I’m all over the place this week, I know. In addition to the new column on AlterNet, I have a guest post up at Skepchick, contributing to Surly Amy’s “Speaking Out Against Hate Directed at Women” series. Here’s an excerpt:
There’s one thing that just about every atheist activist agrees on, which is that religion has always treated women as inferior. Whether it’s demonizing them as evil temptresses who brought sin into the world, demanding their silence and subordination, or treating them as male property with no desires of their own, every major church has a litany of shockingly sexist teachings. And yet, even though men are the faces and the voices of organized religion, even though they wield the power and set the doctrines, they still depend on women. In order to perpetuate themselves, the churches need women’s attendance, women’s unpaid labor, and especially women’s willingness to have children and to raise them in the faith.
This is a vulnerability that’s crying out for atheists to exploit. If we could offer religious women a better alternative – if we could invite them into a secular community where they’d be treated as equals, where there’d be no more of the hateful prejudice and the blatant double standards they’ve so often been subjected to – then they’d have every reason to flock to our banner, draining the churches’ vitality in the bargain. This could be such a devastating blow, it seems to me, we should be bending all our efforts toward it. We should be doing everything possible to reach out to women; we should be throwing the doors wide open to welcome them in.
I’m proud to contribute to this series, and honored that I had an opportunity to do so. Go read the whole thing!