Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America, Set
Publication Year: 2006
Published by: Indiana University Press
Title Page, Copyright
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THIS AMBITIOUS PROJECT was made possible by a collaborative grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. and the Henry W. Luce Foundation. We never would have been able to complete this work without their generous...
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THIS ENCYCLOPEDIA IS non-traditional in every way. Typically, an encyclopedia contains brief descriptive statements that define institutions, movements, and individuals. A large number of the entries may be biographical sketches. The articles are organized alphabetically and only accidentally do related subjects happen...
Part I: Approaches to the History of Women and Religion
WOMEN AND RELIGION: METHODS OF STUDY AND REFLECTION
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WHAT IS ROUTINE as we enter the twenty-first century— systematic study of and reflection about women and religion—was unheard of when the current senior scholars of women and religion began graduate training and careers. We, too, had been trained to use androcentric (male-centered) models of humanity and the generic...
RELIGIONS AND MODERN FEMINISM
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FEMINISM, THE VIEW that society should be transformed to include the full participation of women, has been a key factor influencing the distinctive shape of religious life in modern America. Incorporating the idea that power discrepancies between men and women have distorted human relationships and institutions...
GENDER AND SOCIAL ROLES
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IN ROUGHLY THE last third of the twentieth century, “gender” as a category for scholarly analysis became increasingly prominent. Gender is distinguished from sex, the latter being a biologically based reality, whereas the former is socially constructed and is thus largely cultural...
NORTH AMERICAN WOMEN INTERPRET SCRIPTURE
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NORTH AMERICAN WOMEN have been interpreting the Bible since colonial times. In hearing or reading the Bible, both women and men tried to understand the meaning of these sacred writings for their lives. This understanding, and its relation to faith and action, has...
WOMEN’S RELIGIOUS IMAGINATION
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WHATEVER ELSE IT may be, religion, like politics, science, art, or economics, is a vast and dynamic arena of human creativity. As the instigator, nurturer, and negotiator of this creativity, the religious imagination has produced many and complex fruits: worldviews, rituals, beliefs, moral codes, narratives, institutions...
SOCIAL ETHICS, WOMEN, AND RELIGION
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THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY has ushered in a period of complex and enormous change and encompassing transformation. What is the nature of such fundamental world restructuring? What is happening to the fragile planet, the earth community? How do women under particular conditions suffer, and why? What kind...
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF WOMEN’S RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE
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THIS ESSAY CONCENTRATES on new trends in depth psychology and women’s religious experience. The focus is not on the explosion in psychology about women as different from men, nor on clinical practice with women, nor on the birth of feminist theology, nor on...
WOMEN’S SPIRITUAL BIOGRAPHY AND AUTOBIOGRAPHY
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THE FEMINIST MOVEMENT begun in the early 1960s transformed the reading and writing of women’s lives. giving up on any effort to combat hurt, as if caught in flesh. The feminine mode shows us resurrection occurs in ordinary life when we feel the invasion of God’s grace...
Part II: Women in Indigenous and African Traditions
NATIVE AMERICAN CREATION STORIES
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COMING FROM MORE than 600 tribal groups, divided into at least eight major language families, and living in nine distinct culture areas, the creation stories of indigenous peoples in what are now the United States and Canada represent an incredibly diverse and richly...
NATIVE AMERICAN WOMEN AND CHRISTIANITY
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WHILE STEREOTYPES PREVAIL that Native women in the Americas were subordinate to Native men, recent scholarship consistently indicates that Native women were equal to men in their communities. However, the status of Native women eroded after Christian...
AMERICAN INDIAN BOARDING SCHOOLS
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DURING THE NINETEENTH and into the twentieth century, American Indian children were forcibly abducted from their homes to attend Christian and U.S. government–run boarding schools as a matter of state policy. This system had its beginnings in the 1600s when John Eliot erected “praying towns” for American...
APPROPRIATION OF NATIVE AMERICAN RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS
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THE APPROPRIATION OF Native American spiritual/ cultural traditions by white society has a long history in the United States—from colonists dressing as Indians during the Boston Tea Party to the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) sponsoring “Indian Guide”...
RELIGIOUS EXCHANGE IN AFRAMERINDIAN LIFE
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THE FIRST RECORDED encounter between Africans and Indians in the southeastern United States was that of the “Queen” of the Cofitachiqui people and a “slave of Andre de Vasconcelas” who accompanied sixteenth century explorer Hernando de Soto. Even though she...
WOMEN IN AFRICAN CARIBBEAN RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS
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THE CARIBBEAN REGION is composed of the Greater and Lesser Antilles, encompassing an extensive archipelago of islands with diverse populations after centuries of conquest, exile, and resettlement. Beginning in the late fifteenth century, Europe’s expansion into the...
Part III: Catholicism
WOMEN IN NORTH AMERICAN CATHOLICISM
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CATHOLICISM IN NORTH America (Mexico, the United States, and Canada) is the largest Christian church in this region. In the year 2002 Catholics were 62.4 million in the United States, 12.5 million in Canada, and (at least nominally) about 89 percent of...
RELIGIOUS WOMEN IN COLONIAL MEXICO
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FOR MORE THAN three centuries the Roman Catholic Church influenced nearly every aspect of life in Spanish for women’s ordination at bishop’s meetings and ordinations of men. In 1978 lobbying at a Catholic bishop’s conference in Washington resulted in the bishops accepting a three-year process of dialogue with the...
