In my wanderings through all of the posts on Facebook, I was surprised to discover an article written by former President Jimmy Carter in which he states that after 60 years he gave up his membership in the Southern Baptist Convention.
He stated that it was, “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 chaplain in the military service.”
Since I saw this on Facebook I looked for supportive evidence and found a Huffington Post blog that reinforced this article. I didn’t want to fall victim to “fake news.”
Carter expanded upon this by stating that this position “excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation, and national laws that omit rape.”
It also costs women control over their own bodies and continues to deny fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities. As an example, I read two interchanges on Twitter involving the singer/songwriter Margo Price. In one she was scolded for expressing a political position by a male writer and a second where she was referred to as a female musician rather than a musician implying that female musicians were something not as important as male.
According to Carter and to authors Walsh, Teo, and Baydala women participated more fully in religion but were marginalized in the fourth century by religious leaders, all men, who distorted scripture to continue their ascendant positions in the church hierarchy. The standard Christian view was that women possessed a greater potential for evil and a lesser potential for spiritual growth. In this view, women were created for the propagation of the species. In the fifteenth century a treatise was written on witches suggesting that women were more inclined toward witchcraft because of inferior mental and spiritual capacities.
This same thinking lies behind the continuing gender gap in pay and why so few women hold political office in the West According to Carter that investing in women and girls delivers benefits for society in that educated women have healthier children and are more likely to send them to school. When a woman earns more she invests what she earns in her family.
During my lifetime, I have witnessed many changes in the relationship between men and women in the United States. As an undergraduate, I survived the women’s liberation movement.
Later, I witnessed changes in athletics where women’s athletics were moved from a separate women’s association to acceptance in the NCAA and reinforcement from the federal government through Title 9 that women should be given equal access to athletic opportunities. In both of these situations, many of my colleagues claimed that we were witnessing the end of time. I can only see that good things have happened because of these events.
When I was in high school tennis and golf were the only sports available to women, now the Corpus Christi ISD offers a full slate of sports for women.
In some cases, I feel that all of us can suffer through discrimination against women. As a psychology professor, I am in a field that is dominated by women and possibly that is the reason that salaries are lower in psychology and related areas as compared to other disciplines. Therefore, it is possible that males can be financially hurt by discrimination against women.
Finally Carter suggested that the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses, the prophets, Muhammad, the Buddha, and other religious leaders have called for the proper and equitable treatment of the children of God.
I believe as a society that we should work to bring about the changes necessary to produce “proper and equitable treatment.”
Bob Newby is an educator and Erath County resident. He is a member of the E-T's community columnists and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.