Amidst the cacophony and confusion at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing in September, one sound was muffled: the still, small voice of hope. Voices of reason and of truth, though not absent, were indistinct—overwhelmed.
When all the shouting was over, this much came through clearly: the conference in Beijing was the culmination of three decades of systematic demolition of Western Civilization by a hostile ideology—feminism.
The incoherent babble from Beijing, was, in fact, the logical result of efforts to dismantle every moral and ethical assumption on which the West is founded. There has been an unfortunate tendency to see women’s liberationists as a marginal group whose revolutionary ideas are a passing fad. It is true that determined feminist ideologues comprise only a negligible percentage of the population, and, arguably, the women’s movement of the sixties and seventies (whose aging stars engineered the Beijing conference) has lost some of its appeal for many women in the U.S. today. But contemporary feminism wields uncanny power. Western women— the premier of Norway and Hillary Clinton—vied with one another in their affirmation of feminism. Numerous feminists interviewed after the meeting expressed without reservation that the conference was a victory for feminism. Beijing demonstrated that to underestimate this power or to fail to comprehend that the objective of feminism is the radical restructuring of society and all social institutions is an error with grave consequences.
One of the most hotly contested issues at Beijing was the disputed meaning of gender. Gender, as understood by U.S. and European feminists who dominated the crafting of the UN Plan of Action, denotes a “sliding-scale sexuality,” not either masculine or feminine, but a combination of traits which a person develops over time. Whether one is more or less male (masculine) or female (feminine), they argue, is heavily influenced by social or cultural factors largely beyond the control of the person. Thus a biological male could actually become “female” in other meaningful respects, and vice versa.
This scewed theory of human sexual nature underlies the justification for homosexual behavior, “alternative” families, and the demand by the gay- lesbian lobby that their “sexual rights” be codified in the official documents of the United Nations. Obviously, the meaning of sexuality affects the meaning of marriage, family, and the rearing of children, etc.
Sexuality is also related to feminist revolutionary dialectic. Feminist liberationists, claim that they are oppressed by the patriarchal culture, which they believe is derived from and maintained by male-dominated religion—especially Christianity. Like Marxists, they believe that a cultural revolution is necessary in order to achieve liberation and justice for women who are all victims of patriarchal oppression. The feminists who dominated the Beijing conference—who hissed and hooted and verbally abused Vatican delegates, who even booed a little girl who was addressing delegates about her family’s importance to her—were jeering at what they consider to be the most powerful cultural instrument of women’s oppression, the Catholic Church.
Obviously, to a cultural revolutionary, opposing views—no matter how diplomatically expressed—cannot be tolerated. In Beijing, as in Cairo, the Vatican delegation stressed the Church’s teaching on the distinctiveness of the sexes created by God, the innate dignity of all human life, and the complementarity of males and females. The affirmation of the family and of motherhood follows from this. So does opposition to divorce, contraception, abortion, euthanasia, aberrant sexual behavior, and violence of all kinds. Of course, the Church’s affirmation of the equal dignity and worth of every human life, and denunciation of every kind of injustice and abuse, that is to say sin, is grounded in this fundamental truth about human beings created by God in His image.
It has been clear for many years that feminist ideologues will not be mollified by a tame feminism redefined to correspond with Christian teaching. Predictably, the Vatican’s attempt to defend the family and the human-rights tradition of the West based on Judeo- Christian concepts was drowned in the din of enraged feminist voices. Exhortation can be effective only if people are genuinely disposed to receive it.
At present, the Catholic Church must not only face revolutionaries from the secular world, but from deep within her own body—from militant dissenters who seek to destroy the patriarchal Church. The gender-neutralizing of language promoted by influential Catholic feminists is but one aspect of this.
What, then, is the still, small voice of hope? Perhaps Beijing will be seen as a prophetic warning to a world seemingly bent on suicide. The events of the U.N. Conference on Women forced us to look at the distorted face of ideological terrorism—an aspect of feminine genius which uglifies, cripples and destroys human life itself. The terrible howls of women’s rage must not be allowed to stifle the voice of truth or to silence the anguished cries of the millions of men, women and children whose very lives—and immortal souls—are in jeopardy. The Church must not speak the truth of Christ in whispers. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.