American Backlash

A Texas Christian believes in equality, but feels the pendulum has swung too far

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A revitalized women’s movement won huge gains in employment, education, and legal rights for American women over the past two decades. But the dislocation of traditional families and communities, combined with stagnating wages, has fueled a religious and conservative reaction.

Pattie Skeen, 36, considers her family’s salvation to be one of the most important concerns of her life. Born 14 miles from the Texas town in which she now lives with Ricky, her husband of 17 years, their 12-year-old daughter, and their 9-year-old son, Skeen teaches kindergarten part time at a Christian school. Ricky works for the telephone company as a cable splicer.

PATTIE SKEEN: I was committed to finishing school because of my mother, who didn’t start college until I was in fourth grade. I saw what she went through–she never went to bed before two in the morning, but she kept the family going.

My parents were a wonderful example for marriage, too. Like them, Ricky and I have a happy marriage, with a lot of love and respect. It’s never a question that we will stay together; our commitment to our Lord keeps our commitment to each other. Our children are God’s children–we just get loaned them for a little while. We pray every day that the Lord gives us the wisdom to raise our children.

Men and women are equal in importance–we have wonderful brains that work just as well as men’s. I don’t like it when women are abused or distorted as in pornography. For a long time women were expected to stay in the home; I feel that, as a girl, I didn’t have the opportunities the boys did. Perhaps I just didn’t take advantage of them. But in trying to make up for the past, the pendulum has gone too far in the other direction. Women need to be the caretakers, and they are not always the nurturing people they need to be.

Go to Bhutan . . .

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WE'LL BE BLUNT

It is astonishingly hard keeping a newsroom afloat these days, and we need to raise $253,000 in online donations quickly, by October 7.

The short of it: Last year, we had to cut $1 million from our budget so we could have any chance of breaking even by the time our fiscal year ended in June. And despite a huge rally from so many of you leading up to the deadline, we still came up a bit short on the whole. We can’t let that happen again. We have no wiggle room to begin with, and now we have a hole to dig out of.

Readers also told us to just give it to you straight when we need to ask for your support, and seeing how matter-of-factly explaining our inner workings, our challenges and finances, can bring more of you in has been a real silver lining. So our online membership lead, Brian, lays it all out for you in his personal, insider account (that literally puts his skin in the game!) of how urgent things are right now.

The upshot: Being able to rally $253,000 in donations over these next few weeks is vitally important simply because it is the number that keeps us right on track, helping make sure we don't end up with a bigger gap than can be filled again, helping us avoid any significant (and knowable) cash-flow crunches for now. We used to be more nonchalant about coming up short this time of year, thinking we can make it by the time June rolls around. Not anymore.

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