Jim Rice 09-29-2016
Everette Historical / Shutterstock

Everette Historical / Shutterstock 

Sexism is dead. So sayeth most men, according to a national survey in August. Women, on the other hand, aren’t quite convinced.

The poll by the Pew Research Center found that 56 percent of men, and only 34 percent of women, said they thought that “sexism no longer was a barrier” to women in this country. (A pair of adjacent headlines on washingtonpost.com summed it up: “Sexism is over, according to most men” immediately preceded “It’s 2016, and women still make less for doing the same work as men.”)

So, welcome to “post-sexist” America.

I imagine it will look a lot like the “post-racist” America that Barack Obama’s election in 2008 supposedly ushered in. At that time, a few days after Obama’s historic election, The Wall Street Journal wrote that “Barack Obama’s election as the first black U.S. president promises to usher in a new era of race relations.”

The paper quoted a senior Obama adviser as saying, “People say he is a post-racial candidate. When people say that, they seem to suggest that we are beyond the issue of race, that issues of race don’t matter.” But Obama will tell you, she continued, that “he thinks race does matter.”

Turns out the president was right.

AND NOW, if the country elects its first woman president this fall, will it be seen as a sign that the country has moved into a new era regarding justice and equality for women?

The campaign itself, of course, hasn’t been encouraging. Some wonder if the level of vitriol aimed at the first woman to receive a major-party presidential nomination is due in large part to the fact that she’s, well, a woman.

Over the last 50 or 60 years, overt sexism—like overt racism—has been made less and less socially acceptable. But a look at basic statistics for, say, women in leadership positions—from CEOs at top companies (4 percent) to members of Congress (19 to 20 percent)—should dispel the delusion that we live in an egalitarian society.

Caroline Barnett 09-20-2016

Today the whole internet is talking about Donald Trump Jr.’s recent tweet comparing refugees to poisoned Skittles.

When I first saw the tweet, I was sickened by Trump Jr.'s — and by extension our country’s — inability to see refugees as human beings in need of help. But I also was reminded of a similar tweet with a vastly different response two years ago.

Aysha Khan 06-28-2016

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When Laila Alawa woke up on a recent morning, her phone wouldn’t stop pinging with Twitter notifications.

“You’re not American, you’re a terrorist sympathizer immigrant that nobody in America wants and for good reason,” one user tweeted.

NATALIA61 / Shutterstock

NATALIA61 / Shutterstock

Jesus was a feminist, that is, a person who promotes the equality of women with men, who treats women primarily as human persons and willingly contravenes social customs in so acting. The gospels give no evidence of Jesus ever treating women as inferior to men. When the restricted state of women in the Palestinian Judaism of that time is recalled, even this mere absence of a male superiority attitude is extraordinary. ...

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It wasn’t until recently, with the advent of modern capitalism, that people have retreated to the private sphere. This means we now believe that people can live secluded lives, only interacting with our most intimate connections — whether that be our nuclear family, romantic partner, or just with a pet. Hannah Arendt, another philosopher, offers a similar critique on people's retreat from the community and into the private sphere, naming it as a byproduct of capitalism.

Magaly Garcia 05-17-2016

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I keep finding myself repeating “it’s 2016” to my friends and family, on social media, and in my head. We read about all these things in history books that actually didn’t even happen that long ago like women “winning” the right to vote, schools being desegregated, or the first president of the United States having some melanin.

the Web Editors 04-19-2016

Image via Rachel Marie Stone.

"Look, say what you will about Christianity, but the Bible teaches little girls that they can grow up to drive spikes into the heads of Canaanite generals, and there’s huge value in that. Cause there’s sometimes that really goofy straightforward talk about what you can do, or not, “because the Bible and women.” And I really like kind of playing with that and going “Fine, then the lesson I got from this is that you can drive spikes in people’s heads.”

I don’t remember who it was now who wrote this, but I loved how someone talked about how, for an hour and a half, the entire church was Mary Magdalene. In between when she goes to the tomb and has to go find the disciples, she is the entire church. And I love that. I love that for an hour and a half, a woman was the church."

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Burkinis aren’t showing up at the beaches on either side of the English Channel yet, but the thought that the full head-to-ankle swimsuit might catch on among Muslim women in Europe has already sparked lively debates in Britain and France.

Cindy Brandt 04-06-2016

I think there is a very real need for us to grapple with an idolatry of justice. As technology affords us both an instantaneous and relentless awareness of myriad justice causes, and the often-illusory perception of our capability to effect change, it becomes very easy to puff up our justice egos and enlarge our savior complex. Pragmatism and good ol’ work ethic drives us to advance our movements by documenting success, hitting program goals, and mining visible storytelling of dramatic life changes of the people we rescue.

the Web Editors 04-01-2016

Five top female soccer players say they are being paid just 40 percent of what players on the U.S. men's national team make.

Rosetta Robinson 03-21-2016

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In 2016, I celebrate 20 years of walking in the footsteps of many women who have paved the way for me to me to become a leader. On this day in Women’s History Month, I write about two women of God who stand out most. You’ll find the name of one in the Bible and the other on my birth certificate.

