Wednesday, February 17, 2016

"What Proceeded from There Encapsulated the Vast Reasons Why Women Abandon Organized Religion": Kaya Oakes on What Happened When She Tweeted, "God's Not a Dude"

Kaya Oakes, The Nones Are Alright: A New Generation of Believers, Seekers, and Those in Between ( Maryknoll, NY: Orbis 2015): 

One Mother's Day, while I was reading Elizabeth Johnson's landmark book of feminist theology She Who Is, I sent out what I thought was a pretty innocuous, slightly sassy tweet: "By the way, God's not a dude." 
What proceeded from there encapsulated the vast reasons why women abandon organized religion. Lots of women and a few men retweeted what I thought was a harmless and funny message, but even more people got upset. I was called an idiot, a dyke, a '70s feminist, and a heretic, among other things, and one particularly persistent person demanded to know which diocese I belonged to so that he could report me to the local bishop. In the following years, after every essay I wrote that appeared in a Catholic magazine, and even in secular ones, I was sent blisteringly angry letters, emails, and messages through Facebook and Twitter, even if the topic of my work seemed harmless. When I wrote about visiting an Episcopal church, a blogger picked up the essay and went on a tirade about how "pathetic" it was to expect tht women should be able to participate in religion beyond sitting in a pew. That blog went viral. It's easy to imagine what happened next: more vitriol, in heavy doses (pp. 63-4).

What proceeded from there encapsulated the vast reasons why women abandon organized religion: to my way of thinking, it encapsulates the reasons many people abandon organized religion.

Especially the heterosexist boys' club the Catholic church had made of itself at present, since it's clear that many of those attacking Kaya Oakes in this ugly way are, quite specifically, her fellow Catholics . . . . Who want to know to what bishop they can report her as a heretic / dyke / tired old feminist / idiot / friend of Episcopalians, etc., etc.

The photo of the cover of Kaya Oakes' book is from her blog.

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