All WOMen Created Equal

Monday, April 01, 2013

Our fellow kegger Streak has, when he's not posting about gun culture and getting in fights with Steve, done some posts about conservatism, religion, and modern religious "values" that run counter to what we common chaff perceive as, well, religious values.

In that vein, and because the legislature is on Spring Break and I finally have time to write things, I offer the following post written by Jimmy Carter: Losing my religion for equality; Women and girls have been discriminated against for too long in a twisted interpretation of the word of God.

In it, Carter makes the case that he eventually left the Southern Baptist Convention after it "carefully selected  Bible verses" that women must be subservient to their husbands and are thus prohibited from certain roles or professions.  I'm a sucker for Carter, so no surprise I was a fan of this post.  Before I start my list of favorite quotes from his post, I want to put this in a bit of context for why, other than to scream "I AGREE," I am taking up valuable blog space with a post like this.

IMO, the point isn't that Carter "left" his religion by resigning the Conference; in fact, I believe Carter still believes quite strongly.  It never makes me dance a merry jig when someone's faith collapses or they are forced to "leave" a certain sect because they tire of its oppressiveness or backwards-looking philosophy. I "left" my faith long, long ago, if it can be said "never really having it" is a form of "leaving," so I no longer need to see other people losing faith to justify my own departure anymore.  I'll not dance on the Southern Baptist Convention's eventual grave, nor will I rejoice in Carter's obvious pain in having to leave behind and organization that he thought had done so much good for so many decades.

For me, the value of Carter's statement here is more about an increasing number of people not only recognizing that their faith is starting to grow incongruous with its own actual perported value system, but also doing something about it.  It is having the guts, really, to look an entire institution in the face and say "you're wrong."  It's to believe strongly enough in the freedom that life or religion are supposed to celebrate to recognize when cultural leaders have finally gone astray.

So no, it's not that Carter resigned anything.  It's that he needs to send a powerful message to the powers-that-be that they are no longer in-touch with the tenets of their own myths.  And instead of grumbling or hoping it gets better, he, a former President Of The Most Powerful Country On Earth, vocally severed ties.  That's powerful.


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. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.

The same discriminatory thinking lies behind the continuing gender gap in pay and why there are still so few women in office in the West. The root of this prejudice lies deep in our histories, but its impact is felt every day. It is not women and girls alone who suffer. It damages all of us....It is simply self-defeating for any community to discriminate against half its population. We need to challenge these self-serving and outdated attitudes and practices - as we are seeing in Iran where women are at the forefront of the battle for democracy and freedom.

In Iran, fellow keggers, against an oppressive regime, where they can be killed, women want freedom and are willing to stand up.  We're not Iran.  Nobody has anything to fear here but the scorn of the witch doctors.

And my favorite zinger:  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.

"And the timid acquiesence to oppressive rulers."  Poetry.  And that is what, but resigning and forming a new group and publishing his thoughts, Carter has rejected:  timid acquiesence.  Respect.


Streak 1:04 PM  

As I said in my post on Gun culture....

Just kidding. Great post, and I love that Jimmy is standing up to this form of patriarchy.

Bob 7:04 PM  

Well done Smitty, and good article by Carter.

I also liked this:
"The Elders are an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together by former South African president Nelson Mandela, who offer their influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and...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."

How many people imbedded in their church, especially those of Carter's generation, are willing to think for themselves and challenge authority?

The link of religion and politics has caused a great divide in this country, but unexpectedly seems to be doing great damage to religious institutions too. The young may be keeping their faith, but are rejecting the message of the ignorant guy at the front of the church, who insults and condemns their friends.

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