The Lilith Fair

"Macho is out," announced the cover of a recent Time magazine. "Empathy is in." Time was referring to the Lilith Fair, an all-female music festival that sold out in stadiums across the country this summer. The Lilith Fair featured a rotating line-up of 61 female artists. It presented itself as the softer, feminist alternative to the machismo of all-male rock tours. But in choosing the name Lilith Fair, the festival’s organizers revealed more than they may have intended about the spirit that lies behind contemporary feminism. At first blush, the Lilith Fair came across as a folksy brand of feminism. Audiences consisted of grungy teenagers and breast-feeding mothers who sat side-by-side with lesbian couples. "The tour [wasn’t] a soapbox for extremist feminism," said Sarah McLachlan, the tour’s organizer. "It [was] simply a celebration of women’s music." But according to Time magazine, the festival’s opening show in Washington State featured "condom giveaways and information booths on issues like… reproductive rights"—front-line feminist issues. Which is completely consistent with the symbolism suggested by the name "Lilith." According to the cabala, a collection of occultic, mystical Jewish legends, Lilith was Adam’s first wife, created not from his rib, but out of the ground, just as he was. According to legend, Lilith rebelled against the constraints of marriage and deserted Adam. Time magazine says the band organizer "drew inspiration from [this] proto-feminist Hebrew legend." But do feminists realize the full symbolism of the Lilith legend? In her book Introduction to the Old Testament, Marina D’Angelo explains that after deserting Adam, Lilith became a succubus, a seductive demon dedicated to seducing men as they lay sleeping. The legend also portrays Lilith as murdering and devouring infant children. It’s no surprise that the organizer of the Lilith Fair downplayed this side of the Lilith legend. Sarah McLachlan told The Boston Herald that she merely wanted to stress the legend’s equality theme. And no wonder: The idea of Lilith as a demon murderer of infants might make for some bad press. And yet feminists can’t have one without the other. Lilith is just a myth, of course. But it embodies a real truth. The ugly side of the Lilith legend is a logical outcome of her rebellion against God’s order. Marriage and family are institutions created by God for our good and for a harmonious social order. If we reject those God-given institutions, we disrupt social harmony, creating chaos and hostility. If we destroy marriage, we destroy families, and put the motivation in place for abortion. The lesson for Christians is that we need to press people to the logical conclusions of their position. And if you accept the radical feminist’s premise that women’s interests lie in smashing institutions like marriage and family, we’re going to reap social chaos. And that’s nothing to sing about.


Chuck Colson


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