Biblical Feminism in Nicaragua? -- By: Jo Anne Lyon

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 04:1 (Winter 1990)
Article: Biblical Feminism in Nicaragua?
Author: Jo Anne Lyon

Biblical Feminism in Nicaragua?

Jo Anne Lyon

Adjunct Professor, Asbury Theological Seminary

One of my objectives in visiting Central America—and particularly Nicaragua—was to attempt to see this tragedy through the eyes of women and children. Upon arriving at the Jarmie Mayer Study Center in Managua, my eyes caught the title of a book on a shelf in the entrance hall: Sandino’s Daughters by Margaret Randall. Having been acquainted with the author’s previous writings, I knew her book would provide me with a clear picture of the extensive involvement of women in the revolution (although I would need to work through her personal ideological bias).

In her account, I saw women from all socioeconomic and religious backgrounds united for one purpose: overthrow of the Somoza regime. The life stories were so engaging that I found myself reading late into the night, even following a full day of exploration in the Nicaraguan countryside. Later, these stories gave insight into the words of Anna Maria Carnoles who, when asked what she wanted most for her two-week-old daughter, quickly responded, “I want her to know mat she is a child of Sandino, and I want her to grow up to know all about the revolution.” A further question concerning church revealed she had been a faithful Roman Catholic but now viewed the church as an oppressor.

Later that day, a lunch conversation with Rosario, a Health Department official, revealed further conflict. She articulated many of the strides in recent years made by and for women. In their own caucuses, women helped write the post-revolution constitution, which includes statutory equality with men and the right to own property, adopt children, take three months’ maternity leave, earn equal pay, and keep their own checkbooks. One special law even forbids the use of women as sex objects in advertisements.

Were these laws actually enacted and enforced? Rosario answered from her personal life experience. “I am a single parent with three children,” she stated. “My ex-husband is a professor at the university. He believed in the right of women in his head but he couldn’t work it out at home.”

I searched for a response from an evangelical believer. “Maybe these issues aren’t important to them,” I mused. “Perhaps they will be reactionary to the radical feminist and strongly hold to a hierarchical position.” My thoughts rolled on restlessly.

The next afternoon, Rev. Miriam Escorcia quietly entered the dining room. Rev. Escorcia is an

ordained Assembly of God pastor and the general coordinator of pastoral work with women for CEPAD, the Nicaraguan Christian ...

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