Micah J. Murray, Conservative Christian, Becomes a "Jesus Feminist" and All Around Cool Guy
Evangelical Christianity has not been what we might call favorable towards feminism. Televangelist Pat Robertson once famously said that feminism "encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians." (Side note: I now have an idea for the most epic Disney villain ever).
Now, of course, not all Christians would agree with Pat Robertson, but it's no secret that there's a lot of misogyny in a lot of Christian circles. So how does one break out of such a mentality? Well, for Micah J. Murray, it actually had a lot to do with...the Bible.
Murray, who recently wrote a brilliant satirical piece entitled "How Feminism Hurts Men," recalls that, growing up in a narrow, evangelical world, he had no interest in feminism. He once confidently said that, "A feminist is a woman with an authority problem." Remembering his experience at an evangelical college he recalls "The masculinity I heard preached there was exciting — glorious, honorable, rough, violent. It eschewed 'limp-wristed girly-men' and stay-at-home dads alike." He believed in the image of manhood and womanhood — one rooted in traditional Biblical interpretation — that was presented to him.
But a crisis of faith forced him to reconsider a lot of things, including his view of women and feminism. He reread the Bible and found himself focusing on the female characters, the ones who "endured ... the kidnappings, rapes, and murders littered so plentifully throughout the Scriptures."
It was around this time that he encountered "Jesus Feminists" and began to become more involved and invested in the idea of gender equality as a Christian imperative. For Murray today, feminism has Biblical foundation. He says he's found plenty of passages that speak to feminism:
Most of all, those words about how every valley will be exalted and every mountain and hill made low.
For a long time, men have enjoyed a mountain of privilege while women have been relegated to the valleys.
But in the Kingdom of God, those who are elevated must surrender their privilege and lift up those who are low. This is why equality matters to me.
Christianity has always been the majority religion in America, meaning it has the luxury of not thinking critically about societal problems if it chooses to ignore them, and so it often winds up supporting the status quo either actively or by default. But there's also a long history of religious social justice activism in this country, too, from devout Christian abolitionists to nuns joining in the fight during the Civil Rights movement, and of course Civil Rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., who were also active ministers and used Biblical language often. If Murray's reference to mountains and valleys sounds familiar, it's because King also used that passage from Isaiah in his "I Have a Dream" speech.
Because the truth is that for every "Render unto Caesar" verse you can find in Scripture (Matthew 22:22), there's also a "The first shall be last and the last shall be first" verse (Matthew 20:16) to proclaim that God is not all that interested in the established social order; He has his own way of doing things.
So as much as I would just love to go on a good husband-leaving, baby-killing, lesbian rampage of communist witchcraft, I think I'll stick to trying "to do good; seek justice, correct oppression" and all that good stuff (Isaiah 1:17). And Micah J. Murray can keep rocking out, too. Because as cool as his essay is, the coolest part is the fact that he ends by saying, "I wrote a thing that a lot of people read, but now I mostly want to sit back and listen. Because women are speaking up, and it's time that their voices were heard."