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Losing my religion for equality

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Losing my religion for equality…by Jimmy Carter

25 January 2013 354,356 views 31 Comments

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

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.

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. 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 impact of these religious beliefs touches every aspect of our lives. They help explain why in many countries boys are educated before girls; why girls are told when and whom they must marry; and why many face enormous and unacceptable risks in pregnancy and childbirth because their basic health needs are not met.

In some Islamic nations, women are restricted in their movements, punished for permitting the exposure of an arm or ankle, deprived of education, prohibited from driving a car or competing with men for a job. If a woman is raped, she is often most severely punished as the guilty party in the crime.

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. The evidence shows that investing in women and girls delivers major benefits for society. An educated woman has healthier children. She is more likely to send them to school. She earns more and invests what she earns in her family.

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.

I understand, however, why many political leaders can be reluctant about stepping into this minefield. Religion, and tradition, are powerful and sensitive areas to challenge. But my fellow Elders and I, who come from many faiths and backgrounds, no longer need to worry about winning votes or avoiding controversy - and we are deeply committed to challenging injustice wherever we see it.

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 promote the shared interests of humanity. 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.”

We are calling on all leaders to challenge and change the harmful teachings and practices, no matter how ingrained, which justify discrimination against women. We ask, in particular, that leaders of all religions have the courage to acknowledge and emphasise the positive messages of dignity and equality that all the world’s major faiths share.

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.

I am also familiar with vivid descriptions in the same Scriptures in which women are revered as pre-eminent leaders. During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets. 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.

OBSERVER

by on Apr. 1, 2013 at 8:39 AM
Replies (21-30):
lga1965
by on Apr. 1, 2013 at 10:15 AM
Duhhhhhh........" Fake church"?
You really are a complete failure at being a decent human being.
You don't even understand the concept. What a pity.


Quoting Billiejeens:

 


I appreciate your honest example.


This is the phenomenon that I have described before - this is a fake church.


Quoting Aslen:


I'm a proud memeber of the Christian LEFT. Haven't lost my faith (but I don't base it on a book) and believe in equality.  I love being Episcopalian. We have openly gay priests and bishops, and there is no doubt in my mind that WHEN marriage equality becomes legal, my church will have no problem performing same sex weddings. :) 


I think, so many people think Christian=judgemental fundie who wouldn't know their ass from a hole in the ground. That simply isn't true




 

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Billiejeens
by Gold Member on Apr. 1, 2013 at 10:19 AM
2 moms liked this

 

Well, there is no "Christian Left" she says her religion isn't based on a "book" just equality.

It's a - we are all for equality social club - 

It may be a wonderful  club, it's no church.

Quoting Healthystart30:

Quoting Billiejeens:




A fake church? So only churches that spread hate and ignorance are real churches?


 

candlegal
by Judy on Apr. 1, 2013 at 10:21 AM
2 moms liked this

There is a difference between being a Church and being just a building where people gather.

Quoting Billiejeens:


Well, there is no "Christian Left" she says her religion isn't based on a "book" just equality.

It's a - we are all for equality social club - 

It may be a wonderful  club, it's no church.

Quoting Healthystart30:

Quoting Billiejeens:




A fake church? So only churches that spread hate and ignorance are real churches?




Stephanie329
by Platinum Member on Apr. 1, 2013 at 10:22 AM
4 moms liked this
It's great that he took this stance. Religion has been perverted to the point of no return. It's not even about God anymore (in general).
Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
PinkParadox
by Bronze Member on Apr. 1, 2013 at 10:22 AM
Judging before reading only reflects badly on you.

Quoting Billiejeens:

 


I didn't even read it, it's Jimmy Carter.


He is for everything I am against and against everything that I am for, before Obama he was certainly the most abysmal failure as President  in my lifetime, maybe all time, hard to quantify that.


Quoting brookiecookie87:


 


 


Quoting Billiejeens:


Carter has been on a kick to be relevant since Nixon died and was lavishly praised.


(psst, Jimmy)  - Not working boy.


I think you are confusing being relevant and putting out a point with trying to be relevant. Trying to be relevant would be him going on tv, appearing in a movie, doing some sort of publicity stunt.

Publishing something with such a strong point is not trying to be relevant. It's trying to use onces relevance to push a message.

The message he is pushing is a good one. Does that upset you?


 




 

Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
Billiejeens
by Gold Member on Apr. 1, 2013 at 10:24 AM

 

I am quite sure that you are right about the perversion - not sure you are clear about who it perverting it.

Quoting Stephanie329:

It's great that he took this stance. Religion has been perverted to the point of no return. It's not even about God anymore (in general).


 

krnelson04
by New Member on Apr. 1, 2013 at 10:24 AM
2 moms liked this

Religion for equality sounds like a good trade to me.

Aslen
by Silver Member on Apr. 1, 2013 at 10:24 AM
4 moms liked this

LMAO..... The Episcopal Church is fake? It's the second oldest Protestant denomination in existence, second to Lutheranism.

Now, what is it about glass houses and stones? You say you're Cheristian but your statements prove otherwise.

We focus on the NEW Testament... ya know, that one that actually talks about Christ and his teachings. And well, you've priven you're not very Christ-like.


Quoting Billiejeens:


I appreciate your honest example.

This is the phenomenon that I have described before - this is a fake church.

Quoting Aslen:

I'm a proud memeber of the Christian LEFT. Haven't lost my faith (but I don't base it on a book) and believe in equality.  I love being Episcopalian. We have openly gay priests and bishops, and there is no doubt in my mind that WHEN marriage equality becomes legal, my church will have no problem performing same sex weddings. :) 

I think, so many people think Christian=judgemental fundie who wouldn't know their ass from a hole in the ground. That simply isn't true





PinkParadox
by Bronze Member on Apr. 1, 2013 at 10:24 AM
2 moms liked this
The article is good, and an important issue. The rest is irrelevant, and your comment makes you look foolish.

Quoting candlegal:

Well having earned the title of the worst President ever, I have to agree, he is trying to stay relevant.  He is a bigger phony now than he was while President.  Did you ever see the show Carter Country, what a hoot.

Quoting Billiejeens:

Carter has been on a kick to be relevant since Nixon died and was lavishly praised.


(psst, Jimmy)  - Not working boy.


Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
Billiejeens
by Gold Member on Apr. 1, 2013 at 10:26 AM

 

I skimmed it - it's a "straw-man" argument.

Quoting PinkParadox:

Judging before reading only reflects badly on you.

Quoting Billiejeens:

 


I didn't even read it, it's Jimmy Carter.


He is for everything I am against and against everything that I am for, before Obama he was certainly the most abysmal failure as President  in my lifetime, maybe all time, hard to quantify that.


Quoting brookiecookie87:


 


 


Quoting Billiejeens:


Carter has been on a kick to be relevant since Nixon died and was lavishly praised.


(psst, Jimmy)  - Not working boy.


I think you are confusing being relevant and putting out a point with trying to be relevant. Trying to be relevant would be him going on tv, appearing in a movie, doing some sort of publicity stunt.

Publishing something with such a strong point is not trying to be relevant. It's trying to use onces relevance to push a message.

The message he is pushing is a good one. Does that upset you?


 


 


 


 

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