Feminist, as in I am a Feminist. Feminist. Fem. i. Nist. (And I Blog at Patheos.)

There.

I did it.

I said feminist.

Before I came to Patheos, I had a brief flirtation with that other biggie in the religious blogosphere. I actually debated with my silly self as to which was the best way to go.

Then today, I learned that, if I had decided to go to that other place, a large number of the posts I’ve written here at Patheos might very well have been round filed. Of course, I don’t know that they would have been round-filed. I’m just guessing, based on this article.

The reason for this possible round-filing of my deathless prose would, if I am making the right connections here, be that I use the word “feminist.”

I not only use it in connection with a socio/political movement that goes by that name, I use it in connection with myself.

As in, I am a feminist.

I am you know.

A feminist, that is.

The way that women are battered, beaten, raped, tortured, bought, sold and murdered around the globe outrages me. I am a feminist, and I will remain a feminist until our casual acceptance of this mass brutality ends. In fact, my question to every Christian reading this is Why aren’t you a feminist, too?

Do you really think that this sickening degradation and brutality directed toward the life-bearers, the mothers, of humanity comes for anywhere besides the deepest pit of hell?

Every time I say I am a feminist I am saying it for those women whose bodies lie in the dump, the lake, the woods and the shallow grave. I am saying it for the baby girls who are aborted for no reason other than that they are baby girls. I say it for the battered wives and the raped girls who feel shame when it’s the rapist who should be ashamed.

I am a feminist; a pro life, catechism following, Jesus loving unreconstructed feminist who will not give one inch on issues of human rights for my half of the human race.

There.

I said it.

In print.

On Patheos.

Where I can say anything I want.

Do Women Need Planned Parenthood?

Do women need Planned Parenthood?

Every time anyone raises the question of cutting government funding for Planned Parenthood, the organization’s supporters — who range from the President of the United States, through many people in Congress to much of the media and a large number of the wealthiest and most powerful people sitting on boards, and heading up corporations and organizations throughout this nation — raise a clamor about “women’s health.”

You would think that Planned Parenthood was the only organization in this country that offered pap smears and birth control. You would also think that pap smears and birth control were all there was to women’s health care.

It has amazed me for a long time that no one calls them on this propagandistic approach to the question. Many times, the people ringing this alarm bell about Planned Parenthood and “women’s health” are the same ones who want to legalize prostitution and not only support but avail themselves of the services of women who they can pay to undergo surrogate pregnancies and submit to egg harvesting. In the entertainment world, they are also the people who put out the various forms of entertainment that depict women as sex things and promote rape and violence against women as entertainment.

They are, in short, misogynists. I include the “feminists” who support pornography, prostitution, egg harvesting and renting women for surrogate pregnancies among them.

It’s mind boggling, when you think of it like that, that these are the people we have accepted as the guardians of “women’s health.” Is it any wonder that they will go to the wall to defend Planned Parenthood. I can’t speak for the whole country, but here in Oklahoma, the interlocking boards between Planned Parenthood and organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, ACLU, the State Medical Association and most other high-powered boards is striking.

All of this raises the question: Do women really need Planned Parenthood? Can they get the same pap smears elsewhere? Will it cost them more to go elsewhere? After all, Planned Parenthood is not free. It gets money from the government to provide these services, rakes in money from private donations and also charges the women when the come in for care.

This Live Action video answers that question. Have a look and see.

 

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The New Prostitution: Surrogate Pregnancy

I’m going to be writing about the “new” prostitution a lot in the months ahead. One of these new ways to objectify and exploit women is commercial surrogate pregnancy.

Jennifer Lahl, president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture, is a stalwart battler for women’s human rights in the face of the new forms of dehumanization and exploitation that medical technology has placed in the hands of doctors. She has fought a hard and often futile battle against a money-hungry medical establishment which supports doctors in exploiting and harming their patients for monetary gain.

