Is Feminism the Supreme Religion?

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.”

Donald DeMarco


Donald DeMarco, Ph.D., is a Senior Fellow of Human Life International who writes for the St. Austin Review and the Truth and Charity Forum. He is Professor Emeritus at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo, Ontario and adjunct professor at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, CT.

  • Alecto

    Catholics are not misogynistic, choosing instead to ignore women and pretend they’re invisible and unimportant to the life of the Church. Every time I’ve attempted to discuss this with a priest he says, “Well, there’s Mary!” Yes, there she is and she is barely mentioned in Scripture. If women are to take their example from the Bible, what do we have to go on? Esther? Judith? Ruth? Wait, those are all OT examples of strong women. Who do we see in the NT: Martha and Mary – spinsters; Mary Magdalene – adulteress; Mary – a pregnant virgin. How are these examples relevant to a 21st century woman?

    That is why these secular feminists are so successful in persuading women that abortion is a “choice” and they can find fulfillment in a career. It’s a lie, but a very convincing one to many, many women, especially young women anxious for independence and material success. What is the counter argument from the Church? Every woman should be a mother? A nun? How does being Catholic offer women a way to use their unique gifts in life?

    I also have to take umbrage with equating the very real misogynism of Islam, which does state that women are in fact, chattel, and the benign neglect of Christianity, which teaches that yes, women are also made in the image and likeness of God, but are just not as prominent in the life of the Church.

    • Glenn M. Ricketts

      No sarcasm intended, but what exactly is a “21st century woman?” I’d add that my own experience contrasts with yours, since I often wondered if there were any priests who did not continually fawn over feminism and “women’s issues.” It’s almost refreshing to encounter one who actually discusses sin.

    • Ford Oxaal

      Mary the Mother of God exists throughout scripture, but in a hidden way. She will come out of hiding one day. But she has the fullness of the virtue of humility, and the earthly manifestation of this is the desire to remain hidden and small. Feminists lack this virtue above all.

    • musicacre

      I like to think I shared my “unique” gifts by having 6 wonderful children, and constantly called to develop more gifts to raise them, inspire them, enjoy them, etc. It was unique for me because even though mothers have had children for ages, it is my first crack at having a family. 🙂 And maybe you’re not aware of the massive numbers of women who have used great talents in the service of the Lord, all around the world, much more exciting than a mere temporary “job”..not to mention more “job satisfaction”. And getting back to the very real vocation of marriage, which is my 21st century choice, I am treasured and respected more than any wife before Christian times. And just look at how women are treated even today in non-Christian countries! My heart cries for them.

      • Tout

        MUSICACRE Thanks for your testimony, a lesson to us all..

    • “If women are to take their example from the Bible, what do we have to go on?”

      Um, Jesus Christ?

    • Hey, we have St. Joan of Arc, and a slew of talented, intelligent, strong, gracious Catholic women throughout Christian history and today as well.
      And in the years to come, Catholic women (yes, I mean orthodox Catholic women) will, I expect, have expanded ways to use their abilities, and in an authentically Catholic and faith-filled way too.
      As for Judith, we need to hear more about her, even though she is “O.T.” She’s great.

    • Tout

      ALECTO If you had some knowledge about God’s mother, you would ask her to help you. You don’t know what you are missing.

  • Austin sims

    I have been very involved in the church as a teacher, volunteer, as well as teaching CCD. Never have I felt invisible. Some Catholic women in the past I admire are: Francis of Rome, Catherine of Siena, Joan of arc, Julan of Norwich…etc. Catholics believe men and women complement each other and it is anti-woman to imply a woman has to be just like a man. The priesthood is a calling by the church to a certain service for particular men. Some women are called to be religious sisters, others to have children, others to be single. This differentiation is primordial and, I believe, part of being human. If you want to see the fruits of feminism, read a bit about the hookup culture on college campuses today.

    • Ceckiz Gzz

      consecrated single life…that is the call, not just single.

    • Tout

      MUSICACRE AUSTINsIMS and others: Thanks for defending the truth.

  • publiusnj

    If feminism enshrines abortion as its primary sacrament–and it does–feminism has no long term future because it will die out when its first generation fails to reproduce. The reproducers will inherit the Earth.

    • Ford Oxaal

      Catholic Darwinism 🙂

      • musicacre


  • poetcomic1

    When I was a boy back in the 1950’s there were (as there have been since the days of St. Basil’s granny) mighty women of the church, women who ran vast, international orders and charities, entire hospitals, whole Catholic school systems and of course, the great contemplative orders of religious. What frightens me is the vast mobs of people who take banal mediocrities such as this Namoi Goldenberg ‘seriously’. She sounds like a spoiled child whining in the back seat “Mom! Jimmy is making faces at me!”

    • musicacre

      It’s good to know there are still those wonderful institutions run by selfless nuns, maybe not too many here in N. America. My husband met a nun from Africa when he was in Australia for a NFP conference (a German Benedictine nun-doctor)) and she described the large hospital she runs in Tanzania just for children dying of aids. The nuns have much humility, loving these children and making sure their short lives are happy! What Naomi Goldenberg isn’t admitting is that it is much easier to destroy than build up! She has accomplished nothing. Maybe she would find love and humility if she volunteered at this hospital!