GODMOTHERS AND GODDAUGHTERS: CATHOLIC WOMEN IN COLONIAL NEW FRANCE AND NEW ENGLAND
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CATHOLIC WOMEN, BOTH laywomen and women religious from European countries, were among the first colonists of North America. This is partially because the European colonization of North America not only was a mercantile venture but also was a fundamentally...
AMERICAN CATHOLIC WOMEN, 1820–1900: FROM THE JACKSONIAN PERIOD TO THE PROGRESSIVE ERA
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A SERIES OF tensions troubled American Catholic women in the nineteenth century. Some of them were internal divisions between laywomen and nuns, between immigrants holding on to their Old World culture and their native-born coreligionists, and between “cradle Catholics” who could be somewhat casual about their...
AFRICAN AMERICAN CATHOLIC WOMEN
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THE FIRST KNOWN Catholic of African descent in North America was not a woman. His name was Esteban, and he was a slave. In 1536, he accompanied a band of Spanish explorers surveying an area now known as Florida, Texas, and Arkansas. Esteban’s story is...
LATINA POPULAR CATHOLICISM
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ACCORDING TO THE U.S. Census Bureau, the Latino/ Hispanic population in the United States has surpassed 32 million persons. As of October 1, 2000, the estimated number of Latinos was 32.7 million, making up 11.9 percent of the totalU.S. population. The number of...
ASIAN AND PACIFIC AMERICAN CATHOLIC WOMEN
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ASIAN AND PACIFIC American Catholic women are a diverse group who trace their origins back to more than fifty countries and Pacific states in the Asian continent including Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Laos, the Philippines, Samoa, Tonga, and Vietnam...
AMERICAN CATHOLIC WOMEN, 1900-1965
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THE YEARS BETWEEN 1900 and 1965 ushered in unprecedented turbulence and change for American women, including Catholic women. What made Catholic women’s experience profoundly different from that of their female counterparts in other American religious...
AMERICAN CATHOLIC WOMEN SINCE VATICAN COUNCIL II
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CATHOLIC WOMEN HAVE been major players in the historical development of their Church throughout the centuries, reflecting the central preoccupations of the hierarchy even as they created new possibilities for themselves on the margins of the institution. As the essays in...
DETERMINED BUILDERS, POWERFUL VOICES: WOMEN AND CATHOLICISM IN NINETEENTH- AND TWENTIETH CENTURY QUEBEC AND CANADA
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SIX MILLION ROMAN Catholic women live in Canada. Three million are found in French-speaking Quebec where they represent more than four-fifths of Quebec women. One and a half million Catholic women live in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, where they...
Part IV: Protestantism
WOMEN AND PROTESTANTISM IN COLONIAL NEW ENGLAND
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PROTESTANTISM WAS A pervasive force in the development of colonial New England, and religion was central to the female experience. During the period from 1620 to 1775, the practice of piety provided a framework of meaning for New England women’s lives and spiritual...
PROTESTANT WOMEN IN THE MID-ATLANTIC COLONIES
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THE FIRST PROTESTANT women to come to the mid- Atlantic region were Walloons, French-speaking refugees from present-day Belgium who came to the Dutch colony of New Netherland in 1624. Within twenty years of this initial settlement of thirty families, New Netherland...
SOUTHERN COLONIAL PROTESTANT WOMEN
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THE FIRST PERMANENT Protestant colony in North America was Virginia, settled in 1607. Throughout the seventeenth century, both black and white women lived in a predominantly male world. In the 1630s, men outnumbered women by six to one in the Chesapeake, and...
PROTESTANTISM IN BRITISH NORTH AMERICA (CANADA)
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IN 1765, LAWRENCE Coughlan, a follower of John Wesley, began preaching in Newfoundland. He continued with some success until 1773, when ill health forced him to return to England. William Black, a Methodist preacher from Nova Scotia, went to Newfoundland in 1791 to investigate the state of Methodism there. He...
WOMEN AND AFRICAN AMERICAN DENOMINATIONS
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CHRISTIANITY, PARTICULARLY ITS Protestant variety, has been of immense, even central religious, social, and political significance in the historical experience of African American women. This essay focuses on the largest black denominations but also addresses themes...
WOMEN OF ANABAPTIST TRADITIONS
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THE TERM ANABAPTIST is a sixteenth-century phenomenon but is often used in contemporary settings to refer to those groups that distinguish themselves by adherence to adult or “believers” versus infant baptism. Sixteenth-century religious authorities, both Protestant...
WOMEN IN THE AMERICAN EPISCOPAL CHURCH
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WHAT WE CHOOSE to notice has ethical and historical ramifications. It is important to frame this review of Episcopal women within its colonial beginnings in a hemisphere that was already home to 300 societies of Native people. In the seventeenth century arriving...
WOMEN IN THE ANGLICAN CHURCH IN CANADA
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UNTIL THE ANGLICAN Church Synod of 1955, no church structure directly represented women. Nevertheless, Anglican women had worshipped and lived in their faith in Canada from at least the seventeenth century. Many English and Loyalist immigrants from the...
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FREEDOM IS THE hub of Baptist theology. Baptists believe that each person is free to interpret the Bible for herself, that each person is free to relate to God directly, that each church is free to do what it believes is best, and that all people are free to worship or not worship...
