A Justified Critique of Christianity's Indifference to Women


I came across a really interesting article the other day, by Kaeley Harms, a Christian writer. The article is ostensibly about Matt Walsh's unconscionable dissing of JK Rowling, but then it becomes larger than that, interrogating the Christian church's pretty profound indifference concerning women. The writing is so good, I think I'll let Harms speak for herself:

"Women are being routinely silenced by both the left and the right on [the trans] issue.

"The left silences them for saying men are men. The right silences them for failing to march in ideological lockstep with them on other issues. Only compliant women are permitted to speak. And that’s why feminism exists in the first place.

"Just as the political left loves to place the blame for all the world’s problems on the shoulders of “old white men,” the political right loves to do the same to feminism. Cancel culture exists in both directions.

"Women (including many leftist women) could not afford to sit around waiting for men to rise to our defense. So we stood for ourselves. To come riding in like a white knight at the 11th hour when so much of the work has already been done only for men to tell us to “fall in line” is really… well it’s pretty ballsy.

"I’m a pro-life Christian conservative who voted for Donald Trump twice. I disagree vehemently with some of these feminist women on a great number of issues, but that hardly means it’s right to dismiss their legitimate contributions to our shared fight. Tucker Carlson is about as far right as it gets, but he still manages to honor the human dignity of the radical feminists in order to facilitate meaningful discussions about this issue and has platformed several of them over the years. Matt Walsh would do well to take a cue from him.

"So here’s my attempt at speaking truth to the power of my own tribe: Feminism is not cancer. In fact, it remains a pretty necessary movement. And feminists are not rabid lunatics; they’re human beings who are worthy of respect.

"If you're a woman who enjoys the privilege of wearing pants or driving a car or using a credit card or casting your vote in elections, then you’ve benefited from the work of feminism. If you've benefited from athletic pursuits or found healing in rape crisis shelters, if you've sought legal protection from abusive men, or purchased property of your own without a husband's permission, or retained your job after becoming pregnant then you've benefited from the work of feminism. If you're a woman who has ever taken out a loan or pursued a college degree or had the honor of serving in the military or breastfed in a public place then you've benefited from the work of feminism. If you’re a Republican woman who has enjoyed the usury of voting in an American election, then yes, you too have benefited from the efforts of first-wave feminism.

"There are radical feminists who oppose prostitution and sex trafficking and domestic violence and surrogacy and many of the other human rights atrocities we should rightly oppose on the right. There are pro-life feminists who work to create a culture where women in crisis are surrounded with the support they need to carry their pregnancies to term.

"In 2018 alone, there were over half a million calls to domestic violence hotlines in America. An estimated 91% of rape victims are still female. The overwhelming majority of people sold into sex trafficking are female, with the average age of entry around 12 years old. The pornography epidemic is a national crisis, with Americans spending more time objectifying and degrading women on Pornhub last year than they spent on Netflix, Twitter, and Amazon combined. With that many brains full of that much garbage, we shouldn’t be surprised that we have a major sexual assault problem in our culture, both inside and outside of the church.

"And dare I mention that there are over 100,000 untested rape kits in America?

"In theory, the Church should be providing the cure for all of this, but the ugly truth is that, with a few exceptions, it’s not. A large percentage of churches don’t even have an abuse prevention plan. Many scorn necessary counseling as an enemy to the faith, and a lot of them refuse to include women in their leadership circles, so the voices that would elevate these needs are largely silent. We still don’t even have a nationally known Christian resource for sexual trauma victims.

"Love it or hate it, we need true feminism – the kind that seeks dignity, not revenge, the kind that insists on fairness, not just power. Someone needs to advocate on behalf of women, and when it comes to the trans agenda, few have done more in this regard than radical feminists. They should be thanked and applauded, not silenced and demeaned. While Walsh and others may be inclined to throw stones at these women, my seven years working alongside them tells me it’s a lot more fruitful to pick up those stones and try to build a few bridges with them. We may even find they have something meaningful to say, and we have something important to learn.

Amen, sister, preach it! I feel the same way. Christians should be champions of women, and should be intense about rooting out the abuse of women from among their flock. Instead, we find a studied indifference.

I, too, have been chagrined to see Matt Walsh use the work of feminists but fail to credit them. I have been aghast at how he has denigrated JK Rowling. He is no friend to women. And this is the best Christian men have to offer to women who are battling against the erasure of their very existence?

When are we going to see a Christianity predicated on the equal partnership of men and women, and not on women's compliance or submission to men? When are we going to see a Christianity that is serious about rooting out male violence against women?

I hope my church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will provide an example of how to do this. In the meantime, I can only imagine Heaven is ashamed of Christian men who are no friend to women.