The Impact of Feminism on Church & State -- By: Dorothy Patterson

Journal: Conservative Theological Journal
Volume: CTJ 03:9 (Aug 1999)
Article: The Impact of Feminism on Church & State
Author: Dorothy Patterson

The Impact of Feminism
on Church & State

Dorothy Patterson

Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies
Southeastern Seminary


Is feminism dead? No, indeed! Has it been dealt some serious blows? Yes! Feminist ideology is much like an immortal chameleon in manifesting itself in new and innovative ways in every generation. When one garment is outdated, she simply casts it aside and chooses another; when one suitor disappoints her, she turns to another; when one institutional setting becomes stagnant, she abandons it and moves on to another. Thus, feminism seems ever present in the varied manifestations of its ideology and through ever new venues for its distribution.

The prophet Isaiah was a man with a message for his time and for ours as well:

Surely you have things turned around!

Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay;

For shall the thing made say of him who made it,

“He did not make me”?

Or shall the thing formed say of him who formed it,

“He has no understanding”? (Isa. 29:16)

Feminists have certainly helped to make this world “turned around” and upside down. Radical feminists accuse the family of oppressing all people and especially women. They would portray dutiful wives as “dishonest prostitutes,” nurturing mothers as pitiful prisoners descending into terminal social decay, and traditional homes as the origin of the most evil against women. A news report from American feminist researcher Shere Hite labels the traditional family staffed by mother and father as “outdated, authoritarian and the cradle of many of society’s injustices.”1

Though these pronouncements and theories may be presented on the whim of an individual or the impulse of a generation, God’s plan for a stable and

consistent unit traditionally denominated “family” is not erased thereby. His design incorporates values that do indeed protect and nurture all that is good in society (see Ps. 127). A survey within the last decade not only affirmed traditional attitudes about men and women but also indicated that women still want to see husbands provide for the family so that wives can give their primary energies to managing their homes and nurturing their children.2 Scripture indeed challenges husbands and fathers to provide for, protect, and lead as well as to love their fami...

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