CHRISTIAN CHURCH/DISCIPLES OF CHRIST TRADITION AND WOMEN
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THE FUNCTION OF women in the Christian Church/ Disciples of Christ tradition (or the Disciples) has been a principal issue of contention from the movement’s inception. It has rolled through the history of the tradition, also known as the Stone-Campbell movement...
WOMEN AND LUTHERANISM
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LUTHERANS COMPRISE THE third largest denominational family among Protestants in the United States and the fifth largest in Canada but have received disproportionately less attention in both the popular press and American religious history than those rankings...
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THE ROLE OF American Methodist women in the church originally derived from that played by British Methodist women, who became involved during the movement’s initial stages in the eighteenth century. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, had watched his...
QUAKER WOMEN IN NORTH AMERICA
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THE QUAKER MOVEMENT emerged in England during the 1650s. Groups of religious seekers were attracted to the teachings of George Fox, who called on true Christians to abandon the “steeple houses” of the established church and to live authentic spiritual lives...
WOMEN IN REFORMED CHURCHES
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THE REFORMED CHURCHES in North America trace their family roots to the Swiss Reformation of the sixteenth century. The Zurich reformer Ulrich Zwingli held much in common with both the Lutheran and the Radical reformations, yet stood somewhat apart from them...
PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN IN AMERICA
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WOMEN HAVE BEEN actively involved in Presbyterianism in the United States of America since the denomination’s inception in the new country in 1789. Late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century family histories, newspapers and periodicals, printed sermons...
WOMEN IN THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA
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THE CREATION OF the United Church of Canada in 1925 brought together the Methodist Church (Canada, Newfoundland, and Bermuda), the Congregational Union of Canada, and all but a third of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. A number of local congregations...
WOMEN IN THE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
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ALTHOUGH THE UNITED Church of Christ (UCC) is predominantly a mix of traditions from the English Protestant Reformation, and several sixteenth-century European continental Protestant reform movements, it also draws upon faith and practice that is uniquely...
WOMEN IN THE UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST MOVEMENT
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A FULL-THROATED PRESENCE wherever their worship community’s witness is heard, Unitarian Universalist (UU) women enjoy a status implicit in vows made well over 200 years ago when their “liberal religion” was seeded in North America. Achieving a voice and respect...
WOMEN IN PENTECOSTALISM
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THE STORY OF women and American Pentecostalism is at once more complex and more predictable than a cursory look at history or statistics suggests. A (very) short list of female Pentecostal preachers comes readily to mind, headed by Aimee Semple McPherson, the...
WOMEN IN THE SALVATION ARMY
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FROM THE START, the Salvation Army’s full-scale deployment of women as preachers and pastors was singular among nineteenth-century Protestant groups. While women in some revivalist sects initially held such roles, they usually lost the right once early enthusiasms...
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MORE THAN A century and a half ago, revivalism was described as “the grand absorbing theme and aim of the American religious world” (Colton, 59). Similar sentiments continue concerning its contemporary import. The roots of revivalism in North America can be traced...
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HOLINESS REFERS TO the Christian doctrine and experience of “sanctification” (becoming holy or righteous), attaining “Christian perfection,” or “perfect love.” It also came to be referred to as “baptism with the Holy Spirit.” The notion is based...
THE SANCTIFIED CHURCH(ES)
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WITHIN AFRICAN AMERICAN Protestantism, the term Sanctified Church distinguishes a family of denominations, networks of congregations, and congregations that have their roots in the Holiness, Pentecostal, and Apostolic church movements in the United States. Racial...
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FUNDAMENTALISM IS EASY to describe but difficult to define with precision. It is often used as a blanket term for socially, religiously, or politically conservative movements, or it is used in reference to militant, anti- Western, antimodernist groups in developing sections of...
AMERICA’S EVANGELICAL WOMEN: MORE THAN WIVES AND MOTHERS —REFORMERS, MINISTERS, AND LEADERS
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PERSONS OUTSIDE THE evangelical community may imagine the evangelical woman as a submissive wife and subservient church member. A brief history of women in the evangelical movement discredits that picture. Evangelicalism refers to the movement that grew out of...
THE CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT
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THE CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT developed during the second half of the twentieth century as an impulse for spiritual renewal among mainline Protestants, Roman Catholics, and some Orthodox worshipers. At one time, the movement’s name simply specified Christians...
EURO-AMERICAN EVANGELICAL FEMINISM
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EUROPEAN AMERICAN EVANGELICAL feminism emerged in the early 1970s in response to shifts within evangelicalism and the cultural impact of second wave feminism. Some within the separatist fundamentalist world desired to reengage with society by addressing the...
U.S. LATINA EVANGELICAS
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THIS ESSAY BRINGS to the fore the stories and contributions of an eclectic group of women who use a variety of self-referent terms (Protestants, Protestantes, feministas, mujeristas) but whom will be referred to here as U.S. Latina evangelicas. They come from different...
RACE AND GENDER IN LATINA EXPERIENCE
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LATINA IDENTITY IN the United States is shaped in and through confrontation with sexism, racism and ethnocentrism, and classism. These social categories of gender, race, and class interact dynamically with each other, creating structures of social hierarchy, privilege, and...
HISPANIC PENTECOSTAL WOMEN
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LATINAS HAVE PLAYED a vital role in the origins and development of the Latino Pentecostal movement. They not only participated at the now-fabled Azusa Street Revival (1906–1909), but they also helped spread the Latino Pentecostal movement throughout the United...
ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN PROTESTANT WOMEN
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ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN women’s history begins in the nineteenth century and is intricately linked with that of men, who started arriving in North America around 1763. Before the 1960s, those of Asian and Pacific Island ancestries commonly identified themselves...
Part V: Women in Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Traditions
WOMEN IN ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN TRADITIONS
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THE MINISTRY OF women in Eastern Orthodox Christianity has historically taken different forms in different national churches, depending on their situation and cultural context. In view of the present times and current needs, Orthodox churches worldwide and more...
ORIENTAL ORTHODOX TRADITIONS AND THE ARMENIAN APOSTOLIC CHURCH
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THE ROLE OF women in teaching, preaching, pastoral work, and liturgical functions has been a subject of increasing interest (and in some cases controversy) in the Oriental Orthodox churches, all of whom trace their origins to the earliest years of Christianity. Men have...
AN ORTHODOX PERSPECTIVE ON FEMINIST THEOLOGY
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IN A RADIO address delivered on October 1, 1939, Winston Churchill described Russia as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” For the average mystified Westerner, that famous phrase may equally well describe Russia’s predominant religion, Eastern...
Part VI: Judaism
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LEADERS OF REFORM Judaism in the United States have often celebrated their movement’s role in emancipating Jewish women from the many restrictions that Judaism has traditionally imposed upon women’s ability to participate in and lead public worship. Historians...
TRADITION AND CHANGE—FINDING THE RIGHT BALANCE: CONSERVATIVE AND RECONSTRUCTIONIST JUDAISM
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THE MIGRATION OF over 2 million eastern European Jews to the United States between 1881 and 1924 dramatically altered the landscape of American Jewry. Conservative Judaism and its intellectual offshoot Reconstructionist Judaism offered a vision of an American Judaism...
ORTHODOX JEWISH WOMEN IN AMERICA: DIVERSITY, CHALLENGES, AND COMING OF AGE
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ORTHODOX JEWISH WOMEN have lived more than three centuries of Jewish life on these shores. What they have shared in common across the centuries is their ability to remain faithful to Jewish tradition while acculturating to America’s ways, a highly complex task...
JEWISH WOMEN AND RITUAL
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OVER THE COURSE of the 350 years that Jews have lived in North America, the nature of Jewish women’s involvement with ritual has changed. By and large, it has been the history of expanding Jewish women’s participation in the realm of public...
JEWISH LAW AND GENDER
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THE CENTRALITY OF Jewish law (halakah) in traditional Jewish life raises many questions for contemporary Jewish communities. In America, the divergent denominations have responded with a variety of distinct positions and interpretations of that law and of its place...
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ANTI-SEMITISM, THE hatred of Jews, in the United States has taken various forms in different periods and regions. Its roots clearly lie within Europe, most likely beginning with state support of Christianity in the fourth century by the Emperor Constantine. Ironically...
Part VII: Islam
ISLAM, WOMEN, AND THE STRUGGLE FOR IDENTITY IN NORTH AMERICA
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THE EARLY HISTORY of Muslims in the United States, both immigrant and African American, reveals a great deal of women’s participation in building the foundational institutions of Islam and creating a space and a place for Islam in the American religious mosaic. The...
AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSLIM WOMEN
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ISLAM, THE WORLDVIEW of over 1 billion people, is over fourteen centuries old, but as an American religion, it is relatively new to the consciousness of U.S. citizens. Nevertheless, Muslims have been in the United States since before it was a nation. It is critical to understand...
WOMEN, ISLAM, AND MOSQUES
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ONE DAY, AFTER a particularly frenzied day of driving her children between home, school, and the mosque, I heard an American Muslim mother exclaim, “Sometimes I wish women were forbidden to drive in this country.” With this tongue-in-cheek reference to the...
WOMEN’S ISSUES IN AMERICAN ISLAM
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AMERICAN MUSLIMS IN the United States and Canada comprise a rich, complex, and extremely diverse population of somewhere around 6 million. They are immigrants from a variety of countries as well as indigenous Americans, representing many races and...
Part VIII: Asian Religions
ORIGINS OF BUDDHISM IN NORTH AMERICA
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BUDDHISM IN NORTH America emerged from two distinct but not unrelated streams. Buddhism was first brought to the United States beginning in the mid-nineteenth century as the natal faith of immigrants from China and Japan. Asian workers also were...
WOMEN AND ZEN BUDDHISMS: JAPANESE, CHINESE, KOREAN, AND VIETNAMESE
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ZEN, AN ASIAN Buddhist tradition that first came to the West from Japan, emphasizes meditation and intensive self-examination as a way to wisdom, compassion, self-knowledge, and freedom from self-concern. In North America groups of Zen practitioners embody and...
THE WAY OF THE ELDERS: THERAVADA BUDDHISM, INCLUDING THE VIPASSANA MOVEMENT
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THERAVADA MEANS THE “Way of the Elders.” The orthodox original form of Buddhism followed in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia has taken two distinct forms in the United States.The Asian immigrant communities have established religious centers...
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THE ADVENT OF Tibetan Buddhism in North America started in the 1960s with the arrival of several important Tibetan meditation teachers representing the largest schools of Tibetan Buddhism. These schools are the Nyingma, the oldest school of Tibetan Buddhism dating...
