Archive for the ‘Women’s Equality’ Category

mb_dyson_opinion-200x0Losing my Religion for Equality is an excellent article by former president Jimmy Carter, describing why he left the Southern Baptist Convention. I have reposted the article in full and bolded the sections which I have chosen to comment on.

“Women and girls have been discriminated against for too long in a twisted interpretation of the word of God.”

 While it is true that women and girls have been discriminated against on account of biblical teaching, one does not need to do any twisting to find passages of Scripture that are biased against women denying them equal rights. While I agree that the minds of those that want to dominate and control women are twisted, the Bible lends itself readily to their misogynistic whims.

I HAVE been a practicing Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world. So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention’s leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be “subservient” to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.”

The reason men can claim that women are responsible for original sin is because that is what the Bible clearly teaches. The apostle Paul states in 1Tim.2:13&14 that Adam was created first and Eve was the one who was in the transgression, he also states that women are to be subservient to men. The nature of many men in positions of authority is that they will use any opportunity available to them to dominate and control women, but the Bible has been handed to them on a silver platter containing everything they need to justify their control of women, this is because its words were written by men. Read the rest of this entry »

integrity3imagesWomen’s bodies are not a commodity as many patriarchal societies believe, and no man has a right to violate the integrity of her body in any way. Throughout history the value of a woman has been placed upon her sexual purity and it is when men violate her integrity that she becomes devalued. There is no such devaluation for a man, because it is men who have set the standard of a woman’s worth and it is men who created the division of inequality between the genders. The Bible clearly reinforces this practice of division between male and female in all areas of life which reveals its human origins. What starts out in the second chapter of Genesis with male and female being as “one flesh” quickly devolves into the woman being ruled over by the man and becoming his possession, thus setting clear lines of division between the genders and making certain natural functions of a woman’s body considered unclean and shameful. Even in the New Testament Jesus makes it clear to his audience that the best condition for man is to be unmarried (separated from the woman), as does the apostle Paul who confirms the sentiment that it is only good to marry if one cannot contain their sexual desires, but the best way is to remain unmarried as he is. This does nothing but exacerbate the already existing division between male and female, which is also contrary to the idea of unity put forth in Genesis 2. Read the rest of this entry »

2013images

2012 was a tumultuous year of great achievements and horrible tragedies for women. Here are some of its biggest moments: a year in women.

Women are inching ever closer to equality, but the statement made famous back in 1995 by Hillary Clinton: “Woman’s Rights are Human Rights” is still foreign to many men who think that a woman’s place is beneath that of a man and consequently deserve to be abused and denied an education. Globally, 1 in 3 women will be physically or sexually assaulted by men in their lifetime, these statistics are a black mark and a shame on the male gender. The violence against women has a variety of causes, but one thing is clear it needs to STOP! Women make up half the worlds population and give birth to the other half, consequently every male on the planet owes his life to a female, so why the oppression, violation and denial of human rights? There is no simple answer, but the place a solution needs to start is with the education of men. Men should be taught by other men that it is shameful to treat women in an abusive and degrading way, and anything done against another person without their consent is considered a violation of their human rights, even in marriage. There is never, ever any excuse or justification for any man to raise a hand against a woman except in self defense, yet the violence continues and the majority of men who have a voice to speak remain silent. For women to heal, and to thrive in this world, gender based violence must be stopped, and women must have full human rights in all areas of life. A woman’s body belongs to herself and no one has a right to violate it in any way. Read the rest of this entry »

 

As long as a woman regards the Bible as the charter of her rights, she will be the slave of man. The Bible was not written by a woman. Within its leaves there is nothing but humiliation and shame for her.   ~ Robert Ingersoll

 

For far too long women have settled for second best when it comes to rights afforded them in the Bible, because they have been deceived by men. The same lame reasoning and tired excuses are used over and over again, such as “The Bible gives women more rights than they had in other cultures of the same time period”, or “God’s natural order is for men to be the leaders”. These and countless other worn out justifications used by men to deny women their equal human rights, need to be rejected and exposed for what they are…constructions made from the minds of men who want to control women. It’s time for the women of the world to know that they are indeed entitled to the same human rights as men and to stand up for those rights, regardless of what an ancient book like the Bible says. The first place to start is by taking a second look at the masculine nature of the biblical god. Read the rest of this entry »

All history attests that man has subjected

Woman to his will, used her as a means to

Promote his selfish gratification, to

Minister to his sensual pleasures, to be

Instrumental in promoting his comfort; but never

Has he desired to elevate her to that rank she was created to fill.

