By Jonathan Merrit, originally posted at The Atlantic.
An evangelical Christian and avowed feminist argues that God intends every woman to work.
The final episode of Leave it To Beaver aired in June of 1963, but many conservative Christians still promote a vision of womanhood reminiscent of June Cleaver. When Tobin Grant, political-science professor at Southern Illinois University, analyzed General Social Survey data from 2006, he found that nearly half of evangelical Christians agreed with this statement: “It is much better for everyone involved if the man is the achiever outside the home and the woman takes care of the home and family.” Forty-one percent agreed that “a preschool child is likely to suffer if his or her mother works.” For these evangelicals, a woman’s place in the world is to get married, bear children, and support her breadwinning husband.
Katelyn Beaty—the managing editor of Christianity Today, America’s largest evangelical Christian publication—has set out to change this notion of gender. Her new book, A Woman’s Place, claims to reveal “the surprising truth about why God intends every woman to work.” This declaration may surprise many of her magazine’s 80,000 print subscribers and 5 million monthly website visitors. And it may also rouse many of her fellow evangelicals who believe her ideas defy the Bible’s clear teaching, if not qualifying as outright heresy. While Beaty knows criticism may be coming her way, she is making a conservative Christian case for working women.
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