Preview of  surrogate mother  Google Search

Simple Google Search Returned Pages of Hits Offering to Sell Women’s Bodies for Surrogacy

 

This technology is marketed as a solution for desperate families who can’t have children. In truth, what we have is the buying and selling of women and babies over the internet in what can only be described as a mass market for a new and virulent form of prostitution. The purchasers are wealthy people, including many powerful celebrities, who don’t want to be bothered with having children themselves, and homosexuals, especially gay men.

In  my opinion, one reason this misogynist abuse of women has been allowed to flourish is that the churches are, even now, tone deaf about women’s human rights. They focus on the lives of the embryos that are mass produced by harvested eggs without considering that the women whose bodies are being farmed, and whose health and dignity as human being is being comprised, are also human beings whose human rights as well as their health and well-being are compromised by this practice.

In truth, egg harvesting and surrogacy is a one-two punch of human rights violations. It reduces both the babies and the women to the level of commodities to be bought and sold with no regard for their well-being.

It comes as no surprise to me that a lawmaker in Washington DC wants to swing the doors wide open on the abuse of women and children with this egregious practice. The lawmaker is Councilman David Catania and he says he does not expect any serious opposition since all he’s doing is “remedying … an imperfection in the law.”

Preview of  Surrogate Mother Egg Donors and Sperm Donors In Oklahoma City 73101

Oklahoma City Ads for Buying Women’s Bodies to Use as Surrogates. 

I just love the casual way people who are tone deaf to human rights, especially as they apply to women, decide that buying and selling women, using their bodies like appliances, and farming them like they were animals is not only an A-OK thing to do, it’s all for the greater good. Misogyny is truly a wonderment, isn’t it?

From National Catholic Register:

Surrogate Pregnancy Bill in D.C. Draws Criticism (725)

Women and children are exploited through this popular ‘rent-a-womb’ practice, Jennifer Lahl charges.

 

Jennifer Lahl, president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network

 

WASHINGTON — A lack of information about the dangers of surrogate pregnancy could soon allow the

practice to become legal in Washington, D.C., warned the founder of one bioethics organization.

“These issues aren’t on anyone’s radar,” said Jennifer Lahl, president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture. “By and large, people have accepted third-party reproduction. It’s not seen as controversial … because people are woefully misinformed.”

Lahl told Catholic News Agency that the average person sees nothing wrong with surrogacy, which is the practice of a woman carrying and delivering a baby for someone else. This could explain the lack of opposition to a new bill in the nation’s capital, she said.

Legislation introduced June 3 by D.C. Councilman David Catania would legalize surrogacy in the District. If passed, it would wipe away current local legislation prohibiting surrogacy contracts, which carry penalties of up to $10,000 in fines or a year in jail.

“I don’t expect there to be any significant opposition,” Catania told the Washington Examiner. “This is about remedying what I believe to be an imperfection in our law.”

Lahl, who worked as a pediatric nurse for 20 years, said most people are unaware of the negative repercussions of surrogacy. She noted that concerns with legalized surrogacy include a lack of research in the field and a failure to consider the impact on the child and the woman whose womb is being “rented.”

One of the biggest concerns, she warned, is that the relationship between a mother and a child in her womb is ignored.

“So much is going on in that womb,” Lahl explained. “The surrogate mom and child will be linked genetically, and there’s so much we’re learning about genetic diseases and how much the womb plays into that child’s health.”

The connection is more than simply physical, she continued.

“Newborns know one thing — they know who their mother is,” she said. “I’ve known of mothers who sing to their children in the womb or read them books. What happens when you tell a mother to intentionally not bond with a child in their womb?”

California lawyer Stephanie Caballero handles surrogacy cases and says 30% of her clients are homosexual. She told the Washington Examiner that, with proper screening, money is not the only reason women decide to become surrogates.

“The first reason is because they want to help someone,” she said. “They do it [in part] because they love being pregnant.”

However, as part of a new documentary for the Center for Bioethics and Culture, Lahl has interviewed numerous women who were surrogate mothers. By and large, she said, surrogate women “are women who have financial need — wealthy women are going to be buying the surrogacy contract.”


Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/surrogate-pregnancy-bill-in-d.c.-draws-criticism?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NCRegisterDailyBlog+National+Catholic+Register#When:2013-06-10%2012:22:01#ixzz2Vr4nJEGJ

They Said it Would Never Happen: Human Cloning on Our Doorstep

Human cloning.

I remember well when we were promised that human cloning was never going to happen. People who raised this issue were, as usual, mocked and heckled as paranoid fantasists. Now, of course, people who oppose human cloning are mocked and heckled as “backward” and “anti-science.”

Another moral issue that is not mentioned in this video  about recent advances in human cloning is the misogynist practice of farming women’s bodies for eggs with little or no concern for the consequences to the women.

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Part 2: What’s So Bad About Gosnell?

Death angel It’s a matter of timing, not killing. 

No one questioned that Dr Kermit Gosnell had killed a lot of babies. After all, that was his business. He killed babies for a living. And he made a killing at killing. According to some reports, Dr Gosnell made millions from killing babies.

That was never the issue. Because killing babies is not a crime. The crime is where and when you kill them. The issue, the fine point that both the defense and the prosecution wrangled over day after day for weeks, was whether or not Dr Gosnell killed the babies after they were outside their mother’s bodies, or before.

Doctors routinely chop babies up when they are inside their mother’s wombs. I could put a YouTube video right here of a doctor dismembering a baby and pulling its body parts out and tossing them in a tray. Happens all the time. Happens every day.

Every. Single. Day.

The difference is when the mother delays killing her baby until the child is big enough that it’s no longer possible to chop it up inside the womb and then extract the dismembered body a piece at a time. There comes a point where it’s difficult to get that big baby out without also delivering a living child.

Abortionists go through all sorts of medical contortions to make sure that the baby is dead when they get it out. One of their favs is to jab a needle through the mother’s abdomen and shoot poison into the little one’s beating heart. If the dosage is adequate and their aim is good, the baby dies. They can then put the mother through labor and delivery of a dead child. Ta da. Dead baby and no courtroom drama to follow.

Another practice is to induce labor with such violent contractions that the contractions kill the child as it’s being born. Not so neat. And certainly a big ouch for the mother. But another ta da. Dead baby and no need to hire a defense attorney.

There are other ways, of course. One is to shoot saline solution into the mother’s womb (again, that nasty needle through the abdomen) and scald the baby to death. Then, of course, induce labor and deliver a dead child. Ta. Da. Dead baby and no visits from the police.

Of course, things get dicey when one of these tragic potions fails and a live child comes out of the abortion process. That’s when the question of timing becomes pertinent. 

Screen Shot 2013 04 12 at 1 20 56 PM

As Gosnell’s defense demonstrated, it doesn’t matter that Dr Gosnell killed children. All that matters is when he did it. Their whole defense rested on the contention that the good doctor had managed to kill each of these babies while it was still inside mama’s womb. His grisly practice of using scissors to sever their spinal cords afterwards was just a bit of — excuse the word — overkill.

They were successful enough with this defense to get several charges dismissed and to have the jury find the doc not guilty on another charge. In other words, it worked. Fortunately for justice lovers the world over, it didn’t work completely. The jury evidently decided that Dr Gosnell had not killed all the babies before getting them out. Three of them managed to survive the abortion. Killing them then made it murder. 

Five minutes before, it would have been good medicine. 

Kenneth Edelin

Dr Kenneth Edelin

Dr Gosnell is not the first abortionist to get hung up on this quibbling technicality of when they kill the baby. Dr Kenneth Edelin and his colleague tried to abort a baby that was around 20-24 weeks back in 1973. First, his colleague used the then-standard process of injecting saline into the mother’s womb. When the baby survived that, Dr Edelin tried what is called a hysterotomy, which involves cutting the mother open and then running his finger between the baby and the placenta, severing its lifeline. In theory, the baby smothers and dies and we have another ta da. Dead baby and no legal troubles for doctor.

