Ghanaian Theologian Says Jesus Was A Feminist

via Open Democracy:

‘Jesus was a feminist!’ asserts Mercy Amba Oduyoye, a feminist theologian based at the Holy Trinity Seminary in Accra, Ghana and founder of the ‘Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians’. Simple words perhaps, but in the context of a growing normalisation of religious fundamentalist views, these are brave, doctrine-shattering words. On the second day of the African Feminist Forum, participants are debating the impact and patterns of religious fundamentalism in Africa, and considering feminist responses to it from both within and outside of religious discourse.

In this excerpt from the interview, Mercy explains her take on feminist theological discourse.

Q: Who is a feminist theologian?

Mercy: A feminist is a woman who listens to the kind of God who loves and is compassionate and wants human beings to thrive. You’re a theologian because you want to critically look at your religion and ask yourself, ‘what is my religion doing in the community?’ ‘What is my religion doing to me?’ ‘What are the ethical principles coming out of this religion and are we doing it right?’

Q: There is a growing wave of African Christian clergy who are using the Bible to justify discrimination and hatred, and women's continued inequality. Does the Bible itself justify this, or is this just an abuse of the Bible for political ends?

Mercy: The Bible is not a monolithic scheme. If you read the Bible from a feminist perspective there is no way that you can say ‘God wants women to be oppressed’. The scripture is misquoted and it is used to justify anything. There are sixty six books in the Bible and each one has its own history with links running through. Ancient theologians like Luther say that the thread that goes through the Bible is the love of God, and any person that doesn’t make me feel like you have to honour another human being, deal with them as human beings, talk to them kindly, respect their humanity, that person is not a Christian, they are simply using it for their own ends. Any religion can be used in that manner.

Read the rest of the interview here.

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