I was raised in the submissive Christian culture. I was told point blank that men are leaders and women are followers. I was on the track to make marriage my career as I attended Bible College — which is why it’s so hard to read a blog post written by a pastor about his 5-year-old daughter that discusses just that.
Sometimes I feel like I could have exaggerated the way I was raised, until I read doctrine like this father’s blog post, entitled “2 Reasons Why My Daughter Will Not Go to College.” There it is again — the distortion of Scripture and the emphasis on women losing their identities to serve God and everyone else. I am still a Christian, but I haven’t missed this fundie bulls*** at all.
I believe this father loves his daughter very much. But it’s possible to be a loving parent who misses the mark, particularly when you push your religious agenda on innocent children.
Pastor Dad says, “The job of being a wife and mother is a high calling and I would argue is the most important job under the sun.” He explains, “Feminism has so influenced American culture that it has infiltrated the Christian culture just as much in more subtle ways. The average Christian woman is not trained from the home, nor encouraged, to find a husband as an alternative to going to college and starting a career. This is sad and unbiblical.”
This is difficult to read. It reminds me of my limited upbringing so much. I think raising kids so strictly and with such bias is “sad and unbiblical.” Teaching your daughter that it is wrong to go to college because it makes her independent from a man is oppressive. Now that I have questioned God, the Bible and my parenting, the God that I believe in is open, uplifting and — above all — equal. In this respect, my God is a feminist too.
Parents, it is up to you how you want to pass your beliefs down to your kids, but there are a few things that I beg you to consider as a child raised in a fundamental Christian home. First, teach your kids to question everything and to believe for themselves. If your religion really is true, it can stand the test.
Second, don’t hang the success of your parenting on whether or not your kids become believers. This is damaging and controlling. It also prevents you from seeing who your kids really are outside of the Christian box you have created for them.
Third and maybe most important, teach your sons and daughters that feminism and Christianity can coexist. If you read the Bible objectively, it’s clear that Jesus radically taught love and respect for all people. Equality for women shouldn’t be any different.