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Spiritual Morality of Caring Economics vs Separation of Church and State

by Rev. Dr. Karen Tate

Admittedly, my approach to caring economics and partnership might be unique, or in the minority here, as it comes integrated with the added dimension of sacred feminine liberation thealogy, otherwise known as Goddess Spirituality, manifested as deity, archetype and/or ideal.  Since I've embraced Riane's partnership work many years ago and incorporated it within my spiritual teachings I've been surprised no one in all these years has suggested it might be some violation of that sometimes flimsy wall between church and state and at my practicum presentation the subject was gently broached.  An attendee, lamenting the fact feminists more often seem to have divorced their political beliefs and work for social transformation from spirituality, asked if I ever felt uncomfortable publicly connecting the dots between spirituality and politics, feminism and caring economics.  Until now, one of the most awkward questions I'd fielded was "Who are you to speak for Goddess?" to which I gently replied, "Have you questioned the patriarchs, who for thousands of years, have not hesitated to speak of, shall we say, their "divine inspiration?"  That stopped that inquirer in their tracks.   I say that because of the obvious double standards.  Is anyone holding the feet of primarily white Christian men to the fire as they pass legislation, based on their religion, that stifles the constitutional rights of women to control their own reproduction? Or tells people who they can love and marry? Or has caused so many to feel they were an abomination for not conforming?  Sacred Feminine liberation thealogy, on the other hand, is quite the opposite; it is life-affirming and embraces the values of freedom and partnership, not oppression and domination, and unlike the fundamentalist Abrahamic religions, it is not used as a means to control or have power over the masses. Goddess spirituality suggests and encourages equality, justice, wholeness and inter-connection.  Separation of church and state laws would seem more necessary to protect us from zealots who would impose religious conformity, not a spirituality of liberation.

That said, I'll admit, it could be a slippery slope.  Who's to say one day there won't be a Royal Priestess who will tell men they must please their wives in bed or burn in the fires of the Hawaiian Volcano Goddess, Pele, or perhaps risk some sort of community shaming.  Maybe they'll be forced to mutilate their genitals to control their roaming manhood.  All kidding aside, about the separation of church and state, let me share a quote of someone I admire, the scholar Gus diZerega, who said, "A Pagan can no more be a Republican than a Jew can be a Nazi."   I love that quote because I've run into many people who have not done the critical thinking to reconcile their spirituality and politics.  They're all over the place, not perhaps realizing how at odds the two might be.  I've met feminists who believe because they've been oppressed, they're entitled to be the oppressors now and discriminate according to gender.  Or so-called environmentalists or earth-based spirituality practitioners who vote for politicians who sell out Mother Earth to multi-national corporations.  Or support women and men who feel entitled to "put Baby in the corner" and prefer her barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.

To me, laws and government budgets and politics reflect the morality of our society and our morality should be in sync with our spirituality or religion, otherwise there's a cognitive disconnect.   If we have spent our adult feminist lives trying to dissolve the suffering brought on by marginalization or subjugation or opposing the domination and patriarchal values of the status quo or Establishment, I believe Goddess Advocates are obligated to consider if they should be using their Sacred Roar to help rebirth a world where caring economics, equality, peace and partnership are valued as our real wealth, and where the common good and win-win outcomes are always the goal. 

I hope to see the day humans will have nothing to fear from another's traditions, religion, politics or economic values, but obviously we're not there yet, so I support the separation of church and state, but I don't lose any sleep worrying I'm in violation of the First Amendment of the constitution because I reconcile my spiritual liberation thealogy with my caring politics - and suggest my students do the same!


Photos below are from my Earth Day practicum presentation at the Museum of Woman/Goddess Temple of Orange County in Irvine, CA on Sunday, April 17. 2016

About Rev. Dr. Karen Tate.....four-times published author, speaker, sacred tour leader and social justice activist, Karen is the host of the long-running internet radio show, Voices of the Sacred Feminine on Blog Talk.  Named one of the Thirteen Most Influential Women in Goddess Spirituality and a Wisdom Keeper of the Goddess Spirituality Movement, she can be seen in the film produced by actress Sharon Stone and Wonderland Entertainment, Femme: Women Healing the World, alongside her mentor, Riane Eisler.  Karen's book titles include:  Goddess Calling: Inspirational Messages and Meditations of Sacred Feminine Liberation Thealogy, Walking An Ancient Path; Rebirthing Goddess on Planet Earth, Voices of the Sacred Feminine; Conversations to ReShape the World and Sacred Places of Goddess; 108 Destinations.  For more information about talks, tours, radio shows, free meditations, books, interviews and classes go to or check out her Goddess Calling audio book series on YouTube.  She invites inquiries and communication to or say hello on her Karen Tate Facebook Page.

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  • Karen, thank you for this wonderful, thought-provoking post.  I so appreciate your agile mind that is full of such important questions all the time!  You will be remembered by all in the CAP Cardinal cohort for (among other things) your introducing us to the phrase "find your sacred roar."  Your insistence that our political activism can and should be grounded in a deep sense of the sacred and a living connection to the divine feminine is such a gift to us all.  Thank you for your leadership in insisting that the rules for living that we construct for ourselves and our society should be aligned with our highest values and should support all people in living full, meaning-rich lives.

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