Not all religions are anti-woman

Free Inquiry is, once again, the inspiration for today’s post. You would think that the avowed atheist in the household would read it, but I – the one on the fence – am the one who reads it.

I can’t imagine there are many like me – quasi-religious atheists who would encounter an article by Dr. Taslima Nasrin stating that “all religions are anti-woman.”

May I respectfully say, that’s almost but not quite true.

I feel bad for even bringing this up. I’m sure Dr. Nasrin, who’s been evicted from her own country, has bigger fish to fry, so to speak, than worrying if a handful of people on the planet might practice a religion that respects women.

I’m speaking of the pagans, a group that, as a Kemetic, I technically belong to.

My own temple of Kemetic Traditionalists is headed by two women. I can become a priest if I so choose, and there was a time when I had given it serious consideration. There was a prohibition I had to observe before I became menopausal; I couldn’t approach my shrine to do Daily Rite when I was having my period – something about inciting gods that are easily angered in the presence of blood (Sekhmet, even though I never prayed to Sekhmet; I did pray to Hathor, however).

But even if you want to call that “anti-woman”, no such restriction exists (that I know of) among other pagans, Wiccans, etc. My knowledge on other pagans is a bit sketchy, so let me refer you to this beginner’s guide. I have several Wiccan friends, none of whom came forward when I asked on Facebook if there were any hints of female oppression in their religions. (And if I find out there are, I will edit this entry appropriately.)

It’s not like we’re talking about a lot of people. According to this article on Patheos, there are about 3 million of us on the planet. That’s about 0.0416% of the total population of Earth. Like I said, a handful.

I think the main question is, does this affect Dr. Nasrin’s thesis substantially? The title of her article was “Why Secularism Is Necessary for Women.” Clearly it’s not as powerful a statement if the title is changed to “Why Secularism Is Necessary for the Vast Majority of Women.” Still, is her argument valid? – which is another way of saying, do I agree with it?

Dr. Nasrin and I are two different people. Her life has produced someone who has been thoroughly shafted by religion, and who thus has very strong convictions about what women should do about the subject. My life has produced someone who sees value on both sides of the divide (and is not ready to piss off one side to favor the other). Someday, perhaps, I will be. But not today.

I do not think all women should become pagans any more than I think all women should become atheists. Everyone’s path is different. Every woman needs to do what is best for her, and only she knows what that is.

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