In this instance, prosecutors maintained that Dr Edelin failed to kill the child again. He ended up smothering it after it was born.

Instead of a ta da, Dr Edelin had to go to court, where he was convicted. His conviction was subsequently overturned, based largely on claims that the baby was “not viable” anyway.

That overturned conviction, based as it was on the question of viability, set the stage for 40 years of slaughter of late-term babies.

The prosecution achieved a first in the Gosnell case. They got a jury to acknowledge that what Dr Gosnell had been killing were human beings. A first degree murder conviction is only possible if people are killed. You can not be charged, much less convicted, of first degree murder for killing chickens or pigs or goats. First degree murder requires that a human being deliberately and with premeditation kills another human being.

That’s what Dr Gosnell was charged with and it’s what the jury convicted him of doing.

That’s a big win.

But it still begs the question: If these babies were human beings when Gosnell killed them, why were the other babies for whom charges were dismissed, not human beings?

Gosnell victim

Let’s examine this contention. The babies who were “already dead when they were born” had been killed by Dr Gosnell. Not one person disputes this. But because they were killed a few minutes earlier in their lives than the other babies, their deaths don’t matter. They are non-human thingies that anyone can kill for any reason or no reason at any time.

But, 15 minutes later, they are full-fledged human beings and killing them is premeditated, first-degree murder that is liable to earn their murderer the death penalty.

In both the case of Dr Edelin in 1973 and Dr Gosnell in 2013, the legality of using timing to determine humanity is insane. There is no logic or explanation that can make it seem sane to any thinking person. 

Yet that is the law we live by. It is the law these babies died by. 

We have made murder a “right,” and we are, every single day, reaping the whirlwind that comes from that.

So, the question arises. If it’s only a matter of timing, what’s so bad about Gosnell?

Part 1: What’s So Bad About Gosnell?

Remember this?

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This video is from this legislative session in Florida. It reflects the current attitude of Planned Parenthood concerning babies who are born alive during late-term abortions.

That’s the same Planned Parenthood we seeing throwing Dr Kermit Gosnell under the bus and condemning the very practices they paid a lobbyist to protect just a few weeks ago. I’ve written that Dr Gosnell is the monster pro choice built. Actions like the one in this video are how they built him.

Dr Gosnell only did what this lobbyist was working to protect. He was the physician. His patient had already voted that the baby should die by coming to him for his services. The Planned Parenthood lobbyist’s contention that the “decision” of what to do with a baby born alive during abortion “should be left up to the woman, her family and the physician,” was pretty well covered; the lobbyist’s oddball insertion of “her family” into the decision-making process notwithstanding.

So, what’s so bad about Gosnell?

Gosnell Gets Life Without Parole x2

Dr Kermit Gosnell accepted a deal in which he received life in prison without parole in exchange for giving up his right to an appeal. 

He will be sentenced Wednesday for the third conviction, which is for involuntary manslaughter.

I think this is a good deal for everyone involved. I doubt that the 72-year-old Dr Gosnell will be busting out of prison to kill more people the way Ted Bundy did. By forfeiting the right to appeal, he will almost certainly have to do the time.

From CBS News:

Kermit Gosnell Update: Convicted Pa. abortion doctor gets life in prison 

Dr. Kermit Gosnell is escorted to a waiting police van upon leaving the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia, Monday, May 13, 2013, after being convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of three babies who were delivered alive and then killed with scissors at his clinic.

 / AP Photo/Philadelphia Daily News, Yong Kim

(CBS/AP) PHILADELPHIA – A Philadelphia abortion doctor convicted of killing three babies who were born alive in his clinic agreed Tuesday to give up his right to an appeal and faces life in prison but will be spared a death sentence.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, was convicted Monday of first-degree murder in the deaths of the babies who were delivered alive and killed with scissors.

