"[W]women, particularly the most vulnerable, have difficulty abandoning religion. They’re less likely to become nonbelievers, because the church, mosque, synagogue and other religious communities promise security that their families might not provide." And so I wrote as a guest for the Washington Post's "In Faith" blog. The blog addresses views on faith and their impact on the news.
The essay is intended as a gentle warning for religious leaders who resist
women's interpretations, participation or concerns, and I conclude, "Religions need women more than women need religion." Women are among the most
devout in many faiths, and their numbers are currently low among the growing number who count
themselves as nonbelievers, agnostics or theists who choose not to practice.
But that could change quickly in an era of globalization as alternatives become
quickly apparent to all.
One commenter noted that religion was not behind the comment.
I admit to being torn. The
vast majority of US Catholic women use contraceptives, and yet the church
defies those members and goes as far as to try and impose its restrictions on
non-members. Many politicians rely on their religious beliefs for guidance in
making policy, and some would deny abortions to rape victims and the women's perceptions of these crimes.
But I also agree that religion can't be blamed, that individual interpretations are also responsible. Religion is a guide to thinking about the world. As a
guide, it's a tool, like the internet or the pen, and as I've written before,
like conversations or globalization. Any tool can be used by individuals for
good or other purposes.
Unfortunately too many religions don't offer an even playing field for
their female adherents. And some religions don't let women on the field at all.
Photo of uneven playing field, courtesy of Jorchr and Wikimedia Commons.