Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Resentment Gambit

Religious feminists will sometimes squawk in protest that, "I am NOT a Feminist, humph. I am an EGALITARIAN!" which seems rather ironic given that at least one well-known Egalitarian Internet gathering spot has seven levels of hierarchy. Nevertheless, feminist is what they are. One particular nail in that definitional coffin is what I will call, "the resentment gambit".

This resentment was given birth by the feminist movement starting in the late 60's and early 70's with the formation of "consciousness raising"(CR) groups. The stated aim of these groups was a better understanding of women's "oppression". Often the women attending these groups had no idea they had been so sorely oppressed until the CR opened their eyes. With the CR groups, feelings mattered more than facts and results mattered more than anything and the result they wanted was anger and resentment against the patriarchy.

CR groups also proved to be feminism's most useful organizing tool. It's easy to see why that might be - all those shared experiences, the oppression, the sisterhood, the relentless solicitation of emotion creates a bond which is sometimes harder to break than blood. The current incarnation of CR is seen in the chattering of blogs and discussion boards where the religious feminists gather. It is a veritable industry and its product is the creation of a shared narrative of past abuse and repression. The least imagined slight becomes inflated into just cause for rejecting what the Church has always taught, following the Apostle's example and the guiding of the Holy Spirit for the last two millennia, regarding the relationship of men and women in marriage and the Church. That is rejected in place of something they call "equality".

There is one prime directive here. You must never, ever indicate the least hesitation, the least question about the veracity of any claim of abuse or any manner or place in which that tale of abuse is retold. To question such claims is to blame the victim and to re-victimize them again. Never mind the countless men victimized by false accusations, the men who will never get their lives back. The abuse of men via false claims is not acknowledged to exist. And they certainly won't acknowledge that the Scriptural punishment for the person who makes a false claim is the very punishment the guilty perpetrator would have received.

I re-learned this prime directive last year when a dear brother in Christ published a piece I had written on his blog. Never mind that the woman in question had told her story publicly in several places (I ceased counting at four). Never mind that she had made it her calling card, I was not allowed to discuss it or question her story in any manner. It didn't matter that I happened to believe her story. It didn't matter that I wasn't actually question her truthfulness. and it truly didn't matter that my purpose in the post was to explore this phenomenon of a shared narrative of abuse among religious feminists.

This resentment gambit is a cancer, a plague on our churches, seminaries and parachurch organizations. Without it, religious feminism would never have gained its stranglehold on so many supposedly Evangelical organizations. The cancer starts with a small tumor. It might be a husband not listening to his wife when she's had a trying day. It might be a father not shepherding his daughter's heart. It might be a pastor telling a stupid wife joke. It starts there. Then, in the soil of religious feminism, it grows. Is is nurtured and clung to until the resentment matures into rejection of any male who challenges in the least way, female, ahem, equality.

The cancer affects the hearing as well as the heart. I saw so clearly in the responses to my post that so many of the feminists had been utterly unable to comprehend what I had actually written. They read everything through the lens of their resentment. The vehement reaction did nothing so well as show that my speculation had hit the mark. It forced me to recall an article I had read some years ago, by Dale O'Leary.

Before a feminist can hear anything, she has to come from a foundation of repentance and forgiveness. From the failure to adequately answer a question to unspeakable abuse - every sin must be forgiven. No exceptions. Women have been abused, no question. But women are also called to forgive that abuse. One thing standing in the way of that forgiveness is a misunderstanding about what forgiveness is. It does not mean the abuse didn't happen. It does not mean you restore the relationship. True forgiveness can only occur when a woman has experienced a genuine injury, a real hurt.

The resentment gambit will lead to a heart shriveled up like a ten year old walnut. It hurts, it makes a woman blind to the living color around her and gives her a greyish landscape of "me and my sisters against the world". It's mean, unattractive, unpleasant to be around unless you're one of the initiates and it's just plain ugly. However, when we cease to cherish our hurts, real or imagined, and learn to forgive as Christ requires, only then can we begin the journey to wholeness and holiness.

Dale O'Leary on Feminism and Forgiveness

1 comment:

Megan said...

Interesting how religious feminists are uncomfortable being the weaker vessel, but then display this weakness in such shameful ways. Christina Hoff Sommers, of all people, opened my eyes to what really goes on at feminist conferences and other such venues. CR meetings seem rather tame!

My biggest concern, however, is how these "shared experiences" and false injuries harm women who actually have been abused. This type of behavior cheapens real abuse, and makes justice harder to secure. Because, to paraphrase Dash (from The Incredibles), if everyone is abused, then nobody is. So I agree that we need to understand forgiveness much better. But I would add the growing need to understand justice too.