Angie Jackson, known as “Angie the Anti-Theist” – popular for live-tweeting her abortion, being an outspoken atheist and much more – believes that Christianity is at odds with feminism and commented for this article. Jonathan Malesic — assistant professor of theology at King’s College in Pennsylvania and author of “Secret Faith in the Public Square: An Argument for the Concealment of Christian Identity” — commented for this article from a different perspective arguing that Christianity and feminism do not have to be at odds.
Jackson says, “I don’t think any Christian faith that takes its tenants from the Bible can be feminist.” She further explained, “Some liberal followers throw out writings of Paul and Old Testament authors. If you think Paul is a heretic, you can be a feminist Christian.”
Jackson believes that increased access to birth control and women’s reproductive health is necessary for all women and notes that the hierarchy of the Catholic Church is against this enterprise. Jackson says, “when women have better access to birth control, there is less suffering. When women can have only the children they want and can care for, their lives are better.”
Jackson notes that the contraceptive issue is not for “selfish women who don’t want to be pregnant,” but rather is in issue of women’s rights. Nor is the contraceptive issue a sex issue, Jackson says. “Even if you assume that family planning is immoral, there are benefits to using birth control.”
Malesic says that one should not “equate birth control with feminism” and should recognize the diversity of feminist thought – particularly within Catholic theology. Some feminist thnkers, Malesic says, such as Rosemary R. Ruether, author of “Sexism and God Talk: Toward a Feminist Theology,” regarded feminism as exploring the “full humanity of women.” Ruether, who Malesic regards as the “grandmother of feminist Catholic theology” broke away from a male-dominated field and reexamined scripture from a distinct woman’s perspective.
Malesic notes that Paul was “not great when it comes to women,” but advises persons to “look at the universality of redemption” and what his “redemptive community looks like” instead of just looking at Paul’s directives regarding women.
It is clear that Jackson and Maelsic take two different perspectives when considering feminism and respond differently to the ‘Christian message.’ Is there an ‘authentic feminism?’ What definitions of feminism are ‘degrees of feminism worth wanting?’ Must one ignore the Catholic Church’s teachings on contraceptives and abortion to be considered a feminist and/or is there more to the issue than this?