HINDUISM IN NORTH AMERICA INCLUDING EMERGING ISSUES
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HINDUISM, WHICH IS the dominant religion of India, going back to sources that are more than 4,000 years old, is also the religion of more than 1.5 million people in the United States. While a substantial number are immigrants, primarily from India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia...
NEW HINDU MOVEMENTS
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THE TERMS HINDU and Hinduism, problematic in India, are even more so in North America. Originally, the term Hindu was applied by Turkic- and Persian-speaking invaders as a geographic and ethnic...
RELIGIONS OF CHINESE IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES AND CHINESE RELIGIONS PRACTICED IN NORTH AMERICA BY NON-CHINESE PEOPLE
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RECORDS DOCUMENT CHINESE immigration to the United States as early as the 1780s, but the first great wave of Chinese immigration occurred during the California gold rush of the 1840s. Mining companies required a steady supply of reliable, cheap labor, resulting...
RELIGIONS OF JAPANESE IMMIGRANTS AND JAPANESE AMERICAN COMMUNITIES
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WOMEN HAVE PLAYED an important but underappreciated and rarely acknowledged role in Japanese religion and culture. The traditional religions of Japan are Shinto, the indigenous polytheistic “Way of the Gods,” and Buddhism. The two are closely intertwined and...
WOMEN AND JAINISM IN NORTH AMERICA
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JAINISM IS AN ancient and enduring tradition whose origins scholars trace to the sixth century b.c.e. Jains contend that their tradition, which has no creator God but claims that all living beings have godlike souls, is beginningless and eternal. Jainism is not widely known...
SIKH WOMEN IN NORTH AMERICA
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SIKH WOMEN CAN be recognized by the circular steel bracelet worn around their right wrist. Although the short-styled hair is becoming more popular with the young generation, Sikh women usually have their hair long, either neatly braided or put up in a bun. They can...
Part IX: Newer Religious Movements
WOMEN IN COMMUNITARIAN SOCIETIES
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COMMUNITARIAN SOCIETIES IN America have a long history, going back to pre–Revolutionary War settlements. In the 1840s and again in the 1960s communitarian movements arose that claimed to emancipate women. Women’s marginalization was seen as stemming...
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MORMONISM, OR FORMALLY the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is often considered an uncongenial religion for women. The church is directed by an entirely male priesthood and once practiced polygamy, not a female-friendly marital practice. The...
WOMEN IN THE REORGANIZED CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS
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CALLED A SAINT, a devil, and a Mormon enigma, Emma Hale Smith (1804–1879), the wife of Joseph Smith II and the mother of Joseph Smith III, is the “First Lady” of both the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) and the Reorganized Church of Jesus...
VODOU, SPIRITISM, AND SANTERIA: HYBRIDITY AND IDENTITY IN CARIBBEAN RELIGIONS
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VODOU, SPIRITISM, AND Santeria are religions of the diaspora and religions of the New World. Vodou and Santeria belong to the large spectrum of African diaspora religions that find new grounding and vitality in the New World, particularly in the Caribbean and most...
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LIKE MORMONISM, SEVENTH-DAY Adventism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Pentecostalism, Christian Science was founded in North America. Unlike most other indigenous American religious movements of the nineteenth century, Christian Science was founded by and is...
CLARA EVANS MUHAMMAD: PIONEERING SOCIAL ACTIVISM IN THE ORIGINAL NATION OF ISLAM
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IT IS NOT possible to fully understand the social activism of African American Muslim women without addressing the role and contributions of Clara Evans Muhammad (1899–1972), who served the original Nation of Islam (NOI) for four decades until her death in 1972...
THEOSOPHY, NEW THOUGHT, AND NEW AGE MOVEMENTS
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THEOSOPHY, NEW THOUGHT, and the New Age movements are related in the interweaving of their histories and the cross-fertilization of their ideas. Women have played significant roles in founding and leading groups in these three movements and in shaping their...
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IN 1848, MEMBERS of the Fox family of Hydesville, New York, complained of a haunting. The Fox’s adolescent daughters, Margaret and Katherine, devised a system of communication with the spirit called “alphabet raps,” in which they would ask a question, and the spirit...
WOMEN IN THE NORTH AMERICAN BAHA’I COMMUNITY
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THE BAHA’I FAITH was founded in the 1860s by Mirza Husayn Ali, a Persian nobleman known as Baha’u’llah (the Glory of God), who claimed to fulfill prophecies contained in all the world’s major religious traditions of a divine messenger destined to inaugurate an era of...
WOMEN IN NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS SINCE THE 1960s
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THE STATUS OF women in today’s unconventional religions, popularly known as “cults,” is often portrayed in anticult literature as a backlash against contemporary feminism, resulting in domestic enslavement in patriarchal enclaves or in degrading sexual experiments at...
WOMEN IN JEWISH RENEWAL
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“IN THE RENEWAL community, the Shekhinah [feminine presence of God] is ascendant. Women’s skills are valued, celebrated and nourished.” Thus Rabbi Marcia Prager, a leading spokesperson for Jewish Renewal, described the experience of women in this contemporary...
ANCIENT MATRIARCHIES IN NINETEENTH- AND TWENTIETH CENTURY FEMINIST THOUGHT
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THE IDEA THAT ancient human societies were matriarchal is as old as the beginnings of literacy in the West. Myths of past or distant societies where women formed the core of society and held significant power were told in classical Greece and have likewise been found in...
