Conservative Christians Get in Touch with Feminist Side in Islamophobia

While Anti-Muslim protesters fear that Muslims will roll back women’s freedoms by imposing shari’ah, Southern Seminary’s President Al Mohler is worried about Global Gendercide.

At a recent tea party event promising to teach “what Americans need to know about the Koran,” I was struck by how much of the legitimation for attacking Islam rested on its perceived gender injustice. At a similar event across the country, anti-Muslim protesters criticize Islam for allowing “No Women’s Equality.”

But those fanning the flames of Islamophobia consistently promote their own Christian version of women’s subordination and patriarchy. What are the chances that their sudden concern for the rights of women is little more that a scare tactic to garner support for their effort to foster hatred and persecution of an American religious minority? Hmmm. [see also: ABC’s “Good Christian Bitches” Makes Feminists of Religious Right — ed]

And, now, Al Mohler is concerned for what he calls “gendercide.” On his blog yesterday he wrote about “the global gender gap,” and the demographic changes brought about when females are less valued than males. I wrote about Mohler in my book Evangelical Christian Women: War Stories in the Gender Battles because the beginning of his term as President of Southern Seminary divided the campus, and Southern Baptists, over gender issues. He made his mark in Southern Baptist History when, as the seminary’s new president, he led what can only be called a purge of faculty who would not sign his new statement of faith that focused on gender issues—especially women’s ordination.

Mohler had originally supported women’s ordination, but the political winds in the denomination changed. Fundamentalists took control of the Southern Baptist Convention and Mohler had a “change of heart.” No matter that the change served his political interests and came at great cost to many women who believed they were called to Southern Baptist leadership, to the men who supported their callings, as well as to the families of those women and men.

Mohler writes about the social impact arising from the disproportionate numbers of males and females. Citing a collection of short stories by Hemingway on gender imbalance he writes, “the stories are haunting, demonstrating the brutality that comes to men without the presence of women—and especially without the companionship of wives.”

Right, I forget, in patriarchal fundamentalist Christianity, women do exist to serve men and facilitate men’s exercise of dominion (first their fathers’ and then their husbands’). So the question of what happens to them (men) if we (women) are not around, might seem like the most important one.

But maybe there’s some common ground. I mean, we don’t have to agree on why it’s bad to kill girls; we could just agree that it is. So has he launched a global campaign to change deeply-rooted sexist attitudes and institutions that create a context in which females are not valued? Not so much.

According to Mohler, the root of the problem is not the devaluation of women but abortion. His concern focuses on the impact the devaluing of females will have on males and, then, only on the tools with which people respond to the devaluation, not the devaluation itself.

Women, and concern for women, are just pawns for the Islamophobes and for the fundamentalist Christian patriarchalists in their efforts to promote their agendas. In fact, both promote the devaluing of women that leads to the very examples they decry.

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