Faith-based feminists (male, female, and non-binary) in my feed (and you can share this if you want to):
I've been thinking about this People of Praise cult. And yes, I'm going to call it a cult and people who don't like it can die mad about my calling it a cult. But keep your pants on.
I don't think People of Praise inspired Handmaid's Tale - exactly. Probably some elements. PoP IS a Christian cult. Atwood didn't have to copy PoP to choose some version of Christian cult, write a work of fiction about it, and have people find it hitting too close to home.
I DO think that feminists could infiltrate this cult and turn it into a feminist-empowered organization. PoP members claim that they used to call women Handmaids in deference to Mary, Mother of Jesus. Mary said, and I'm paraphrasing (from memory, not citing any particular Bible translation) here, "I am the Handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you say." However, Mary, Mother of Jesus, who was married to Joseph, did not consummate her marriage with her husband in order to conceive Jesus.
So if I were a male PoP, of course I would pervert the Bible (using the Apostle Paul, because that's the only Biblical account that supports rampant sexism) so my wife would have sex with me and I would be her master. But Paul's teachings are bogus because Mary didn't offer to be handmaid to Joseph. She promised to be handmaid to God. So let the immaculate conceptions commence.
Men/husbands are absolutely unnecessary for conception, and if honored with adoptive fatherhood of a woman's offspring, should honor and revere that woman and child as Joseph did Mary and Jesus.
Look to your Bibles, Christians. Does Joseph EVER contradict Mary in public? Does he EVER command her to act in any kind of way? In fact, Joseph is never even quoted in the Bible. He honors and supports a woman who is pregnant not by him, and helps raise the child in spite of not being that child's biological parent. Take that, Apostle Paul. Take that, Patriarchal Christian cultists. We need feminism much more than we need you. We need supportive men like Joseph, who are present but in the background of history. Who support women who make history.
Feminists -- male and female and non-binary: We need more Josephs. And the only way to get them is the raise them, to marry them, and to be them. Accept no lesser men. Or accept the men, but reject any and every bad behavior. As a spouse, do not tolerate bad (abusive) behavior from your husband, partner, or male-presenting child. As a man in a position of patriarchal privilege, call out bad behavior of other men, from sexist jokes to verbal putdowns to physical abuse and abandonment. Mary is outspoken, by conservative standards, on multiple occasions. Paul was misguided to declare that women should submit. We don't know his motives and they don't matter here. Paul should have been looking to Mary for guidance. Feminists, we can correct this mistake.
I personally cannot don the mantle of Christianity. Can't do it as a recovering Catholic. Won't do it as a Protestant. I am a believer in a Divine and also in the Divine as reflected in every thing and every one I see around me (with a few exceptions of free will run amok). I am in loving relationships with Atheists and Pagans and Jews and Muslims and Hindus. With people who refuse to put definitions and limitations on the Infinite. Only one group has reached levels of hypocrisy antithetical to the supposed teachings revealed by the holy books and the presumed Savior of the faith. I am aware that Christianity is not one gnarled tree growing bent and broken in rocky soil. It is splinters of the Trees of Life and Knowledge, bombed by greed, abuse, avarice, and other vices of corrupting power, sometimes joining together briefly with other splinters in pursuit of more power.
Normally, I advocate for strict separation of Church and State, but this is not a normal time. Churches have pushed our State too far and done too little to help the vulnerable. So if you believe in your faith, take up this mantle. Infiltrate the cults of Patriarchy with the convictions bestowed on you by God. Take back your faith from the grips of the cultists. Do it in the name of God, and do it to protect the most vulnerable of God's people.