Two recent incidents have received a great deal of media attention in Canada, raising the question, once again, as to whether secular feminism takes precedence over every other religion. Ontario’s Minister of Education, Laurel Broten, has declared that Catholic teaching is “misogynistic” inasmuch as it opposes woman’s choice for abortion. According to Ms. Broten, “taking away a woman’s right to choose could be arguably one of the most misogynistic actions one could take.” Consequently, the education minister wants to prohibit pro-life teaching in Catholic schools.
Catholicism’s central message is one of love. It has both humanitarian as well as theological dimensions, mandating love for neighbor and for God. Pro-life Catholics believe that abortion is not consistent with love, either for the unborn or for the mother. Now it is stated, in effect, that “choice” in such matters is “higher” than love. Logically, if one chooses hate, then hate must take precedence over love.
The second incident involves a certain Faith McGregor who walked into a Toronto barber shop staffed only by Muslim men, and demanded a haircut. When she was told that it is contrary to the religion of Islam for a man to touch any woman who is not a member of his family, she called the barber “sexist” and is suing co-owner Omar Mahrouk, taking her complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. Although she had the readily available opportunity to get her hair cut at other barbershops in the immediate vicinity, she refused, preferring to lodge a formal complaint. She told the Toronto Star that she was treated as a “second-class citizen.”
This brand of secular feminism is as adamantly “pro-choice” as it is “anti-sexism”. Should Muslims compromise their religiously held tenets in obeisance to such feminist demands? What authority do the likes of Faith McGregor have to overthrow articles of faith that are honored by more than a billion people throughout the world? If being “pro-choice” and “anti-sexist” (a term that is too ideological to have any clear and consistent meaning) are the two pillars of this new religion, they are surely mounted on shifting sand.
Mahatma Gandhi stated that one of the seven deadly sins of the Modern World is “religion without worship.” Presumably, what he meant was a religion that did not offer appropriate reverence to God. What is worse, however, is a religion that worships the self, having fully rejected any external or transcendence God.
In Naomi Goldenberg’s book, Changing of the Gods, by which she means “deposing of the Gods,” she is pleased to predict that “It is likely that as we watch Christ and Yahweh tumble to the ground, we will completely outgrow the need for an external god.” For Goldenberg, feminism is the demolition factor: “The reforms that Christian and Jewish women are preparing are major departures from tradition. When feminists succeed in changing the position of women in Christianity and Judaism, they likely will shake these religions at their roots.” Feminists of this persuasion may not want to be reminded that their anti-god religion has been formulated by men. At the end of his Ph. D. dissertation, Karl Marx wrote: “I hate all the gods, and I hate them because they do not recognize Man as Supreme Divinity.”
Atheistic feminism, which is a revolt against God, child-bearing, men and neighbor, cannot succeed. Nonetheless, its proponents will continue to believe in it as long as it never achieves a position of sovereignty. It cannot be sovereign because no one would submit to its inhuman dictates. Once religion and morality are deconstructed, nothing remains. Nihilism can be an object of belief only as long as it is never realized.
Canadians boast of being a society that loves pluralism, diversity, tolerance, and inclusiveness. This is not only an idle boast, it is fraudulent as well. None of these politically correct buzz words have any content. They are vague generalities about which morality and good fellowship remain entirely ambiguous. Without a proper unifying principle, they are simply masks covering the face of chaos.
If a religion preaches love, it is not to be faulted on that ground. If a meta-religion preaches vagaries, it is not to be praised on that ground. If the adherents of a traditional religion fail to live up to its prescriptions, then, the adherents need to be changed, not the religion. If a meta-religion, like feminism, has nothing of substance to teach, then it should be changed.
St. Augustine could not have been more correct than when he said that the three most important factors a person must have to be religious are “humility, humility, and humility.” Without the requisite humility, religion begins to degenerate in the direction of egoism. This is hardly a new story. It was told as it was foretold in the Genesis account when Cain made a critical decision against life as he rejected the commandment to love. Cain may have been ripe for starting a new religion, one that serves people who want nothing more out of life than to live by their unexamined impulses.
Pluralism and the other members of its politically correct verbal fraternity, mean nothing without a genuine love that is expressed both within and between each group. Love is the first commandment of religion because it is the first principle of life. Once love is in place, it becomes a beacon for choice and an inspiration for friendship.
No religion has ever gotten off the ground whose basic principles were arrogance and self-interest. These vices can easily be developed without the aid of religion. The great religions know this and the measure of their success is the degree to which their disciples have embraced humility and the love of God and neighbor. It may be easier to change one’s mind than to change one’s heart. A workshop can change one’s mind. The Bible is about changing hearts. As Bishop Fulton J. Sheen once wrote: “Our troubles are not really outside us; they are within us. Nothing happens in the world that does not first happen in human hearts.”