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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 (41-50):
PinkParadox
by Bronze Member on Apr. 1, 2013 at 10:46 AM
See, that your problem. That's not what the article says. I'm not going to argue with you. I'll just keep right on wishing for a good old fashioned apocalypse.

Quoting Billiejeens:

 


I have had to listen to Carter's nonsense since 1976.


Here is Carter's position.


Carter doesn't like Western Religion. Western Religion is bad, because women are not equally represented in the church.


Carter loves the Palestinians and Islam - where women are treated subhumanly.


Not going to go with Carter on this, sawry.


Quoting PinkParadox:

Not at all. Because at the end of the day, it reflects a very real issue on women. It is factual. His opinion, which is very little of the actual article, is included as a side note. I'm indifferent to him as a person.


Quoting Billiejeens:


 



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?




 




 




 



 



 




 

Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
lga1965
by on Apr. 1, 2013 at 10:46 AM
You're misquoting Carter. You can't help yourself. You see no problem lying to try to convince us you are right.
You're despicable.
Karma IS a *itch , it's gonna get ya some day....


Quoting Billiejeens:

 


I have had to listen to Carter's nonsense since 1976.


Here is Carter's position.


Carter doesn't like Western Religion. Western Religion is bad, because women are not equally represented in the church.


Carter loves the Palestinians and Islam - where women are treated subhumanly.


Not going to go with Carter on this, sawry.


Quoting PinkParadox:

Not at all. Because at the end of the day, it reflects a very real issue on women. It is factual. His opinion, which is very little of the actual article, is included as a side note. I'm indifferent to him as a person.


Quoting Billiejeens:


 



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?




 




 




 



 



 




 

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Billiejeens
by Gold Member on Apr. 1, 2013 at 10:49 AM

 

This is one article, unless I missed where he renounced all his previous statements, you have to take his entire body of work into account.

Quoting PinkParadox:

See, that your problem. That's not what the article says. I'm not going to argue with you. I'll just keep right on wishing for a good old fashioned apocalypse.

Quoting Billiejeens:

 


I have had to listen to Carter's nonsense since 1976.


Here is Carter's position.


Carter doesn't like Western Religion. Western Religion is bad, because women are not equally represented in the church.


Carter loves the Palestinians and Islam - where women are treated subhumanly.


Not going to go with Carter on this, sawry.


Quoting PinkParadox:

Not at all. Because at the end of the day, it reflects a very real issue on women. It is factual. His opinion, which is very little of the actual article, is included as a side note. I'm indifferent to him as a person.


Quoting Billiejeens:


 



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?




 




 




 



 



 


 


 


 

Aslen
by Silver Member on Apr. 1, 2013 at 10:51 AM

rolling on floorsidesplittinglaughter Does it hurt to be so stupid?


Quoting Billiejeens:


Main characters are never as good in sequels.

Quoting Aslen:

So God doesn't exist in the New Testament?



Quoting Billiejeens:


I have stated repeatedly that I am not a practicing Christian, I live in a Christian nation, and while I do not really believe in God myself - I do tend to believe in people who believe in God. (Old Testament God).

If I am anything, it is a believer in Karma.

Quoting Aslen:

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 10:51 AM
2 moms liked this
Views grow, change and evolve over the course of 30+ years. I'm sorry if that hasn't happened for you.

Quoting Billiejeens:

 


This is one article, unless I missed where he renounced all his previous statements, you have to take his entire body of work into account.


Quoting PinkParadox:

See, that your problem. That's not what the article says. I'm not going to argue with you. I'll just keep right on wishing for a good old fashioned apocalypse.


Quoting Billiejeens:


 



I have had to listen to Carter's nonsense since 1976.



Here is Carter's position.



Carter doesn't like Western Religion. Western Religion is bad, because women are not equally represented in the church.



Carter loves the Palestinians and Islam - where women are treated subhumanly.



