Devout Christians are always in touch with reality, a fact I’ve come to appreciate in my teens, having grown up as a Catholic and received religious education since kindergarten.
Craig Kielburger, one of the founders of Free the Children, an organization working toward improving children’s rights around the world, actually went to my high school, and I attended his speech and presentation on his work one afternoon in the cafeteria. I’ve always admired his work, but until now I wasn’t aware of his advocacy for reproductive rights. For example, in the same column mentioned below, they deem the defunding of the International Planned Parenthood by the Conservative government as a “paternalistic refusal” to guarantee the same rights to women in developing countries.
Although the organization states that they do not have an official stance on abortion, both Kielburger brothers are feminist, even fiercely so:
To state the obvious: we’re men. Far from disqualifying us as feminists, we think it’s our responsibility to be what one male feminist dubbed “unlikely allies” in the battle for gender equality. We know young women who reject the f-word because they think it’s past its prime; because feminism is seen as a pointless academic pursuit by those who wrongly believe there is gender equality in developed countries. This is hardly the case…
Normally we’d define feminism as the struggle for gender quality, but in some cases it’s a struggle for fundamental human rights.
As child rights activists, both brothers witnessed first hand crimes committed against women and children: human trafficking, forcible prostitution, and rape. Therefore, they understand that they need to support a full range of reproductive rights abroad, including access to birth control and abortion services, in order to improve the lives of women and children.
Christian fundamentalists, however, beg to differ. They have slammed both brothers, who grew up Catholic and who continue to gives speeches in Catholic schools in Ontario for openly embracing “radical feminism and homosexualism [sic].”
There you have it: supporting fundamental human rights for the female half of the population in the developing countries is, apparently, radical feminism.
And that is why I’m no longer a Catholic.