|Me with my Nana - who never believed in religion.|
When I grew up, God was a MAN. I was a sinner in need of His salvation for my many transgressions.
I was raised with a template of inferiority—I was a girl. I was to remain submissive; silent.
Audre Lorde posed this question near the end of her life: “What are the words you do not yet have? What do you need to say? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence?”
After more than 30 years of the indoctrination of silence and passivity, I have something to say.
We are living in a world rife with thievery. We are not standing on an equal ground because some of us have forgotten that we belong to one another.
Sister Joan Chittister recently wrote, “Women are two-thirds of the hungry of the world; women are two-thirds of the illiterate of the world; and women are two-thirds of the poorest of the poor. That cannot be an accident; that is a policy….It’s time for religions everywhere to become truly religious.”
It’s time that amends are made to those who have not been treated fairly. It is no secret that people of color and women throughout the world suffer disproportionately. We must begin to accept that inequality is a form of thievery and slow murder.
Former President Jimmy Carter has issued a Call to Action to people of all faiths. I urge you to take part in his initiative.
Like President Carter, I believe that it is these very engrained patriarchal systems that continue to keep women as a whole down. This is a very hard thing to face. It is painful to think that your own family or faith tradition had anything to do with holding you back.
When my daughter was born 3 years after my son, I realized a very real difference in the way my children were regarded. I was raised with 3 sisters, so I did not have the first-hand comparison of how boys and girls were treated growing up. My observation today is that we still value boys and girls inconsistently.
When my daughter was 5, I realized that she could not relate to the idea of God at all. It seemed to come very naturally to my son, so I tried to understand what was different. I asked my daughter if she could feel God inside of her. She could not – until I asked her about a “Girl God.”
At that point she lit up with a big YES!!
There is a resistance within feminism to religion, which can result in putting women of faith down or into certain categories. I think this is a huge mistake.
The majority of women around the world belong to a religious tradition, and most are unlikely to leave their faith of origin. I think it’s really important to work with women and girls where they are at. We already have the tools for transformation in our hands, we just have to teach each other how to use them.
I believe that we cannot break the chains of our oppression until we address the roots of it. When we dig through what is there, we find that the Divine Feminine was always in the shadows. I would like to bring Her back into the light. I want women of all faiths to know that it is not a “sin” to worship a female deity. It is my belief that God was, in fact, always a woman.
The misrepresentation of God as strictly male has wounded women in every area of their lives.
Our collective spirituality has largely been tainted to fit the needs of men and those in power. This has a profound effect on the self-esteem of girls and the women they become. This influence can be seen in their life choices, partners and financial security for the rest of their lives. It also shapes the way their future partners will view them – and ultimately treat them.
Women are raped, abused, molested, trafficked and prostituted because the desires of men (AKA God) are prioritized over the emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual needs of women and girls. The exclusive image of God as male ensures that women and girls will always be considered last.
Women will never obtain justice until we can embrace the divinity within ourselves.
Those who have enforced submissiveness, servitude, poverty and abuse should be warned; the world is changing. Make amends and join us before you are left behind.
As the saying goes, “God is coming - and She’s pissed!”
By Trista Hendren