MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It’s Friday the 24th of November, 2023. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Myrna Brown.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.

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It’s Culture Friday.

And joining us now is Katie McCoy. She’s an author and speaker. Her latest book is titled To Be a Woman. Good morning, Katie!

KATIE MCCOY: Great to be with you, Nick and Myrna.

EICHER: Well, here we are. It’s the day after Thanksgiving and Katie, I hope you were able to enjoy a little time and just give you a quick opportunity to say what you were thankful for this year.

MCCOY: It was great. It was good to be with my family. I’m always thankful for them. And then I’m very thankful for pie. Because let me tell you, I don’t think I have ever made so many pies in one year as 2023.

EICHER: I love pie. How about you? Myrna do you love pie?

BROWN: I do but Katie you you gotta be more specific here. Okay. Sweet potato, or pumpkin?

MCCOY: Oh, I have not ventured making sweet potato pie. But I do love pumpkin pie. And then I think my all time favorite is chocolate pecan.

EICHER: Mmmm, yeah. Pie and a long, long walk that is futile. Futile, but it seems like you’re at least making the effort, right?

BROWN: That’s right. Well, Katie, I want to call your attention to a growing number of young progressive Western women converting to Islam. The impetus for this disturbing trend is the Israel Hamas war. Let’s listen to one woman in particular, her so-called journey.

TIKTOK USER: It just seems that Palestinians have this iron clad faith, even in the face of losing quite literally everything and people were commenting underneath saying, Well, yeah, girl, that’s Islam. Have you read the Quran? You should probably read the Quran. Like there is no once upon a time. Here is no in the beginning. There is none of that. It was like alright, if you do this, then this happens if you do, like it gets straight into it. I found some things very interesting. Like first it said, oppression is worse than murder. And I was like, that’s a word.

29,000 comments from that one post Katie, I scroll down, one after the other, affirming that young woman’s post. What do you make of this?

MCCOY: Myrna, we’ve been doing these for a while now for a few years. And I have to tell you, this is quite possibly the most mind blowing story that I think I’ve discussed here. When I listened to that clip, there were a few things that stood out. First, this young woman notes that oppressor and oppressed dynamic. The nation of Israel is considered an oppressor. You’ll hear that they’re colonizers, some people perceive them to be white. This is a capitalist society. Interestingly, it’s a secular society, though it’s a place where LGBTQ rights are considered the most liberal than anywhere in the Middle East. So it’s a secular society, but then shift to what this woman is saying. And she’s identifying with that almost in a reaction to Israel. She is wanting to affirm an Islamic faith. And I can’t help but think that she did not read the fine print on what Islamic faith says about women. Let me just give you a few things even in recent history, and then get into some of its teaching. You look at the shift in women’s rights and education just in Afghanistan since the US military withdrew. Within about a year, girls could no longer attend school, a look up before and after photos of women in Iran following the revolution of 1979. And note, the incredible stricture that they were under, go look at Islamic law, Sharia law and how that treats women things like honor killings, and these honor killings are happening in Muslim communities. Even in Western countries like the United Kingdom. Sharia law stipulates that a young woman can be executed if she is raped, because by being raped, she has allegedly brought dishonor on her family and they punish her. Some Muslim cultures practice child marriage, other Muslim cultures practice female genital mutilation as a way to control women’s sexuality. And then in many Muslim cultures, women have to have the permission of a male guardian in order just to travel. Now, I want to find a glimmer of light here, Myrna I really do and so here’s the one thing that I think we could say is a glimmer of hope. I think this shows the failure of secularism to provide a sense of identity, belonging and purpose. In our very hyper individualized culture, we still have this impulse to belong to something that is bigger than who we are. For the last decade or so we found that in identity politics and Mary Eberstadt writes about this in her book, Primal Screams, that, that identity politics has replaced family. And then also we’ve seen not only the decline of family, but the decline of religion and religious influence. And secularism is not cutting it. People are still looking for some type of idea or organizing principle outside of themselves by which they can live and order their lives. And you know, in a very different way, it reminds me of this real influx among Millennials and Gen Z to be attracted to more liturgical expressions of even Christianity. They are wanting that high church. Why? Because religion and religious identity is identity forming, it gives us that sense of belonging. I think this is an opportunity for us as Christians to talk about the identity, the purpose, the belonging, the mission, that we offer the world when we are presenting Christ.

EICHER: I am sure that you follow the story of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. And it’s interesting, I thought of her as you were talking there about the failure of secularism because she started out as Islamic, she became an atheist. And now in her own way, as I guess, starting to at least speak favorably of the Christian religion. How do you analyze that in light of all of this?

MCCOY: Yeah, in fact, she’s apparently professing to be a Christian herself. It’s an interesting thing when she talks about her journey of faith here, because it’s almost like she’s looking at it from cultural to individual. And I pray if she hasn’t already, that she will come to those individual realizations of who Jesus is. But she talks about the Christian faith in terms of its contribution to culture. And she’s able to contrast it with other religious influences, whether that is Islam or secularism and see that Christianity offers people a more compelling vision, a counter truth to the secularism that we see today. And really fascinating is how the West owes so much of its value of the individual to the Christian faith. In fact, there are a religious scholars who have talked about how the West sort of poached off of Christianity, its value of the individual. That was not something that the Greco-Roman world gave us, this value of people no matter what their socio economic status, or their gender, or their ethnicity, that is something that the West receive from the influence of Christianity. And so everything that Ms. Ali is saying is accurate. And I hope that she continues on this journey of faith.

BROWN: So Ali is speaking out against this, but there’s crickets when it comes to those favoring the you know, the #MeToo Movement, other prominent Western feminists all silent. What do you think about that, Katie?

MCCOY: Oh, yes, because when we look at so many of these social movements, part of why they fall so short in meeting the moment that we’re in today is I don’t think we could say that they were are anchored in any kind of transcendent truth. Certainly everything that the #MeToo Movement was identifying was anchored at least in a claim of right or wrong, but the trajectory of where it took us where we had to go to create a just and fair society. When you’re left with only secular claims, and no transcendent truths to anchor those claims in, you’re still devolving everything in terms of these power dynamics that we see today. And so that’s part of why the nation of Israel when people in this power dynamic framework, look at it and put it in that oppressor class. It doesn’t really matter how they are treated, how they are oppressed. It doesn’t matter that Jewish women are horribly mutilated and raped because they belong to this oppressor class in this power dynamic. And it really demonstrates that apart from a justice keeping God we really don’t have any claim or framework to anchor justice in.

BROWN: Author and speaker Katie McCoy. Her newest book is titled To Be a Woman. Katie, thank you.

MCCOY: Always good to be with you.

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