Words matter. Precision with words matters. For a hundred years, great thinkers have warned us not to let our words lose their meaning. We have to guard against mushing together important and distinct ideas. Justice isn't the same as fairness. Wisdom isn't the same as knowledge or understanding. Faith, Hope and Love each mean something important on their own, but they mean something distinct together.
Today, the word "equality" has become a blistered mass of ideas all rammed together into one word. Some of those ideas are good; others aren't. Some are real and possible; others aren't. Some of those ideas are contrary or contradictory to one another. "Equality" means that no one should be preferred to any other either in law or in any human heart. But it also means that those who need extra help should receive it. It also means that we can't point out differences even to identify who needs help. It also means that the difference that we think we see aren't "real." And so on...
Even before equality became a mess of ideas, Christians didn't believe in it! Robert Cardinal Sarah explains, "Soviet Communism showed how possible it was to lead mankind into misery while promising absolute equality. In my country we experienced true hell under Sékou Touré, who claimed to fulfill Marx’s promises with the class struggle. The myth of equality resulted in a bloody dictatorship. God willed that human beings should be complementary so as to aid and support one another mutually. Equality is not God’s creation."
Equality is a cold, mathematical idea. The square root of four equals two. Equality identifies two simple expressions which are actually the same expression in different forms. But as soon as anything becomes even slightly complex, equality fails. Even the simplest human being is infinitely more complicated than even the most complex math.
For human beings, created in the image and likeness of God, equality is at most an intellectual construct. No two people are equal in any way, shape or form. No two people have ever been. No two people ever will be. But, as the good Cardinal points out, God has not created us to be equals - but complements. We are made not to be the same, but to fit together as helpmates. Pope St. John Paul II wrote in his 1995 Letter to Women:
We are then told that, from the very beginning, man has been created "male and female" (Gen 1:27). Scripture itself provides the interpretation of this fact: even though man is surrounded by the innumerable creatures of the created world, he realizes that he is alone (cf. Gen 2:20). God intervenes in order to help him escape from this situation of solitude: "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him" (Gen 2:18). The creation of woman is thus marked from the outset by the principle of help: a help which is not one-sided but mutual. Woman complements man, just as man complements woman: men and women are complementary. Womanhood expresses the "human" as much as manhood does, but in a different and complementary way.
When the Book of Genesis speaks of "help", it is not referring merely to acting, but also to being. Womanhood and manhood are complementary not only from the physical and psychological points of view, but also from the ontological. It is only through the duality of the "masculine" and the "feminine" that the "human" finds full realization.
The golden calf of equality is no use for us as Christians and it's no good for anyone. Equality is at best an illusion and at worst, it's an excuse for the exercise of power of behalf of evil as it has been so often before. Christians would do well to reject outright any and all notions of "equality" in favor of a deeper and more prayerful understanding of the role of "complementarity."