On the passing of Coretta Scott King, I am reminded of a routine that Damon Wayans did, talking about how much he loves his wife for supporting him. (I will now attempt to remember/paraphrase the routine below.)
Men, we would not be anywhere without our wives. "Behind every great man is a great woman," is the God’s honest truth. I mean, think about Martin Luther King, Jr. Do you think he would have been able to do even half of what he did, if Coretta was a nag, picking at him as soon as he got home? She’d be like, "You think you’re going out marching again tonight? I don’t *think* so. You’re staying home tonight and feedin’ the kids – me and my girlfriends are goin’ out dancin’. Mister ‘I-have-a-dream,’… how about ‘I have a JOB’!?!"
I think it is ironic that the same people that are all for civil rights for minorities and women can’t seem to understand that perhaps the greatest thing Coretta Scott King did in her life was while Martin Luther King, Jr. was doing his greatest work – she was holding down the fort and lifting up her husband, with words of prayer and words of praise and support. "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him." (Gen 2:18)
The sad truth is that even after the so-called "sexual revolution" and "feminist revolution", being a housewife is still a mostly thankless task. The difference seems to be that now it is underrated by both men and women.
Some interesting quotes have comes out of the feminist movement, both the first (early 20th century) and second (late 20th century) waves. From the first wave, Dorothy Day had to admit that, "… without even looking into the claims of the Catholic Church, I was willing to admit that for me she was the one true Church. She had come down through the centuries since the time of Peter, and far from being dead, she claimed and held the allegiance of the masses of people in all the cities where I had lived." The truth of Catholicism called to her, and it meant she had to choose between the Church and her live-in boyfriend, with whom she’d had a child – she chose Baptism for herself and her daughter, and separation from her boyfriend as well as all of her other atheist friends.
The one that I think is most to the point of feminism comes from Margaret Atwood, who is a novelist and poet from the second wave of feminism (she wrote The Edible Woman and The Handmaid’s Tale). She said, "If I were going to convert to any religion I would probably choose Catholicism because it at least has female saints and the Virgin Mary."
It is surprising just how many feminists want to embrace the New Age movement, just because it has mother goddesses and female deities. However, to quote Dale O’Leary from EWTN, "but these goddess religions were hardly pro-woman. Their rituals included male and female temple prostitution and the sacrifice of living children. These societies accepted polygamy and the mistreatment of women."
In the history of religion, there has probably been no greater champion for the rights of women, nor a greater promoter of women, than the Catholic Church. However, because the Church balks at claims of women being equal to men (a simple biological comparison denies this) and its refusal to ordain women to the priesthood, the Catholic Church is automatically assumed to be a "boy’s club" – bigoted, repressive of women, and bent on keeping women subservient to men. A cursory examination of Church history clearly shows this not to be the case. In fact, the major regression in the roles of women occurred with the Protestant Reformation, when new property laws were written that stated that women’s property automatically become their husbands’ when they married. Before the Reformation, women in a Catholic England owned property. (This is just one example among many.)
The Catholic understanding of marriage is that women have dignity and status with their husbands as complementary partners. Equals do not complement each other well, because there is no real sharing of the gifts of one for the benefit of the other – they both possess the same. But in the Christian understanding of gender roles, both sexes have strengths and weaknesses that are complemented by the other – quite opposite of the notion that "a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle." (Irina Dunn, not Gloria Steinem, was the first to say this.)
I am sure that Coretta Scott King would agree that her role in the civil rights movement was best compared to the Church and Mary than to any modern feminist ideal. After all, with her support, her nurturing, and her advice, Martin Luther King, Jr. became the voice, minister, and martyr of a movement. And after her beloved’s death, she still carried on his mission, correcting and scolding some, while championing his legacy. Now, who else in history does that sound like? Does it sound more like the National Organization of Women, or does it sound more like the Blessed Virgin Mary and Holy Mother Church?
May God bless Mr. and Mrs. King, together in eternity. And let us pray for their souls, for their quick release from any cleansing in Purgatory for whatever human failings they may have had.