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  • An excellent article, Mr. De Marco, thank you. However, when you write that “Catholicism’s central message is one of love. It has both humanitarian as well as theological dimensions, mandating love for neighbor and for God”, you – probably inadvertently – reverse the correct order of the two great commandments. To love God is the first and the GREATER commandment. To love one’s neighbor comes second. This reversal is one of the root causes of the decadence of contemporary Catholicism.

  • hombre111

    If Catholicism could withstand three hundred years of persecution in England, it is strong enough to stand up to feminism. So, calm down and have some tea.

    • Mark

      However, the enemy within is far more insidious — especially when it is perceived as an angel of light.

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  • Glenn M. RIcketts

    If you doubt the degree of poisoned fanaticism – as many Catholic naifs unfortunately do – that drives contemporary academic feminism and its media enforcers, I suggest that you consult the following two books for starters:

    1) Professing Feminism, 2nd Ed. by Daphne Patai and Noretta Koertge, who write about their experience as founders-turned-refugees from the bizarro world of academic women’s studies programs. And

    2) Heterophobia: Sexual Harassment and the Future of Feminism, this time by Patai alone. She usefully coins the term SHI (Sexual Harassment Industry) then desribes its operating assumptions, methods and ultimate goals. Again, this doesn’t come from a male writer, which probably explains paroxysms of rage that it’s generated from the author’s erstwhile allies.

    It’s a very sobering, chilling portrait by a former insider, now foremost critic. Unfortunately, anyone NOT on the academic inside is likely to respond asking what’s so bad about simply ending sex discrimination. Brave New World and 1984 are much closer than you think.

    • Ceckiz Gzz

      thanks for sharing both titles.

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  • wifeymommyme

    This is why we need a “NEW Feminism” such as was called for my John Paul II, one thats says men and women are equal in dignity but different. One that says men and women are complimentary and should strive for mutual respect and admiration of each other’s strengths. One that promotes being FEMININE! There is some good info on this NEW Feminism, JP2 Femininsm – reclaiming the vocabulary – here:

    • I don’t NEED to be “feminine”. If I want to wear a dress because it’s comfortable and it’s hot out, that’s my choice. If I chose to be kind and compassionate I can, but I can also put my foot down and stand up for myself when I need, feel anger without feeling guilty, or leave the house without makeup. I can lead, I can assert myself. I can be any degree of feminine or masculine as can a man.

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  • Choi

    I think that many of these issues are not even settled in government. Are they? If they have, then by what right did they? By vote or by court? If they have, then people who disagree should be protesting to change such determinations. But these are really religious issues, and governments should not make rules here, ideally. If they have to make rules, then they should really consider religious issues here also. Democracy should not function here… Is democracy above religion or below religion? In practical sense, democracy is above religion now…

  • Some guy on the internet

    If feminism clashes with Islam then guess what, it serves a purpose. Feminism and PC and rampant liberalism have all but crushed the voice that says that Islam must be stopped. You can’t say “Ban the Koran” without the PC police jumping down your throat. So if feminism is as powerful as many think it is, it’s bound to clash with Islam. Feminism= unlimited rights for women. Islam= very few rights for women. I say let them collide. See what happens.

  • This is ridiculous. Newsflash kiddos! Not every feminist is an atheist, or non-religious. Not every atheist or non-religious person is a feminist (I’ve met some grossly misogynist anti-Christians out there) But I won’t blame any woman (or man) for leaving religions whose very hierarchical cosmology and elitist nature is incompatible with the message of unconditional love they claim to embrace. I don’t know what kind of love Christian fanatics (regardless of denomination) think they believe in, but it sure isn’t EQUAL love. Not when they’re saying women need to submit to their husbands. And don’t give me any of that sugar-coated “Oh, they only mean that in certain situations.” Either you believe all men AND women are created equal, or you don’t.

    There are a ton of feminist spiritualists out there, you’ll find them in every religious tradition, every Christian denomination, every cultural background. They all have very strong beliefs, most have admirable convictions of social justice for all, not just women. One thing they do have in common though: They reject the vain idolatry of proclaiming God is male. Look it up. There are many books on the subject, including: “Weaving the Visions” and “New Feminist Christianity”.

  • Jason

    Why did catholics persecute non catholics through crusades,inquisitions,counter reformation etc.All you catholics live in denial of truth and reality.You catholics break the very first commandment of God which condemn idolatry,which is repeated throughout the new testament along with Orthodox heretic sect.Your idolatry of intercession/Veneration of saints blaspheme the very God and Lord Jesus whom you claim to worship.God sent you Black Plague for long ago so that you may repent from your sins-You didn’t.He sent Ignorant Muslims to attack you and your idols,yet you didn’t see that God hates your idolatry.Now further judgment awaits your catholic heretic idolatrous sect,because you donot repent and turn back to God.

  • Josiah Spiess

    “Nihilism can be an object of belief only as long as it is never realized.”
    —atheism is no more ‘nihilism’ than an absence of belief in leprechauns is ‘nihilism’.