Caroline Barnett 03-21-2016

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In 2005, Amina Wadud stepped in front of a crowd of one hundred Muslims, women and men, to offer a sermon and lead them in prayer — something previously unheard of for a woman to do. Wadud has been vocal about gender equality in Islam for decades. She is a prominent speaker, writer, and scholar of Islamic studies. But I didn’t know of her until my senior year of college. In my last class as an undergraduate student, I decided to take a class on Islam. I was intrigued by our reading list at the beginning of the semester, but Amina Wadud and her book, Inside the Gender Jihad: Women’s Reform in Islam, were just words on my syllabus.

the Web Editors 03-18-2016

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In celebration of International Women’s Day, actress and feminist spokesperson Emma Watson teamed up with the creator and star of the musical Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda, for a rap about women's equality. Miranda is famous — in part — for his ability to rap, on the spot, about nearly anything. Watson, the U.N. Women’s Global Goodwill Ambassador, is not famous for beatboxing, but she made an admirable effort nonetheless.

Jenan Mohajir 03-16-2016

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It all began for me as a young girl, spending many childhood summers with my aunt — my father’s eldest sister. Her name was Hilal, which means “crescent moon” in Arabic. No name could have been more appropriate for her — just as the spiritual lives of Muslims center on the crescent moons of the lunar calendar, my family’s spiritual center stood upon this strong minded, faithful, and dedicated matriarch.

Carolyn Roncolato 03-14-2016

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I am many things – a feminist theologian, staff member at the Interfaith Youth Core, an active member of a United Methodist Church, an activist, and a mother in a transracial adoptive family. These roles are linked and each informs the other — I try to be accountable to multiple communities and am shaped by a myriad of contexts.

As such, I look up to and learn from women who model interconnected lives, are shaped by the wisdom of many spaces, and work for liberation of both themselves and communities of women.

Mercy Amba Oduyoye , mother of African feminist theology, is one of these inspiring models.

Nancy Cambria 02-22-2016

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St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson has issued a letter calling on parishes to seek alternatives to Girl Scouts, arguing that the program and related organizations conflict with Roman Catholic teaching. The Archdiocese of St. Louis isn’t directly kicking Girl Scout troops and activities off church properties, but is suggesting they and their cookies may no longer be welcome in the fold.

Elaina Ramsey 02-19-2016

Whether you’re intimately involved in this struggle or just getting started, there is a place for you. Rise up and put your faith into action to end violence against women. Here are 7 ways to join the revolution.

the Web Editors 02-11-2016

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Rape. Domestic Violence. Acid Burnings. Female Infanticide. Human Trafficking. Emotional Abuse. Sexual Harassment. Genital Mutilation. These are just a few forms of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) that women and girls endure on a daily basis. But these assaults on the human spirit and sacred worth of women and girls will not have the last word.

robert_s / Shutterstock

robert_s / Shutterstock

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the reign of God unless they are born again.” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the reign of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”

—John 3:3-6

IN THE WEEKS LEADING UP to my child’s baptism, I wrestled with this passage from the gospel of John. While it doesn’t explicitly mention baptism, most of the churches where I had worshipped over my years as a Christian nevertheless drew significantly on it when they articulated their understanding of what it is we’re doing in the waters. And so, experiencing a deeply conflicted desire to raise my child—my daughter—in the church, I prayed for God’s Spirit to release fresh insight from old wisdom. I was yearning to understand what it was we were about to do.

Nicodemus is almost always presented as a fool in this story. What a silly question! What a silly man, thinking that there might be any kind of a special relationship between a person’s first birth and their second! I’ve never heard a sermon or attended a Bible study where we acknowledge that for someone hearing this brand new and seemingly nonsensical concept of being born again, Nicodemus’ question is perhaps the most logical one to pose.

Even more to the point, I’d never noticed before that Jesus’ answer to the question doesn’t dismiss the validity of a mother’s labor as the very context out of which we should understand what it is that happens in baptism.

It’s patriarchal theology that did that.

Now, the phrase “patriarchal theology” might be an offensive one simply to toss around. So let me just tip my hand: I’m a card-carrying feminist theologian, Baptist minister mama. From some angles I look like a jumble of contradictions, contradictions that I try to live with grace and glee.

But it’s not the fact that I’m a Baptist that gave me pause on the decision of baptizing my infant daughter in the Anglican church in Toronto where our ecumenical family happens to worship. Of course, as a Baptist minister I affirm the theology of baptism as an outward expression of an inward conversion, an expression that requires one be of a certain age to be able to proclaim it. But at the same time, my ecumenical sensibilities and general disposition of theological expansiveness mean that I simultaneously affirm a more Anglican theology of baptism—which sees God’s invitation to the community of faith as occurring through a grace that precedes our awareness of it. So, being a Baptist married to an Anglican, I didn’t really struggle with the idea of baptizing our daughter on account of her infancy.