Thursday, July 23, 2009

President Carter courageously "sever[s]...ties with the Southern Baptist Convention" over women's rights

President Carter is joining onto the new enlightenment that I hope continues.  Gay rights awareness, a black president, women in high positions in government, increasing numbers of those unaffiliated with any religion, etc.

I ask again why any self-respecting woman would associate herself with such misogynistic organizations as these religions who have nothing but contempt for them?  Even Catholicism which subjugates women to inferior roles within the clergy should have scorn heaped upon it.  Although there are far worse religions that still even have the marriage vow where the woman pledges to obey her husband (but of course it's not bidirectional...)

I'll also point out that it wasn't until the late 1970s when rape by your own spouse was considered a crime. (thank you Law & Order for pointing out this sad fact).  It actually took longer for this to be recognized in all states.  Most of the 'bible belt' states held onto some notion of exempting spouses from such laws.  Oh, and it should be pointed out that the much-touted Ten Commandments don't say anything about rape but do say lots of other things like boiling goats in their mother's milk which we all know is much more heinous.

These are the best quotes from the article (my emphasis added).  Enough said.

Losing my religion for equality |
This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women's equal rights across the world for centuries.

At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime.

We have decided to draw particular attention to the responsibility of religious and traditional leaders in ensuring equality and human rights and have recently published a statement that declares: "The justification of discrimination against women and girls on grounds of religion or tradition, as if it were prescribed by a Higher Authority, is unacceptable."


The carefully selected verses found in the Holy Scriptures to justify the superiority of men owe more to time and place - and the determination of male leaders to hold onto their influence - than eternal truths. Similar biblical excerpts could be found to support the approval of slavery and the timid acquiescence to oppressive rulers.


It wasn't until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy.

The truth is that 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 latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions - all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views.

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