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Mother’s Day and Radical, Religious Feminism

Mother’s Day and Radical, Religious Feminism

Today is Mother’s Day. As we we celebrate the women who gave us life, it is worth remembering that Mother’s Day in America is deeply rooted in religion, the labor movement, and feminism. Antonia Blumberg reports on the radical religious roots of Mother’s Day:

The only thing better than the sweet and sentimental Mother’s Day is its radical feminist history steeped in religious values.

The American incarnation of Mother’s Day is the result of years of women’s activism that coincided with other women’s movements — like women’s suffrage and labor movements — around the turn of the 20th century.

In the years leading up to the Civil War, West Virginian Ann Reeves Jarvis began organizing ‘Mothers’ Day Work Clubs’ to help improve health and sanitation through women’s education. Around this time, Boston poet and suffragette Julia Ward Howe also published “A Mother’s Day Proclamation”, which began:

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts,

whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!

Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by

irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking

with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be

taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach

them of charity, mercy and patience.

…From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with

Our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm!

The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”

Blood does not wipe our dishonor,

Nor violence indicate possession.

For the full article, please visit the Huffington Post here.

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Rod Gillis

Thanks for this. Right on target. Folks may also be interested to check out Maureen Dowd’s mothers day column in today’s New York Times. Its a strong opinion piece about the ongoing bullying of Roman Catholic nuns that continues on Pope Francis’ watch. Apparently the good sisters are still under attack by Vatican patriarchs because of, among other things, their feminist theology.

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