Not going to go with Carter on this, sawry.



Quoting PinkParadox:

Not at all. Because at the end of the day, it reflects a very real issue on women. It is factual. His opinion, which is very little of the actual article, is included as a side note. I'm indifferent to him as a person.



Quoting Billiejeens:



 




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?





 





 





 




 




 



 



 




 

Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
Billiejeens
by Gold Member on Apr. 1, 2013 at 10:54 AM

 False of course.

Here is a Washington Post article - people that like him.

Jimmy Carter, Palestinian Sympathizer

Jimmy Carter has emerged as the most prominent pro-Palestinian public figure in America.

In a new book, the former president offers a passionate defense of Palestinian aspirations rarely heard in the U.S. media and unprecedented from someone who once occupied the Oval Office.

Entitled "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," Carter's book has won him praise in the international online media and scathing criticism from U.S.-based Israel supporters. In the Israeli media, the reaction to Carter's defense of Palestinian rights has been more tempered.

"The bottom line is this," Carter writes in an online excerpt posted by his publisher." "Peace will come to Israel and the Middle East only when the Israeli government is willing to comply with international law, with the Roadmap for Peace, with official American policy, with the wishes of a majority of its own citizens -- and honor its own previous commitments -- by accepting its legal borders. All Arab neighbors must pledge to honor Israel's right to live in peace under these conditions."

In the United States, Carter's linkage of Israeli policy and the now-defunct South African system of racial apartheid has been greeted coolly by fellow Democrats, including incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

"It is wrong to suggest that the Jewish people would support a government in Israel or anywhere else that institutionalizes ethnically based oppression, and Democrats reject that allegation vigorously," Pelosi said.

It should come as no surprise that Palestinian-American Sherri Muzher, writing in the Jordan Times, welcomed Carter's apartheid analogy: "How are the situations similar? Well, in a 2002 speech in the United States, [South African Bishop Desmond] Tutu said he saw 'the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about.' Back in 1999, former South African statesman Nelson Mandela told the Palestinian Assembly: 'The histories of our two peoples correspond in such painful and poignant ways that I intensely feel myself at home amongst my compatriots.'"

Gulf News columnist George Hishmeh praised Carter for "unflinchingly" stating his determination "to let the people of America know that there are two sides to many issues in the Middle East and that in order ever to have peace for Israel, Israel will have to comply with international law."

Al Hayat's Jihad el-Khazen wrote that Carter's book "shows that Israel has not offered, contrary to its claims, a deal for the withdrawal from all the occupied territories except for 5%."

"Carter falls short of a full critique of Israel's treatment of non-Jews under its rule," wrote Lena Khalaf Tuffaha in the Palestine Chronicle, "but his book challenges Americans to see the conflict with eyes wide open."

Carter's critics fault him both personally and politically.

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said the apartheid analogy "is especially outrageous, considering his acknowledgment buried near the end of his shallow and superficial book that what is going on in Israel today "is unlike that in South Africa -- not racism, but the acquisition of land.... It's obvious that Mr. Carter just doesn't like Israel or Israelis."

Writing in the New Republic magazine, former publisher Marty Peretz declared Carter "will go down in history ...as a Jew hater."

By comparison, the reaction in the Israeli media has been mild.

In a column for the Jerusalem Post, David Harris, head of the American Jewish Committee, called the book "a crude polemic that compromises any pretense to objectivity and fairness."

"In accepting the Palestinian narrative, Carter has conveniently revised history, excused the Palestinians for their tragic failure to come to terms with Israel each time the chance presented itself, and blithely ignored Israel's very legitimate security concerns," Harris wrote Monday

"A quick and superficial scan of the book turns up no new or inflammatory disclosures, but it does contain some particularly harsh criticism," wrote Haaretz blogger Shmuel Rosner.

