It’s About Women (About Time!)
Written by:
Joe Morris Doss

What will be taught in history classes about the election of 2016? It will be about the equality of women. But the campaign also has clarified the negative perspective: it is about the death spiral of society as patriarchal.

This campaign – as dreadful as it has been – may be remembered as genuinely historical. It can prove historical due to a range of reasons that could come to pass. We may see the Republican Party implode; we may see a new political alignment based more on “identity” than on economic and class realities; we may see globalization and technological developments, such as robotics, change the whole landscape. And those are only some of the possibilities that loom before us, for we find ourselves in a rising, watershed, moment of worldwide change.

But, this campaign began with one grand possibility that would be “a first” for the United States: the election of a woman as President. When all is said and done, that should be the most notable step forward. For patriarchal inequality has been the longest standing wrong in human society, and this election can have a significant effect on the long road still ahead toward the genuine equality of all human beings as proclaimed in Christianity and the U.S. Constitution.

The superiority of men and the view of women as the weaker sex – with all that implies – has stood for all of human history as a given reality of nature. For most people throughout the human enterprise this was not a matter of prejudice, but just the way things are. And of course that meant that women were to be treated accordingly by men, and the ladies were to treat each other that way. Such a deep-seated matter of “reality” has been and will remain hard to overcome. We haven’t even been able to pass an equal rights amendment according to what the constitution already declares.

Note this, for I have not heard it declared: History will observe that this election was significant for the equality of women not only because a woman was elected, but because her opponent was rejected largely on the basis of his recalcitrant patriarchal prejudice and personal treatment of women. The combined reality of a women being elected President and of her opponent being convicted in the court of public opinion of standing for the continuing patriarchal abuse of women should prove effective in the cause of human dignity and equality for each and every person.

The positive statement of what this election has been about is the election of a woman; the negative statement of what this election has been about is the rejection of the patriarchal attitude. That is why the whole issue of Trump’s abuse of women, at least in language and perhaps in acts of criminal misbehavior, are so very, very relevant to the election. His abuse is only secondarily about sin or immoral behavior; primarily, it is about an attitude towards women that is no longer to be accepted.

There has been a rebuttal making the social network rounds against Christian pastors who reject Trump’s behavior. It asserts hypocritical and self-righteous moralizing. The point being made is that rejection of Trump on the charge of immorality violates the Christian precept that God can use broken vessels for good. They point to sinners in scripture, like King David and Paul, and even pagan Cyrus, the Persian King who is given credit in scripture for being God’s instrument for freeing the People of Israel from Babylonian exile. Never mind that it is the Christian view that God shapes everything to the good, or that in each instance employed for their argument, repentance remained the necessary dynamic (e.g. David was rebuked by Nathan: “You are the man;” Paul was knocked off his horse and blinded) and Cyrus would never have been considered for the throne of restored Israel. They are missing the point: it is not the candidate’s sin or personal moral failure – as some abstract wrong – that is making the difference, it is the attitude toward women that is no longer acceptable.

History is going to judge, as it always does, narrowly and with specificity: this election is about the equality of women.


Part 2 of a 3-part series related to Christianity and politics in the U.S.

Joe Morris Doss

Having examined an unfortunate example in which one of our legislative leaders and candidate for Vice-President attempted to apply his personal faith in his vocation to public service, it should be clear that we need a common understanding for the engagement of the Christian faith in politics, sort of a recognized “rules of engagement.” There are things Christians must do, and other things Christians must avoid, in order to maintain integrity and be effective over the long term.  Read More…


Sister Simone Campbell

Airwaves are abuzz with sound bites and video clips from the speech of Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of the Roman Catholic social justice organization NETWORK and leader of Nuns on the Bus.  In expressing her support for the Obama-Biden presidential ticket, Campbell spoke in terms of universal human appeal, but did not shy away from calling Paul Ryan’s proposed budget immoral.  

From a religious perspective, Sister Simone Campbell’s message represents compliance as much as protest.  She introduced her appeal not as her own opinion, or even that of NETWORK or Nuns on the Bus, but as an expression of “our shared catholic faith.”  While news agencies quote her line that Ryan’s budget fails the moral test, Campbell actually attributed this determination to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).  This is more than a hat-tip.  NETWORK has been the target of an investigation and criticism by the Vatican and USCCB for failing to push the anti-abortion and anti-gay positions usually associated with the Republican Party.  So why the open show of submission? Read More…