WOMEN IN THE WICCAN RELIGION AND CONTEMPORARY PAGANISM
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WOMEN HAVE PLAYED a prominent part in the development of the Wiccan religion and related forms of contemporary Paganism. Many of the women who have helped shaped the religion have lived in the United States. Among the best known and longest serving of...
Part X: Multi-denominational Movements
THE DEACONESS MOVEMENT
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THE HISTORY OF the relationship between women and institutionalized forms of Christianity is a long and complicated one. Throughout history, women’s increased participation in the ministries of the church has held tremendous potential to bring about gender...
PROTESTANT WOMEN MISSIONARIES: FOREIGN AND HOME
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MISSION WORK WAS the earliest and most popular cause for which Protestant women organized themselves into gender-separate groups in the nineteenth century. In the process of spreading their religious faith across cultural barriers to non-Christians, women renegotiated...
AMERICAN CATHOLIC WOMEN MISSIONARIES, 1870–2000
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MUCH OF THE geographic area of what became the fifty United States of America was frontier territory in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the country was considered by Vatican officials to be a “mission territory” until 1908. The predominant way for an...
LEADERSHIP AND COMMUNITY BUILDING IN PROTESTANT WOMEN’S ORGANIZATIONS
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SINCE THE FOUNDING of the American colonies, influential separatist women’s organizations have characterized the participation of Jewish and Christian women, and women of Anglo, African, and Hispanic American descent, in sacred and secular areas of life. When not...
“LIFTING AS WE CLIMB”: NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COLORED WOMEN (NACW)/NATIONAL COUNCIL OF NEGRO WOMEN (NCNW)
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WHY DID AFRICAN American women organize a national club movement at the end of the nineteenth century? There are two aspects that establish parameters for answering this question. First, the late nineteenth century through the early twentieth century was a time of...
WOMEN AND CATECHETICS IN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC TRADITION
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THE DEVELOPMENT OF religious education in the Roman Catholic tradition is permeated by three interrelated realities. From New Testament times to present-day practice, whether it be in the home or in a more...
CATHOLIC WOMEN’S COLLEGES IN THE UNITED STATES
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THE DEVELOPMENT OF Catholic women’s colleges at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries must be understood in light of the development and growth of the movement within America to provide educational opportunities for girls and women...
CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIAN STRATEGIES IN EDUCATION
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SINCE ITS GENESIS during the middle decades of the nineteenth century, public education often has been the subject of heated debate and controversy. In the years following the turbulent 1960s, many conservative Protestants...
WOMEN AND JEWISH EDUCATION
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FROM THE BEGINNING of the Sunday School movement, Protestant women and the religious teaching of children have been intimately connected. Almost immediately— as soon as large numbers of instructors were needed—women dominated the ranks of the Sunday...
PROTESTANT SUNDAY SCHOOLS AND RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
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THE STORY OF Protestant women’s colleges builds on the dreams and changing expectations of women yearning for higher education when little was available. Two hundred years after the founding of Harvard in 1636 by Puritan clergy for young men, the first chartered...
PROTESTANT WOMEN’S COLLEGES IN THE UNITED STATES
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THE STORY OF Protestant women’s colleges builds on the dreams and changing expectations of women yearning for higher education when little was available. Two hundred years after the founding of Harvard in 1636 by Puritan clergy for young men, the first chartered...
WOMEN IN THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION
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WOMEN’S LONG HISTORY of participation in the congregational life of North American churches stands in stark contrast to the brief history of women in theological education. In recent decades, however, the number of women enrolled in theological schools has...
WHEN WOMEN ENTER THE CLASSROOM: THEORY, THEOLOGY,AND TEACHING
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DO WOMEN WHO teach religion and theology in North America teach it differently than men? There has undoubtedly been a pedagogical shift in religious studies and theological education since women have entered academe, and many would argue that the shift is due at...
THE PROTESTANT WOMEN’S ORDINATION MOVEMENT
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DURING THE COLONIAL era the intense Puritan piety of New England, the diversity of the middle colonies, and the individualism of tidewater Anglicanism and hill country Presbyterianism created a very diverse religious landscape. Revivals regularly swept the colonies. Church...
THE WOMEN’S ORDINATION MOVEMENT IN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
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DURING THE TWENTIETH century, most Protestant and Jewish denominations accepted women as ministers, priests, and rabbis—even as bishops. But the Roman Catholic Church refused to do so, and that opposition led to the growth of a movement in North America for...
JEWISH WOMEN’S ORDINATION
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IN 1889, ON the front page of Philadelphia’s Jewish Exponent, the writer Mary M. Cohen (1854–1911) asked, “Could not—our women—be ministers?” (Nadell, 1). That question launched a century-long debate over Jewish women’s right to ordination. Not until 1972 did the...
PROTESTANT FEMALE PREACHING IN THE UNITED STATES
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MOST PEOPLE TODAY assume that women did not become preachers in Protestant churches until fairly recently. Yet ever since the first British colonies were founded in North America in the seventeenth century, women have demanded the right to speak publicly in...
WOMEN HYMN WRITERS
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WHEN THE FIRST Europeans settled in the United States, they brought with them the sacred songs that nurtured their faith. Women and children sang with men, but until the early national period, the crafting of tunes and texts remained largely a male prerogative...