In a case that became a flashpoint in the nation’s abortion debate, former clinic employees testified that Gosnell routinely performed illegal abortions past Pennsylvania’s 24-week limit, that he delivered babies who were still moving, whimpering or breathing, and that he and his assistants dispatched the newborns by “snipping” their spines, as he referred to it.

Prosecutors agreed to two life sentences without parole for two of the three first-degree murder convictions, and Gosnell was to be sentenced Wednesday in the death of the third baby, an involuntary manslaughter conviction in the death of a patient and hundreds of lesser counts.

Prosecutors had sought the death penalty because Gosnell killed more than one person, and his victims were especially vulnerable given their age. But Gosnell’s own advanced age had made it unlikely he would ever be executed before his appeals ran out.

Gosnell has said he considered himself a pioneering inner-city doctor who helped desperate women get late-term abortions. Defense lawyer Jack McMahon said before the sentencing deal that his client’s bid for acquittal was a battle. (Read the rest here.)

Abortion Advocates React to Gosnell Verdict

Spin

“They” are spinning the Gosnell verdict as best they can. 

“They’ve” filed lawsuits against pro life legislation. “They’ve” lobbied — often successfully — to kill bills that would require abortionists to have hospital privileges, to give women informed consent before performing an abortion, to require parental notification before doing an elective abortion on a minor. They’ve fought  bills that would allow the state to file murder charges on the life of the baby as well as the mother when a pregnant woman is murdered. 

I could go on. And on. With the exception of requiring abortionists to have hospital privileges, the things I’ve just described happened with bills that I authored and that became law in Oklahoma. Abortion advocates fought these bills and then attacked me viciously for having authored them. I could easily multiply these things out to cover every legislature in this country. 

Based on this, I believe that “they” do not want any limits on what an abortionist can do to babies, or for that matter, to women. So, it wasn’t any big surprise to me when “they” chimed in with non-sequitur verbal claptrap after the Gosnell verdict today. Their comments today were just an extension of the blab they’ve been blabbing throughout this trial. 

Stand w planned parenthood

Basically, “they” are saying that pro life people are the reason Dr Gosnell was able to commit these crimes. This kind of “who’s on first” sophistry is shameless. “They” don’t care how ridiculous it sounds. “They” know that their faithful followers in the media will buy it and sell it like the kool-aid it is. 

Who are “they?”  

The big-name abortion advocates Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro Choice America. Here are their comments about the Gosnell verdict today. I am publishing the full statements:

Naral logo

NARAL Pro-Choice America:

Full statement from Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, on the conviction of Kermit Gosnell:
 
“Justice was served to Kermit Gosnell today and he will pay the price for the atrocities he committed. We hope that the lessons of the trial do not fade with the verdict. Anti-choice politicians, and their unrelenting efforts to deny women access to safe and legal abortion care, will only drive more women to back-alley butchers like Kermit Gosnell.

“From the lack of funding available for low-income women to access abortion services, to the sharp decline of reputable providers in Pennsylvania, to the gross negligence of authorities to enforce the law after complaints were filed against Gosnell, each aspect of this case must be a teachable moment for lawmakers: until we reject the politicization of women’s medical care and leave these decisions where they belong — between a woman and her family and her doctor — women will never be safe. The horrifying story of Kermit Gosnell is a peek into the world before Roe v. Wade made legal a woman’s right to make her own choices. 

“NARAL Pro-Choice America’s annual Who Decides? publication has given Pennsylvania an ‘F’ grade precisely because it has passed medically unnecessary laws that restrict access to safe and legal abortion care. It is my sincere hope that the women in Gosnell’s clinic did not suffer in vain and that Pennsylvania, and every state, will step up and join us in making the protection of women’s ability to get, safe, high quality, and legal abortion care a top priority.”

 

Planned Parenthood

PLANNED PARENTHOOD:

Planned Parenthood Statement on Gosnell Verdict

 

 

 “The jury has punished Kermit Gosnell for his appalling crimes. This verdict will ensure that no woman is victimized by Kermit Gosnell ever again.

