How Easter became a #MeToo moment

A woman, not a man, was the first person to preach an Easter sermon, according to the Bible. A painting shows a resurrected Jesus appearing first to Mary Magdalene.

"But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense."
-- Luke 24:11

The men refused to listen to her story. She was publicly smeared as a whore. And when she emerged as a celebrated advocate, powerful men tried to silence her because she threatened their status.
Nevertheless she persisted.
    The woman we're talking about, though, is not a leader in the #MeToo movement -- the viral campaign raising awareness about sexual assault and harassment against women. She is Mary Magdalene, the first person Jesus appeared to after his resurrection, according to the New Testament, and the first person to preach the good news that he had been raised from the dead.
    Some of the same behavior that led to the #MeToo movement also shaped the Easter story, some scholars say.
    For billions of Christians around the world, Easter Sunday is a celebration of a risen savior. Yet what happened to Mary Magdalene shows that Easter can also be seen as something else -- a #MeToo moment, some pastors and biblical scholars say.
    They say Easter is also a story about how charismatic female leaders such as Mary Magdalene -- and even Jesus himself -- were victimized by some of the same behavior that sparked the #MeToo movement: the sexually predatory behavior of men, the intimidation of women and an orchestrated attempt to silence women who drew too much attention when they spoke up.
    One of the most obvious links between Easter and #MeToo, some say, is the way Mary Magdalene has been slut-shamed.
    She has been falsely portrayed in books and films as a penitent prostitute rather than what she really was, says Claire L. Sahlin: "The foremost witness of the resurrection and a visionary leader of the early Christian movement."
    "The #MeToo movement recognizes that men in authority used their power to sexually abuse women and silence their voices," says Sahlin, an associate dean and professor of multicultural women's and gender studies at Texas Woman's University.
    "Mary Magdalene also was a victim of men in authority who used their power to silence her voice.''
    Mary Magdalene, as played by Anne Bancroft in the film "Jesus of Nazareth," announces the resurrection to the skeptical disciples.
    Is it possible to see the Easter story through the lens of the #MeToo movement, or are some pastors and theologians twisting the central story of Christianity to fit a "feminist ideology"?
    One New Testament scholar captured the tension between interpreting the Bible and seeing it through a modern lens when he wrote about a push to make biblical translations more gender-inclusive.
    "Should we refrain from calling God our Father because some people have had sinful, oppressive fathers?" asked Vern S. Poythress, a professor of New Testament interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania.
    "Should we stop using 'He' to refer to God because some people will think that God is literally of the male sex? If we allow these concessions, will not others enter from the wings, seducing us into an indefinite series of mollifications of the Bible fo