Opinion

If Jesus were a girl | Amy Johnson

I used to have a T-shirt with a manger scene on the front, and a call out balloon that said: “It’s a girl!” I loved it and wore it so much that it’s pretty much a rag now, but I still keep it in my drawer.

It should come as no surprise to many of you that I come from a long line of social justice advocates. My grandfather, in the 1940s, stood up to a church board member who ran the local YMCA in Minneapolis, in favor of letting my father’s best friend (who happened to be black) swim with him in the pool at the Y. In 1965, my dad, then a pastor, marched from Selma to Montgomery with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., while my mother, my sister and I were whisked away to my grandparents’ house in a nearby state because of threats to our family. Where did we live, you ask? Some Southern town? Nope: a suburb of Chicago.

You can see I was raised to question the status quo, even if that makes people mad. So, it being December and all, with lots of people celebrating Christmas, I got to thinking...what if Jesus had been a girl? What if we all had been worshipping the daughter of God for the last couple of millennia?

I wonder how this hypothetical gender difference might have affected things like how much we pay teachers and nurses and child care workers, not only in money, but in status in our society. If we’d have a different view about family medical leave and WIC. Or if more people would actually surround teen mothers with practical help after they have had their child, instead of abandoning them to the welfare system and then complaining about that, too. After all, the majority of people in poverty in the United States today are women — and even those not in poverty are still make a whopping 77 cents for every dollar made by men (www.nationalpriorities.org). I fantasize about female Jesus storming into the White House, tipping over the desk in the Oval Office and demanding justice.

I play with how many fewer wars there might have been if the reigning hormone in world government were not testosterone. How many less children might be starving in Africa and Third World countries if mothers were revered, supported, worshipped? How many military conflicts might have been replaced with diplomacy and negotiated solutions to disagreements? I wonder if the main concern of politicians at the end of the day on Capitol Hill was whether they’d had enough vegetables and cardio to stay healthy, instead of a three-martini lunch. I wonder if the prevailing mind-set were to share with others instead of compete for a winner.

If the figurehead of Christianity were a woman, I’d like to think there’d be a trickle down effect in leadership and in positions of power, that sexual assault would be given the same zero-tolerance policy as the H1N1 virus, and “domestic” and “violence” would be two words we couldn’t fathom being in the same sentence, let alone an issue for one in every four women in her lifetime (www.ncadv.org). And maybe, just maybe, it wouldn’t have taken the Pope over 2,000 years to condone condom use, if only to protect partners from disease. That broader definition of “Thou shall not kill” might have been embraced sooner in a female brain.

This season, as you "fa la la" and shop till you drop, women will have to settle for channeling Eleanor Roosevelt and embracing the idea that no one can make us feel inferior without our consent. That well-behaved women rarely make history and that any man of quality, such as Jesus, is not threatened by a woman of equality. Because, after all, that’s what the season is all about: Peace on earth, and goodwill to ... all.

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