“This case has made clear that we must have and enforce laws that protect access to safe and legal abortion, and we must reject misguided laws that would limit women’s options and force them to seek treatment from criminals like Kermit Gosnell.”

–Eric Ferrero, Planned Parenthood Federation of America Vice President for Communications

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It appears, based on these statements, that both these organizations have decided that Dr Gosnell is one “abortion provider” they are not going to defend. No matter how “needed” his services were by “desperate” women who just figured out six, seven, eight or even nine months into their pregnancies that they wanted an abortion, the abortion-at-any-time-for-any-reason crowd is going to stand down and let Dr Gosnell take care of himself. 

This is a huge sea-change that pro life commenters seem to be overlooking. Always before, abortion advocates have stood by these docs, no matter what. 

What does this mean for the pro life cause? I’m not sure yet, but I do think it’s an important and possibly pivotal development.

As I said in an earlier post discussing this verdict, I am going to hold back on what I say about Dr Gosnell until after the sentencing phase of the trial is over. I think there’s enough for us to chew on with today’s verdict and these statements. 

I’m putting them here in their entirety because I want you to read them that way. I’m hoping this will make you better able to recognize the inevitable spin based on what Planned Parenthood and NARAL said when it comes. 

 

Gosnell Found Guilty

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Dr Kermit Gosnell, screen shot

Dr Kermit Gosnell stands convicted of 3 counts of first degree murder.

The charges stem from the deaths of babies that were born alive at Gosnell’s late-term abortion clinic and then subsequently killed by Dr Gosnell and members of his staff. According to testimony in his trial, Dr Gosnell most often murdered these babies by cutting their spinal cords through an incision in the backs of their necks. 

The sentencing phase of the trial is still ahead. Prosecutors have said that they will seek the death penalty. 

I’ve held off about making direct comments about Dr Gosnell because of the on-going trial. I’m going to continue that policy until after he is sentenced. However, I will make one small exception:

This verdict acknowledges something very important. By convicting Dr Gosnell of first degree murder, the jury has said that these babies were human beings. The misapprehension that any child before birth or even shortly after birth is not, in fact, a human, is what led to the things Dr Gosnell did. 

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Dr Gosnell’s Clinic, screen shot

This lie is what allowed Dr Gosnell to walk the gray area in the law for so long. I know from personal experience the lengths “pro choice” people will go to stop any regulation or limitation on the “right” to abortion. They are perfectly willing to endanger women’s lives with substandard and dangerous medical practices to protect abortionists. 

In the case of Dr Gosnell, the militant opposition to anything that limits the rights of abortionists to kill at will has finally crossed a bridge too far. The simple acknowledgement that a baby that survives an abortion is a human being has entered a courtroom and a jury has agreed that the baby is a human being who may not be killed with impunity.

You cannot have a verdict of murder in the first degree unless 12 people agree that a human being has been deliberately killed with premeditation. “Things that will one day become human beings” do not have the dignity of having their deaths called murder. 

I am going to save the rest of my thinking about Dr Gosnell and what he did for another time. I do not want to contribute in any way to an atmosphere that might be called prejudicial. 

Let the system work. 

Then, we’ll talk about it in detail. 

From the New York Times:

PHILADELPHIA — Dr. Kermit Gosnell, a West Philadelphia doctor known for performing late-term abortions, was found guilty on Monday on three of four counts of first-degree murder. 

The verdict came after a five-week trial in which the prosecution and the defense battled over whether the fetuses Dr. Gosnell was charged with killing were alive when they were removed from their mothers.

Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty when the trial moves into the sentencing phase on May 21.Dr. Gosnell, 72, wearing a dark suit, showed no emotion as the jury foreman read the verdicts on the 10th day of deliberations.

Before the foreman spoke, Dr. Gosnell smiled at his lawyer, Jack J. McMahon, and shook his hand. Read the rest here.)

Do God and His Church Hate Women?

“The reason why any free, independent woman would call herself a Christian is beyond me.”