AFRICAN AMERICAN HYMNODY
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HYMNODY IS THE experience of hymn singing and writing in and for a particular time, place, or church. A hymn is a song of adoration or praise of God, a poetic, religious proclamation appropriate for corporate expression. Hymns are sung statements of doctrinal beliefs...
WOMEN’S NOVELS AND RELIGION, 1780-1900
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TO BEGIN A study of American women’s novels and religion with a brief mention of a British novel, Pamela by Samuel Richardson, published in 1741, may seem out of place. This reference is important, however, because Richardson is recognized as the author of a new type of...
WOMEN, RELIGION, AND AMERICAN FILM
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MOVIES HAVE BEEN a profoundly influential cultural force in America throughout the twentieth century, and although the nature and shape of that influence have not always been uniform, American film will certainly continue to have a powerful impact on the United States...
Part XI: Women, Religion, and Social Reform
NINETEENTH- AND TWENTIETH CENTURY PROTESTANT SOCIAL REFORM MOVEMENTS IN THE UNITED STATES
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FROM THE BIRTH of the United States as an independent nation, there has always been an emphasis on reform. Even during the colonial period, there were evidences of great enthusiasm for refining and deepening the moral dimensions of the American people’s beliefs...
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IN MAY 1837 approximately 200 women gathered in New York City for an Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women. Although numerous local female antislavery societies had formed in the 1830s, this was the first time women had come together for a national assembly...
WOMEN AND PEACE MOVEMENTS IN NORTH AMERICA
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THE WORK OF women in peace movements in North America has typically raised two strategic issues. The first poses the question of essentialism: Is there something about being a woman that naturally inclines one to detest violence and embrace harmony? In particular...
THE SETTLEMENT HOUSE MOVEMENT
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THE SETTLEMENT HOUSE movement began in the final decades of the nineteenth century. Many women participated as it provided them a way to address a variety of concerns related to urbanization and industrialization, education and health, immigration and...
THE SOCIAL GOSPEL
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THE SOCIAL GOSPEL refers to a North American Protestant form of a broad movement of social Christianity in the later decades of the nineteenth and the early decades of the twentieth century that attempted to apply the Christian gospel to particular social problems...
WOMEN AND GARVEYISM
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GARVEYISM IS A social movement associated with Marcus Mosiah Garvey (1887–1940). Garvey was a Jamaican-born leader of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), founded in 1914 in Jamaica, with its first branch in the United States in 1917...
THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT
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THE CIVIL RIGHTS movement caused sweeping changes in public policies,social conventions,and morality in the United States. Deriving from religious and moral perspectives about what constitutes a good society,the civil rights movement sought to ensure recognition of all persons in the United States as members of the...
ENGAGED BUDDHIST WOMEN
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ENGAGED BUDDHISM IS a loosely organized movement of social engagement that originated in Southeast Asia in the 1960s,applying the social teachings of Buddhism to the current realities of militarism, imperialism, globalization,and development in Asian countries. This...
WOMEN’S FREEDOM AND REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: THE CORE FEAR OF PATRIARCHY
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NO SOCIAL MOVEMENT has threatened the power and authority of patriarchal religion more seriously than the movement for women’s reproductive—and sexual— rights. For most of the twentieth century,and now into the twenty-first,advocates of a woman’s right to control...
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ECOLOGICAL FEMINISM (ECOFEMINISM) emerged in the 1970s predominantly in North America, although the term was coined by French feminist Francoise d’Eaubonne in Le Fe´minisme ou la Mort (1974). Ecofeminism has matured over three decades and could be...
JEWISH WOMEN’S SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS
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SINCE THE EARLY nineteenth century,women’ s organizations have proved vibrant and effective vehicles for Jewish women throughout the United States. Whatever the charitable, philanthropic, educational, or religious goals they wished to accomplish, the most...
ABUNDANT LIFE FOR ALL: THE YOUNG WOMEN’S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION
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THE EMERGENCE OF the Young Women’s Christian Association in the United States and Canada took place within the context of increasing industrialization in the late nineteenth century. As industrial capitalism had begun to separate work from the home in the early...
WOMEN AND RELIGION IN THE BORDERLANDS
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THE TERM BORDERLANDS can be used to simply refer to a place on a map,more specifically to the southwestern states of the United States that geographically run adjacent to the approximately 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) of what is today the Mexico-U.S. border...
TURNING OFF THE TAPS: PUBLIC POLICY IN CANADA
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“NEVER RETREAT, NEVER explain, never apologize. Get the thing done and let them howl” (In Times Like These, vii). Those oft-quoted words were spoken by Nellie McClung, a prominent Canadian Methodist campaigner for women’s suffrage (1918), for appointment...
THE PUBLIC LEADERSHIP OF WOMEN OF FAITH: ENTREPRENEURS, SOCIAL ALCHEMISTS, AND BEARERS OF RELIGION IN THE WORLD
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SOME WOULD SAY that putting together the words public, leadership, women, and faith is an oxymoron, that those words simply do not belong together. At the beginning of the new millennium, Americans remain ambivalent aboutt he historic role of women in public life...
Part XII: Women-Centered Theology
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WOMANIST THEOLOGY IS a form of reflection that places the religious and moral perspectives of black women at the center of its method. Issues of class, gender (including sex, sexism, sexuality, and sexual exploitation), and race are seen as theological problems...
