A common epithet hurled at politically-active, Bible-believing Christians these days is "hate." Anyone who is opposed to the currently fashionable Left-wing causes (sexual immorality, abortion, etc.) must be filled with "hate," we are repeatedly told. This is particularly true in the case of opposition to the homosexual rights movement. Both Canada and the United States have experienced attempts to implement anti-hate laws motivated, at least in part, by a desire to squelch opposition to homosexuality.
The charge that conservative Christians are opposed to the Left-wing social agenda as a result of hate is, of course, complete nonsense. However, the Left has been extremely successful in deflecting attention away from the real issues through this tactic. To a large degree, the media appears more than eager to focus on the alleged "hate-mongering" of Christian activists while ignoring the very real and substantial concerns Christians have about the collapse of our culture.
There are many political activists in the culture war motivated by hate, but the media has been looking in the wrong direction. Plenty of hate is to be found within feminism, perhaps the most powerful component of the Left-wing social coalition. Radical feminism and many of its adherents are full of hatred towards men, the traditional family, and Biblical Christianity.
One person who has noted the hatred exhibited by feminists is Erin Pizzey. Erin Pizzey was the founder of the first shelter for battered women and children in Britain. She is also considered to be the founder of the movement to provide shelter for victims of domestic violence. As such, many feminists around the world admire her. Pizzey, however, does not admire the feminists in return. She gives her impression of the feminists in an article "From the Personal to the Political" in the book Women or Men -Who are the Victims? (London, England: Institute for the Study of Civil Society, 2000). Early in her career, Pizzey had some involvement with the women's liberation movement. As she relates it, "What I saw were groups of left-leaning, white, middle-class women gathered together to hate men. Their slogan was 'make the personal political.' I saw that the most vociferous and the most violent of the women took their own personal damage, their anger against their fathers, and expanded their rage to include all men" (p. 25).
Despite her aversion to these women, Pizzey was determined to help battered wives and children. She promoted the establishment of shelters for these victims of violence. However, the feminists saw that they could use this issue to their own advantage. Before long, "[T]he feminist movement everywhere had hijacked the whole issue of domestic violence to fulfill their political ambitions and to fill their pockets" (p. 29). Women's shelters ("refuges") began to take on an additional role. "I watched the feminist movement build its bastions of hatred against men, fortresses where women were to be taught that all men were rapists and bastards, and I witnessed the damage done to the children in the refuges who were taught that men were not to be trusted" (pp. 29-30).
Pizzey did not keep her unpopular views to herself and, as a prominent leader of the movement to provide shelter for victims of domestic violence, she was invited to speak in a number of different countries over the years. As her views became known, feminists would occasionally picket her appearances. "I was used to the pickets because anywhere I spoke or appeared I was followed by these hate-filled women. I was aware that they held their secret conferences that excluded men all over the world. They have infiltrated most large institutions and the UN is filled with women who are determined to destroy the family and marriage as an institution" (p. 35).
This portrayal of feminists as being "hate-filled" is just one woman's testimony, but she is a very credible witness. Pizzey is not a right-wing Christian taking cheap shots at her political opponents, but a social activist who has worked among women in an environment crawling with feminists. Thus her view carries substantial weight.
More can be said, however. There is something about feminism that encourages negative emotions. Kenneth Minogue, Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the famous London School of Economics, touches on this in his article "How civilizations fall" in the April 2001 issue of The New Criterion. Minogue refers to "Betty Friedan's radical feminists" as a "new tribe" established in the 1960s. He then notes, "The first task of this new movement was to create the shared consciousness necessary for tribal functioning. Like all forms of psychic collectivism, 'consciousness raising' (as it is known) exploits indignation and cultivates righteousness" (pp. 5-6). It seems to me that these feelings of "indignation" and "righteousness" form the bitter root that springs up into seething anger and even (dare I say it) hatred in many feminists. Feminism plays up women's alleged inferior status in Western society to generate anger, and that anger becomes the motivation for feminist activism. It also slides easily into hate.
Feminism, or at least radical feminism, is much more than the idea that women should have the same opportunities as men. It's an ideology that pits women against men in a struggle for power. Men have historically held power and used it to harm women. Minogue notes, "As with Hitler's appeal to the Aryan race, the basic principle [of radical feminism] was one of flattery: women, it revealed, are a marvelously talented set of people who have been iniquitously suppressed by males running a patriarchal system" (p. 6). Men are the enemy! Men are evil! They have subjugated women, and women must now break free! I submit that this mindset leads naturally and easily into hatred.
The Left's accusations of "hate" against conservative Christians are rather hypocritical, in my view. The Left is not really interested in opposing hate. If it were, it would start by cleaning up its own backyard. There is plenty of hate there. The radical feminist movement is one glowing example. The culture war is not between Christian "haters" on one side and friendly people on the other. It is between two (or at least two) irreconcilable views of human well-being. The real issues are much deeper than hate. And when allegations of "hate" are made, as they frequently are these days, it's not unlikely that the accuser has much to answer for himself, or should that be, herself.
- Michael Wagner
Michael Wagner is a home schooling father, an independent researcher and writer, and the author of Christian Citizenship Guide: Christianity and Canadian Political Life. He has a PhD in Political Science from the University of Alberta and lives in Edmonton with his wife and eleven children.