"Carter, who has gone on an intensive tour to promote the book, has certainly noticed that the people interviewing him were less interested in Palestine this week and more interested in Iraq, as was Bush these past few days," Rosner wrote. "And indeed, this is one of the basic criticisms in Carter's book: There is not enough vigorous debate in the United States regarding the Palestinian problem. And this week, once again, it was not easy to find people interested in paying attention to this problem," he said.

When Carter was asked by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, why the plight of the Palestinians receives comparatively little discussion in the U.S. media, he said it was "a mystery."

Carter continued, "There is no discussion of these issues in this country that amounts to anything. There is obviously no discussion among the members of Congress. And even the American news media, wonderful ones like who you work for, The New York Times, The Washington Post and so forth, as well as the major networks and even cable -- rarely bring up any of the issues that are dramatized very accurately in this book."

Carter suggested that any congressional candidate who declared, "I want the Israelis to comply with international law," wouldn't have a chance to be elected.

"But it is a mystery to me why the news media don't at least give a sharp discussion of these issues. ... I go to Israel fairly often and when I go to Jerusalem, the debate is vociferous in the news media and among politicians. In Europe the same thing. In the U.S., no debate."


Quoting lga1965:

You're misquoting Carter. You can't help yourself. You see no problem lying to try to convince us you are right.
You're despicable.
Karma IS a *itch , it's gonna get ya some day....


 

 

Billiejeens
by Gold Member on Apr. 1, 2013 at 10:55 AM
Not always.
Quoting Aslen:

rolling on floorsidesplittinglaughter Does it hurt to be so stupid?


Quoting Billiejeens:


Main characters are never as good in sequels.

Quoting Aslen:

So God doesn't exist in the New Testament?



Quoting Billiejeens:


I have stated repeatedly that I am not a practicing Christian, I live in a Christian nation, and while I do not really believe in God myself - I do tend to believe in people who believe in God. (Old Testament God).

If I am anything, it is a believer in Karma.

Quoting Aslen:

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














fireangel5
by Gold Member on Apr. 1, 2013 at 10:57 AM

I am religious but I don't really know what super religious is so I don't know if I fall into that category. 

I personally feel that if a Rev/Priest/Deacon is a person of God and chooses that life, why should they not be women? I, as a Roman Catholic, would have absolutely no problem going to a woman priest or even a married male priest. 

Someone in that postion has a special calling, IMO, and that calling does not discriminate. I have interacted with many wonderful nuns who have deep faith, teach the religion, do good deeds, and are very warm and compassionate. 

I really do not understand the negative. feelings toward women in high positions in some organized religions, including my own. 


Quoting GLWerth:

Interesting article. Thanks for posting.

I'll be interested to see if any of the super-religious even reply to this.



MamaiMoe
by on Apr. 1, 2013 at 11:03 AM
I dont think Carter even had a religion.
GLWerth
by Gina on Apr. 1, 2013 at 11:09 AM

You're not in the category I was referencing.

There are a subset of religious women on CM who wish nothing more than a theocracy based on the most fundamentalist iteration of their particular religion.

Generally, you've been pretty reasonable and in this response especially so. 

Interestingly, most younger Catholics I know have the very same attitude you do. Or maybe that is because the people I tend to get to know tend toward more liberal thought.

Quoting fireangel5:

I am religious but I don't really know what super religious is so I don't know if I fall into that category. 

I personally feel that if a Rev/Priest/Deacon is a person of God and chooses that life, why should they not be women? I, as a Roman Catholic, would have absolutely no problem going to a woman priest or even a married male priest. 

Someone in that postion has a special calling, IMO, and that calling does not discriminate. I have interacted with many wonderful nuns who have deep faith, teach the religion, do good deeds, and are very warm and compassionate. 

I really do not understand the negative. feelings toward women in high positions in some organized religions, including my own. 

 

Quoting GLWerth:

Interesting article. Thanks for posting.

I'll be interested to see if any of the super-religious even reply to this.

 

 


 

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