity demands that we check in order to be deemed good enough.
Jesus decided that we are inherently valuable, intrinsically worthy, and that is enough. And that is the exact belief that feminism holds; that all people should be afforded equality regardless of any label that the world has placed on them; that all people are equal.
Jesus Would Be a Feminist
I truly believe that Jesus would be the posterboard for feminism. Jesus would be waiting, arms open, to his beloved children fleeing their homeland as refugees. Jesus would listen to the survivor of a sexual assault with an open heart and hear her story without a shred of condemnation or shame.
Jesus would proclaim that, yes, black lives do matter; just as much as white lives, blue lives, and brown lives, like his. Jesus would want women to be treated with the equity and respect of our male counterparts. Jesus would fight for a living wage for millions of families across the globe.
Jesus would fight the stigma that disabled people are somehow less than because they are abled differently. Jesus would love his observant, Muslim neighbor just as much as his white, Christian neighbor. Jesus would be absolutely appalled at the treatment of the LGBTQ+ community at the hands of the church.
Jesus would fight to protect our earthly home because only he knows how long we will be here. Jesus would hold the hand of the woman getting an abortion and affirm her valid emotions and meet her with nothing but love. That is the Lord we serve; one of grace and mercy and non-condemnation.
The bottom line is that Jesus would love, and he certainly wouldn't be complacent with injustice so neither should we.
Jesus showed up and showed out, just like feminists
During his brief time on earth, Jesus was a trailblazer; he was the Messiah. Jesus did not adhere to the rules of the religious culture at the time. Many times, Jesus openly defied the church and was ridiculed heavily for doing so.
The Pharisees didn't like Jesus. I see so much behavior of the evangelical church mimicking that of the group that literally persecuted the savior that we claim to love so much a mere two-thousand years ago.
But Jesus knew that the persecution was worth it; he knew that people's lives were worth his discomfort. As a feminist, I know that any discomfort that I feel is worth it.
Conversations about racism, ableism, inclusivity, and sexism are not easy, but they're not supposed to be. As a feminist, and a white, cis-gendered, straight feminist at that, I only get a minuscule percentage of the persecution that Jesus got and that my fellow brothers and sisters still get to this very day.
As an immensely privileged person, it is my job to create and promote equality; not because it is easy but because it is vital to the fabric of our democracy. And if that's not Jesus's whole message than I don't know what is.
The evangelical church has caused so much division, animosity, and pure hatred not just in America, but around the world. And it breaks my heart when people tell me that I am the only liberal Christian that they have met. I ask myself, "What have we done, as a Church, to get it so wrong?".
How long will Christians continue to stand on raised pedestals, casting stones at "the other" until they realize just what atrocities they've become? Jesus's message was simple, "Love the Lord with all of your heart and love your neighbor as yourself".
So my message, as a Christian and as a feminist, is simple too. I want to be loved, every day in my community. I want to embrace the brokenhearted and the hurting and give nothing but love, unconditional, Christ-like love. Jesus would be an activist, an ally, and an advocate, and so am I.