EURO-AMERICAN FEMINIST THEOLOGY
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THERE ARE THREE small but immediate issues with the topic “Euro-American Feminist Theology.” What does Euro-American mean? What does feminist mean? And what does, or could, theology mean when combined with the first two terms? To begin with...
LAS HERMANAS: LATINAS AND RELIGIOUS/POLITICAL ACTIVISM
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LAS HERMANAS, A national organization of Latina Catholics, exemplifies the determination of Latinas to recreate church based on equality, justice, and the empowerment of grassroots women and the poor. The organization emerged during a time of intense social...
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MUJERISTA THEOLOGY IS an enterprise that a group of Latinas—Cubans, Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans—who live in the United States have been elaborating for the last twenty years. It is a theology that has as its source the lived experience of Latinas who are...
LATINA ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGIES
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THE CATEGORY “LATINA Roman Catholic theologies” represents a loosely gathered body of theological writings rather than a particular, self-designated theological movement. It is intended to be an umbrella category for the entire body of Latina Roman Catholic...
REBIRTH OF THE RELIGION OF THE GODDESS
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WHEN THE FEMINIST movement was reborn in the late 1960s in the United States, the rebirth of the religion of Goddess was not far behind. Some of the activists in the nineteenth-century women’s rights movement...
WOMEN’S ISSUES IN CONTEMPORARY NORTH AMERICAN BUDDHISM
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THE SHEER DIVERSITY and variety of forms of Buddhism practiced in North America make it very difficult to generalize about Buddhist women’s issues. Every denomination of Buddhism practiced in the contemporary world is represented in North America. Asian forms of...
LESBIAN AND BISEXUAL ISSUES IN RELIGION
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LESBIAN, BISEXUAL, AND women-identified women have been involved in the development of theology in the United States for as long as heterosexual women. However, because of heterosexism and homophobia, especially in religiously related institutions...
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BECAUSE JEWISHNESS IS more than a religious identity, Jewish feminism is more than a religious movement. A glance through the two Jewish feminist periodicals Lilith and Bridges, or through major anthologies on Jewish feminism, makes clear that the transformation...
THE CASE FOR NATIVE LIBERATION THEOLOGY
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WHILE THERE HAS been a proliferation of liberation theologies rooted in diverse communities of color, the development of Native liberation theology, particularly Native women’s theology, has been a slow process. Nonetheless, Native women’s perspectives on spirituality...
Part XIII: Contemporary Women's Issues in Religion
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WOMEN-CHURCH IS a global ecumenical feminist religious movement with roots in the Roman Catholic tradition. It consists of groups, individuals, and organizations that seek to be church without the trappings of patriarchal theology and practice. Women-church holds...
NEW FEMINIST RITUAL
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IN THE EARLY 1970s when women began to speak about how they felt after worshipping in churches or synagogues, something new happened. While these feelings certainly were not new, the moment was. Struggles for justice, long overdue changes to acknowledge the...
WOMEN AND HEALING IN NORTH AMERICA
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IN NORTH AMERICAN history and throughout the world, healing has been predominantly a woman’s art. Nevertheless, historical studies undervalue and underrepresent women’s healing arts. Regardless of the time or place, women’s healing systems share common characteristics. First, women...
WOMEN IN PROTESTANT CHURCH SOCIETIES AND BUREAUCRACIES
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WOMEN’S PARTICIPATION IN Protestant ecumenical and denominational organizations has taken three forms: Women often outnumbered men in congregations and provided a majority of the volunteer labor for the work of the church, while men occupied paid and...
PLURAL RELIGIOUS IDENTITIES AND HOUSEHOLDS
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PLURAL RELIGIOUS IDENTITIES arise from various factors. Among them are inter-religious marriages, interest and participation in religions and spiritual practices outside one’s birth faith, or attempts to reconcile the majority religious culture with one’s own faith heritage. All...
WOMEN’S CONTRIBUTIONS TO JEWISH-CHRISTIAN RELATIONS
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THE PAST HALF-CENTURY has witnessed a revolution in relations between Christians and Jews. Scholarly studies in Bible, theology, and history proliferate, unsettling conventional conclusions and revealing the complex interactions between the traditions in their nearly...
CANADIAN WOMEN’S RELIGIOUS ISSUES
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TO IDENTIFY CANADIAN women’s religious issues, one must first have some understanding of the Canadian context. Canada is both a colonized and an imperialist nation. The mere fact of including an entry with this title is indicative of a way of perceiving and defining...
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INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE IS a term that refers to the effort to transform English usage so that women and men, persons of color, the handicapped, and others traditionally excluded by accepted usage are represented fairly and equally in the words used to name them. The...
NEW RELIGIOUS RIGHT
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THE “NEW RELIGIOUS Right” commonly refers to the political movement of evangelical Protestants that began in the 1970s. Evangelicals, who believe that scripture is the revealed word of God and actively seek to convert...
SEXUALITY AND THE BLACK CHURCH
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FUNDAMENTAL TO ANY discussion of the Black Church and sexuality is a clear understanding of two concepts: Sexuality and Black Church...
GIRLFRIEND THEOLOGY: ADOLESCENT GIRLS AND FAITH COMMUNITIES
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GIRLFRIEND THEOLOGY IS a method of religious education that helps adult women translate tenets of feminist and liberation theologies to adolescent girls within faith communities. Girls are invited into religious practices that honor feminine imagery of God and help them...
Index to Entries
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Page Count: 1464
Illustrations: 1 index
Publication Year: 2006