Let me introduce myself. My name is Karen Garst. I am an atheist and a life-long feminist. These two facets of who I am collided in 2014 when the U. S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby. In this decision, the Court decided that the owners of Hobby Lobby, because of their religious beliefs, were not required to provide certain forms of birth control to their female employees under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
For me, this decision crossed the line between the freedom of a citizen to follow a religious belief and the separation of church and state, both of which are enshrined in the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. If a person has a religious belief that does not allow them to follow the dictates of the laws required of businesses, then they should not start a business. I believe that it is wrong for the government to allow any business to be exempt from giving their employees the rights the our laws require.
Religion has traditionally mistreated women for centuries. Learn the shocking truth.
Because this issue affects women’s access to birth control, I believe it should be the concern of anyone who believes in equal rights for men and women, which is my definition of a feminist. I applaud the announcement of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fund the development of a male birth control drug. If this accomplishment is achieved, it will be interesting to see whether Hobby Lobby decides to provide this benefit to its male employees.
Shortly after the court’s decision was issued, I began watching videos of debates between Christian Apologists and Atheists. I learned about The Four Horsemen, which denotes Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens who has passed on, Samuel Harris, and Daniel Dennett. I have read some of the works of each of these men. They are smart, they approach the topic from different and interesting perspectives, and they are very good debaters. But the feminist side of me asked “Where are the women?” Yes, women atheist speakers can be found on YouTube and in the bookstores, but they are few and far between. I put the words “women” and “atheist” in the search line on Amazon thinking I would be able to find books written by and about women atheists. Unfortunately the first page is full of t-shirts and one pendant.
It is important that women’s voices be heard as well as men’s. I believe women atheists have a unique perspective to bring to the debate concerning religion. To this end, I decided to write a book of essays written by women who describe themselves as atheist, agnostic, humanist, or secular. For me, this has been a fascinating journey. I have met women who were raised in many different faiths or in a secular home. Each has told a personal story some of which are riveting in their description of the negative aspects of religion on their lives. I hope to find a publisher for this book in the next several months.
But one book isn’t enough. That is why I have started this blog. Instead of blogs just written by me, I want to offer this website to anyone who would like to speak out on the issues of women and religion. If you are a writer and passionate about this issue, please join my authors and me in speaking out. Posts should be between about 500 and 1000 words. I pledge to you that I will read each submission and give careful consideration to posting it. You may subscribe to my blog by leaving your name and email below. You will receive an article I wrote as a bonus! Thank you.
If you are interested you can contact me here.
Has the Women’s Movement Made Sufficient Progress?
The Case Against Miracles
Dangerous Illusions by Vitaly Malkin
Civilization Was Invented by Women. What Gave Men the Right to Ruin It?
Respectability Among Heathens: Black Feminist Atheist Humanists