He has done all he could

To debase and enslave her mind;

And now he looks triumphantly on the ruin

He has wrought, and say, the being he has

Thus deeply injured is his inferior” ~ A.K.

 

 

There is no excuse that will ever justify the status that the Bible has placed upon women of being denied equality with men. No matter how much good people say the Bible has done to elevate women’s roles from those of non-Christian nations, and supposedly how much better they are treated than their non-biblical counterparts, women are still relegated to “second place” in Scripture. It’s on par with saying “it’s okay to have slaves as long as they are treated well”…I say: NO it’s not okay to own another human being no matter how well they are treated by their masters.

 

If the Constitution of the United States, written by men has contained within its declarations that “All men are created equal” (which I know had to be worked out to get into men’s heads that the words All Men meant both men and women), I see no reason why a book that is supposed to be inspired by God, could not have had within it pages an equally powerful statement. Instead what do we find at its very beginning? A decree from its god that men are to rule over women…Gen.3:16 “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”, that tells me that the founders of this country had much higher standards than what was attributed to the biblegod.

 

The harm that has befallen women because of the license that the Bible has given men to dominate them and own them as property is beyond measure. History would have taken an entirely different course if men and women could have stood side by side as partners developing ideas that would shape a common future. Instead of allowing women to choose their own path and make their own choices, the Bible gives men the right and free reign in running women’s lives and since it tells men exactly what they want to hear in terms of having power and control they adamantly say it must be from god. An old Chinese proverb says that “Women hold up half the sky”, it is time that the female gender rightfully take their place as equals beside men, and that men acknowledge a woman’s rightful place as their equal in all areas of life.

 

“The truth is male religious leaders have had, – and still have –  an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the later. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world”  ~ Jimmy Carter

Throughout the Gospels it is written that Jesus speaks out against the way religious leaders were interpreting many of the Old Testament laws that were given to the Jews by their god Yahweh, so why didn’t he also speak out against the inequality of women that was also written in the law? For example when the Jews sought to stone the woman caught in adultery they were carrying out the law given to Moses by Yahweh; instead of rebuking those who were carrying out the law, Jesus should have condemned the law itself and rebuked his father who gave it. Jesus could have said: this woman is of equal value to a man, so why is not the man here also to be stoned? If Jesus would have set a precedent by speaking up and declaring that women are of equal value to men and deserve equal human rights, he could have changed the course of history with respect to women. Never in all of his words did Jesus ever resend one law with respect to women, nor did he ever condemn one atrocity against women commanded by Yahweh whom he called his father. Under the Law of Moses a man could condemn a woman to a death by stoning if she could not prove her virginity upon marriage, was any such law written for men…of course not…did Jesus ever mention that? No.

 

For all the magnificent words spoken by Jesus about his love for humanity, he failed miserably when it came to promoting equal human rights for women. Because of his negligence in regards to women’s rights, the apostle Paul also refused to speak up for equality of women, and instead reaffirmed the secondary position of women being in subjugation to men and considered property…this in turn has led to the continued discrimination against women in the Christian church up until today. Just imagine what could have been accomplished by a few positive words on the equality of women spoken by Jesus? It wouldn’t have taken two thousand years for women to gain equal rights, with no thanks given to the authors of the Bible. Not only was the status of women as property upheld by Jesus, but also the legitimacy of slavery was endorsed by him which leads to the inevitable conclusion that the god Jesus called his father did not believe in human equality.

Many Christians hold the teachings of Jesus to be of the highest value in promoting human rights and equality. I also fell into that category when I was a Christian, but upon closer scrutiny I now see that many of the teachings of Jesus have led to needless suffering. For example, the teaching of Jesus which says anyone who divorces and remarries is guilty of adultery, has caused untold suffering especially for women. Not only does it keep a woman locked into an abusive marriage, but if she is divorced (which under Jewish law men could do at will) she can never remarry.

 

Luke 16:18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.

