Patriarchy is not a religion!

If there is one area that best symbolizes the patriarchy, it is the field of the three great monotheisms (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) resulting from the same Abrahamic tradition struck by the original fault which establishes, from the beginning, an order hierarchical between dominant men and subordinate, secondary, slave, excluded women.

Today, where roles are changing, where the feminine has the right to the city and where patriarchal tension is easing in the democratic West, women, who are traditionally excluded from ministries of worship, claim their place on an equal footing with men. in their religion. Because their exclusion was never formulated in the first texts. This rule is only explicit in the Catholic Church which does not know a pope, cardinal, bishop, or priestess … but a very notable development is to be noted in Judaism, the Reformed Christian Church and, recently, the ‘Islam, which today leave room for women ministers of worship.

In their wonderful reference book, Of women and gods*, Floriane, Kahina and Emmanuelle realize a very useful meeting of their three faiths in the deepest dimension which is that of share and in the new perspective of women in the exercise of worship. Sharing of knowledge and experiences, sharing of the inner process, sharing of esteem and respect for others.

16th century bible. This first text is common to the three great monotheisms and one of the foundations of the Reformed Church.

Emmanuelle Seyboldt is pastor and president of the national council of the United Protestant Church of France. She is the first to tell about her vocation, very precocious, at the age of seven or eight: “I was looking for why to live, and what could hold the world together (…) From my childhood, God was the One who would come to restore the justice and put a touch of hope in the future… ”then“ I understood that God needed my own strength, my intelligence and my hands to fight injustice. “So, in primary school, when the teacher asks us to write down the profession that we want to exercise later” I had written “pastor” (…) I never thought of exercising another profession. No one ever stopped me from doing it. The framework of the Reformed Church is particularly open and attentive to the women and men who compose it. Emmanuelle Seyboldt will even be astonished that one comes to propose to her to chair the national council of the United Protestant Church of France when she had not asked for anything. Women are a full part of the reformed religious community, it is only to know the proportion of women pastors in France, which is today 15%. It is true that pastors are married and with a family life while in the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, which remain braced on archaic masculinist principles, women do not have never had a “voice in the matter”.

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The 7-branched candlestick, menorah, is a symbol of light and faith in Judaism.

Floriane Chinsky is a rabbi, doctor of law and trainer in Mutual Listening. She carries out her ministry within the framework of “Judaism in motion” in the 20th judgment of Paris. Like Emmanuelle, Floriane grew up in a very open-minded family, in “a relationship to the world that is both generous and very egalitarian:” nothing was forbidden or advised to me because I was a girl. “. From the age of seven, revolted by the weight of injustices, she organized a pacifist march in the schoolyard. But this very liberal family education quickly came up against socio-religious realities: “I discovered with surprise that, at the synagogue, men were separated from women (…) I had never been discriminated against in such a direct way. . “So Floriane wonders and wants to examine the texts for herself.” I wanted to know what the sources were saying and what was the legitimacy of the tradition that I had received. She then undertakes rabbinical studies which confirm the validity of the humanist Judaism in which she was raised. “It was by studying the writings that I found the legitimacy of my approach. I realized that women could fully experience a strong commitment, exactly in the same way as men (…) Today I am a rabbi and my entire life is guided by this conviction that I have cultivated since my youngest age: Nonviolence. “With this epistemological perspective:” I want to participate in this “divine project” even if “god” did not exist. “

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The star and the crescent are symbols of faith in Islam.

Kahina Bahloul, Islamologist by training, is an imame at the Fatima Mosque, which she founded and which promotes liberal Islam. Its origins are emblematic of its approach. Born in Paris, she grew up in Algeria “between an Algerian father and a French mother” very surrounded by her grandparents. “They were Algerian Muslims on the paternal side, French on the maternal side, he Catholic, she Jewish of Polish origin. This syncretic origin certainly contributes to his great open-mindedness and to the values ​​which are his: ethics, probity, honesty. “The deep friendship that united my four grandparents certainly shaped my outlook on otherness and the possibility of combining so much diversity in oneself. »His vocation will come later because« at seven years old, it was impossible for me to imagine becoming an imame since that did not exist. It was unthinkable, inaccessible, I did not even ask myself the question. “As a teenager, she saw the first Islamic scarves arrive in their small village of Kabylia” coinciding with the appearance of VHS or audio cassettes on which fundamentalist preachers recounted their punitive beliefs. They described the punishments of the grave, the angel of death who will take us by the feet, the eyes, the ears … impossible to escape their delirium (…) It is at this time that I started to open my eyes, to ask myself a lot of questions about the interpretation of the texts. Sufism will then be a revelation which will allow it to show the true face of Islam. On the model of two women, her American and Danish counterparts, Amina Wadud who became in 2005 the first imame in the world and Sherin Khankan inaugurating her mosque in Denmark in 2016, for the first time Kahina allows herself to think: “What if I became imame? “

As in Genesis, this dialogue between three committed women takes place over seven days. In Women and gods, these three exceptional women approach the major questions of our time through the judicious prism of their openness to allow us to understand in particular the incredible progress represented by the access of women to the ministries of worship. Each of them tackles the question of feminism – essential today; and especially what the texts say about it; the question of fundamentalism and interpretations; the sacred and the transcendent; and the great always recurring question of the still very present power of the patriarchy. It is Kahina who underlines this great evidence: “Men have completely appropriated the religious discourse and the interpretation of the texts that goes with it, which inevitably results in a system of thought totally excluding women (…) In history what seems to be a problem with humanity is primarily the female body, not the male. “It is again she who offers her title to this column with this quote:” All my action today is guided by this conviction: patriarchy is not a religion. Patriarchy is not a foundation of Islam. It was introduced into religion through human readings, exclusive male readings. And I want to contribute to a paradigm shift. The place of women is changing, even within churches.

A reflection of great value to help us understand the basis of each of the great monotheisms and the place that women can and must take within them today.

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*Of women and gods by Floriane Chinsky, Kahina Bahloul and Emmanuelle Seyboldt, ed. The arenas.

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Patriarchy is not a religion!


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