Damned, Pleasure-Loving and Devout: Women and Religion

By Pereira, Nancy Cardoso | International Review of Mission, July 1996 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Damned, Pleasure-Loving and Devout: Women and Religion


Pereira, Nancy Cardoso, International Review of Mission


When speaking about the question of religious coexistence in the five hundred years of the Americas, perhaps it is best to start from my own religious identity: I am a Protestant from the Methodist Church.

But, if the intention is to study the Americas, then it is better to start from my own cultural identity and to propose a reflection starting from Latin America, Latin American protestantism.

Another possibility would be to articulate an analysis that grows out of work and of an ecumenical spirituality that is deeply rooted in the popular struggles in the Latin American continent.

However, what I need and want to do is to construct my remarks starting from my identity as a woman. Latin American. Protestant. A feminist position that cuts through and puts into perspective religious and cultural identity and fidelity, creating a theoretical and practical link with the many women's movements in the Americas, reinforcing their popular and ecumenical vocation.

Perhaps it is not the easiest or the most objective perspective to take - there does not yet exist sufficient clarity to illuminate the roots and trajectories of what we are, women in the Americas. Damned, pleasure-loving and devout, it is only in recent times that we have been able to put together our historical and theological memories. I beg to borrow a little of that, which the historians, theologians, poets and sorceresses, witches and militants have been weaving together in these five hundred years, to think about religious coexistence.

Ecumenism in Latin America? Where?

Ecumenism was impossible in the Americas in these five hundred years of invasion, conquest and exploitation. It is not possible to be ecumenical when the structuring movement in the society is one of exclusion.

Exclusion of cultures, the silencing of the sacredness of "the others," massacre of peoples, gestures, rights, prayers, voices. In the whole continent, the African religions and the religions of the indigenous peoples survived massacre through strong resistance, so that, within the limits set by the parameters of Christianity, they continue to worship their gods and goddesses. Syncretism or ecumenism?

An evaluation of the five hundred years of the conquest of the Americas cannot reject or underrate the weight that the religious question has, in a unique way, in the formation of the Latin American identity. Iberian catholicism has molded the continent ideologically and culturally. Without restricting its civilizing influence to the faithful alone, in all truth catholicism provides the regulating matrix of behaviour and attitudes, it is a creator of norms and parameters.

If it is true that catholicism, which was identified with the state, made the arrival of the Protestant missions in the South American continent more difficult, it is also true that protestantism on its arrival here did not offer alternatives that made viable another model for society, the coexistence of Christians and other religions. Distinguished by its origin or out of interest in the expansion of North American missionary models, Latin American protestantism participated in the establishment of a climate of proselytizing and intolerance that characterizes the inter-confessional relationships on the continent.

Other religions established on the continent were forced to act Within a space defined by the influence of the official Catholic hegemony. Also in these cases a class-conscious proselytizing or an ethnic link defined the limits that each group could aim for, so that they became a type of folklore or a tolerable curiosity because they did not question the structures imposed by society.

A single winner, violent liturgy, Christianity in the Americas is confused with the civilizing model of the white, western man. Father, boss, lord, husband. Intransigent and intolerant, Christianity fought and devoured even its own variations and alternatives making dialogue between Christians almost impossible.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Damned, Pleasure-Loving and Devout: Women and Religion
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?