 

The Old Testament law was bad enough considering a man could divorce his wife at will, but at least she could remarry if her husband divorced her. Under the New Testament law proclaimed by Jesus, if a woman is divorced by her husband she is locked into remaining single for the rest of her life, or until her husband dies if she does not want to be accused of adultery. Even though this teaching also applies to men, it is much more harmful to women because according to the Bible women are to be in subjection to men, who in turn deny women equal opportunities to support themselves. Also, since men are deemed by god to rule over women, they can take away her children leaving the woman completely alone. So, in many ways the New Testament teaching on marriage has elevated the hardships women have to endure instead of decreasing them.

Like half the population I was born female, with the same desires to learn and grow to my full potential as my male counterparts. Why is it then that so many religious men believe that the intelligent mind that created the universe is a male god who chose to create the female of the species explicitly to be ruled over and subject to the capricious whims of men? Many Christians believe that the plan of God from the beginning was to set up a hierarchical order which places the man in complete control and ownership of the lives of half the population. Supposedly these men have nowhere near the intelligence of their god, yet this god chose to cater to their more aggressive and dominating nature by handing over to them the well being of the female gender, which is on par with a parent giving their young son complete rule and authority over his sister. Men, who don’t give a second thought about fulfilling their own desires, somehow feel that women who have those same desires should be denied them according to “the man’s discretion.”

 

The vast majority of the 2 billion plus Christians on the planet today would say that slavery is wrong, even though it was condoned in the Old Testament; the same goes for stoning people for adultery which was commanded by God, yet somehow the subjugation of women still persists in the minds of fundamentalist men today as being part of the biblegod’s order. Many Christian men, who would reject slavery and stoning outright, see no problem whatsoever with depriving women of equal human rights. It makes a rational person wonder if these men aren’t just picking and choosing those things which they can get away with. The Old and New Testaments are fraught with human rights violations that are condemned by most modern Christians, yet there is no such condemnation of the secondary status that many women continue to be subjected to in the Church. It is time for Christians to open their eyes to the great disparity that is being taught, and call it what it is – “A human rights violation.”

Here is a list of the Declaration of Sentiments composed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, as presented at the first women’s rights convention at Seneca Falls, NY. If one looks over these statements carefully it can be concluded that these “denied rights” are for the most part drawn directly from the Bible.

 

  • He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise.
  • He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she had no voice.
  • He has withheld from her rights which are given to the most ignorant and degraded men – both natives and foreigners.
  • Having deprived her of this first right as a citizen, the elective franchise, thereby leaving her without representation in the halls of legislation, he has oppressed her on all sides.
  • He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead.
  • He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she earns.
  • He has made her morally, an irresponsible being, as she can commit many crimes with impunity, provided they be done in the presence of her husband. In the covenant of marriage, she is compelled to promise obedience to her husband, he becoming, to all intents and purposes, her master – the law giving him power to deprive her of her liberty, and to administer chastisement.
  • He has so framed the laws of divorce, as to what shall be the proper causes of divorce, in case of separation, to whom the guardianship of the children shall be given; as to be wholly regardless of the happiness of the women – the law, in all cases, going upon a false supposition of the supremacy of a man, and giving all power into his hands.
  • After depriving her of all rights as a married woman, if single and the owner of property, he has taxed her to support a government which recognizes her only when her property can be made profitable to it.
  • He has monopolized nearly all the profitable employments, and from those she is permitted to follow, she receives but a scanty remuneration.
  • He closes against her all the avenues to wealth and distinction, which he considers most honorable to himself. As a teacher of theology, medicine, or law, she is not known.
  • He has denied her the facilities for obtaining a thorough education – all colleges being closed against her.
  • He allows her in church, as well as State, but a subordinate position, claiming Apostolic authority for her exclusion from the ministry, and, with some exceptions, from any public participation in the affairs of the Church.
  • He has created a false public sentiment by giving to the world a different code of morals for men and women, by which moral delinquencies which exclude women from society, are not only tolerated but deemed of little account in man.
  • He has usurped the prerogative of Jehovah himself, claiming it as his right to assign for her a sphere of action, when that belongs to her conscience and her God.
  • He has endeavored, in every way that he could to destroy her confidence in her own powers, to lessen her self-respect, and to make her willing to lead a dependent and abject life.

 

The Bibles promotion of sexism is one of histories greatest long term injustices, which has caused untold suffering for women at the hands of men who believed they were carrying out the will of the biblegod.

Excellent talk on TED by Sheryl WuDunn author of Half the Sky. Our century’s greatest injustice is the discrimination of women by men! It’s time men stop abusing their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters and realize women are humans deserving equal rights just like them.

 

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