At Feministing, Jessica has posted an entry that ends with a question asking:
How do you balance your feminism with your faith? How can women who are involved in organized religions that promote patriarchy and traditional gender roles change the existing power structures?
Below, I provide some examples of people who helped women’s rights, while at the same time being religious. Hence, although I am not a particularly religious person, I do think its possible to, as Jessica put it, “…[l]ove God and feminism”.
In the Gospels, Jesus treats women well. Indeed, it has been suggested, although this is very much a minority view, that the author of Luke and Acts was a woman.
Although sometimes given a bad rap today, in pre-Islamic Arabia, women were considered property, female infanticide was widespread, and a woman was forced to give marriage dowry to her husband. Islam put an end to those practices. Considering the context of the time, this was a vast improvement.
The Religious Society of Friends (commonly called Quakers) have as one of their testimonies a Testimony of Equality. This includes sexual, racial, and other sorts of equality. Lucretia Mott and Susan B. Anthony, early campaigners for women’s suffrage, were both Friends. Mott was a Friends Minister.
Katherine Bushnell, Protestant missionary, was also a pioneer of feminist theology. She also helped spread the idea that 1 Corinthians 2-16 is a command for women to uncover their heads, that, in the words of Wikipedia, “[t]he passage is not actually a repression of women but a herald for equality.”
The above examples are not exhaustive. Hence, it is clear to me that it was entirely possible to be religious and feminist in the past. The present is no different, as the comments at Feministing make clear.
Finally, to those who believe in complementarianism and female submission, ask yourselves how you would react if God said this to you:
“I made all of the people on this Earth and they are all my children. I love them all. I made them male and I made them female. Why are you oppressing my female children?“