This thought came from a blog that I read yesterday. It’s a small personal blog, but the sentiment it expresses is passed around among unbelievers like a toke at an dorm party from the 1960s. That makes it worth talking about.

Does God tell Christian women, as this author proclaims, to “shut the h— up?”

Are Christian women downtrodden, silenced people who are not allowed to speak up about the things that matter to us?

While I can’t speak for every Christian woman in every denomination in all the world, I am a rather public member of the largest Christian denomination on this Earth. You may have noticed that nobody’s silenced me. 

In fact, I can honestly say that nobody wearing a collar has ever tried to silence me. That is not to say that the collar-wearers in my life don’t get perturbed by me and disagree with me from time to time. But silence me? Nope. Nobody has tried. Not once. Never.

If they did, it wouldn’t do them a lot of good. You can convince me that I’m wrong. It’s not easy, but it has been done. But you can’t just yell at me and tell me to shut up and get me to change my opinion. It won’t/doesn’t/hasn’t ever worked.

I would like to remind the readers of this last paragraph that I have been a woman for decades now. Before that, I was a little girl, and before that, I was a baby girl. My female credentials are undisputed. 

I have definitely had people try to silence me in the course of all these years of living, but not once has anyone wearing a collar been the attempted silencer. In fact, a good number of the people trying to get me to shut up have been other women who were mad as a nest of proverbial hornets at me for defending the unborn.

From what I’ve read, sexism in atheist circles is rife. It is also of a particularly vicious type.

Those who try to attack Christianity for its supposed mistreatment of women always trot out a series of Bible verses written by St Paul that truly are used against women in some churches. Unbelievers attempt to use this as “proof” that God wants women to be silenced. They ignore Deborah, who judged the tribes of Israel and was basically their commander in chief during a successful military engagement. They don’t mention Our Lady who asked the Lord Himself to help out at the wedding at Cana and then ignored Him when he demurred and … He obeyed her.

I assume that those who bandy Scripture about to “prove” that God “hates women” are operating more from ignorance than anything else. They are unaware of Church teaching on the full dignity of women, unlearned about the many women saints, some of whom, such as St Catharine of Siena, were downright salty in their criticisms of the male hierarchy.

St Catharine was exercising the great moral courage of women when she did this, and by doing it, she was following the Lord. It’s no accident that the Church regards this outspoken woman as a Doctor of the Church. It’s a direct function of her refusal to be silent when speaking out was the moral and Christian thing to do.

Catholic women are not battered, silenced and ignored. We may not be priests, but we are movers and shakers in the world at large, as well as our homes, and yes, in the Church as well. I have never encountered resistance from any of the bishops I’ve dealt with when I asked them for support in the fight to end violence against and degradation of women. In fact, the strongest supporters of legislation to provide protections for women have been officials in the Catholic Church.

I am not claiming that everything is golden for women throughout all the Christian world. Sin is everywhere in this fallen world, including, sadly, the church. I have personally witnessed a congregation that allowed itself to be drug into a vote on whether or not a rape victim should be allowed to remain part of that congregation. This was not a Catholic parish. It was an independent and quite small Protestant congregation.

Sin against women does exist in churches and among Christians. But it is not of God, and it is not the policy or the universal practice of Christians. Sins against women are condemned, and rightfully so, by the Catholic Church. The teachings of Blessed John Paul II are a case in point.

No woman has to be afraid that converting to the Catholic Church will deprive her of the freedom to exercise her individual voice on behalf of women’s rights. I have found that rather than silencing me, the Church has supported me in my feminist work. I do not feel diminished as a human being because I am both a woman and a Christian. I feel empowered by it. 

I have prayed, studied and thought about this a lot. I believe with my whole heart that when I stand up to fight against the degradation or limitation of women, I am speaking from the heart of the Gospels and with the full support of Catholic teaching. I do not doubt that my angels stand beside me and the Holy Spirit is working through me when I do these things.

Far from coercing me to sit down and shut up, the Church has taught me the meaning of fearless advocacy for justice of all people, including and most especially women. 


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