Sometimes, I see a fellow blogger make a statement so simple and so brilliant that I have to make a note of it and adopt it for myself. That’s exactly what I saw on the Blag Hag blog, made by Jen McCreight.
When you’re part of a sexist, patriarchal religion, often the only source of power you have is in raising a family or helping with social events (cooking, event planning, making sure the Church pot luck runs smoothly). You aren’t supposed to be the bread winner or waste time on other hobbies when you have children to raise. Because of this, leaving your religion makes you lose the only source of power you ever had. You no longer have the social structure of the church, and often times you are alienated from your family.
Wow! That certainly makes sense to me!
But then she says:
I don’t claim to be the first person to come up with this idea, but it’s very important that we talk about this. If this is correct, it illustrates the importance of having friendly godless social networks as safety nets for women leaving their religion. Groups based on debates, speakers, and intellectual sparring are awesome, but sometimes what you really just need is a friend.* And while I personally approve of pub nights, they’re not somewhere a women with children can easily visit.
Her blog entry’s title is “Ladies, how difficult was it for you to leave organized religion?” But I actually think that is the wrong question. It should be, “Ladies, how difficult was it to free yourself from male-dominated religious tyranny?” Because you don’t have to abandon organized religion to do that! Indeed, not all organized religious institutions are male-dominated.
In fact, the Unitarian Universalist Association has become a powerhouse of feminism.
Unitarian Universalists have also worked to address inequities in the treatment of women and to combat racism and oppression within our faith movement. In 2001, there were more female Unitarian Universalist ministers than male ministers and Unitarian Universalists continue to encourage women’s leadership in our congregations and larger community.
Women, Gender Equality, & Family
Unitarian Universalism is very supportive of women and families. We believe that our first principle, respecting “the inherent worth and dignity of every person,” applies equally to people of all genders and family situations.
Unitarian Universalists are well-known for supporting women’s rights. We consistently speak out in support of reproductive rights, including family planning, abortion, and comprehensive sexuality education . For parents and guardians of all genders, Unitarian Universalists have advocated for adequate day care, governmental and workplace family support, and compassionate welfare reform.
We actively support women in every role in our denomination, from greeting visitors to leading congregational committees to delivering Sunday sermons. More than half of all active Unitarian Universalist ministers are women. Our support for female leadership has more than one hundred years of grounding. In 1863 we became the first denomination in the United States to ordain a woman with full denominational authority.
And Jen McCreight is a feminist. Is atheism more important to her than feminism? Atheist groups can be sexist too, of course.