As a blogger, perpetual grad student and as a campus minister who communicates best in writing, I love the process of wrangling a jumble of words into something meaningful. So I’m grateful today for words and the beauty that comes when they are well-shaped.
In that spirit, I present this particular collection of words, from former President Jimmy Carter. President Carter has featured on this blog before (here), but today I want to share these words with the hopes that next Thanksgiving we’ll be able to say that gender-based injustices have been lessened, and this vision of gender equality is nearer.
“One of the most powerful truths in my Christian faith is that I and all other people are equal in the eyes of God. Many believers of all religions – Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists – violate this basic premise by claiming that men are exalted at the expense of women.
Several years ago my wife Rosalynn and I decided to sever our ties to the Baptist denomination to which I had given allegiance for seventy years because its leaders decided to depart from this principle and to deprive women of equal rights to serve as ministers, deacons, chaplains, or in other positions of leadership. We continue to worship in our local Baptist church that is served by both a male and female minister, where I teach Bible lessons and Rosalynn is a deacon.
Devout Christians can select specific verses from the Holy Scriptures to justify this claim of masculine superiority, but their premise contradicts the incontrovertible fact that Jesus Christ never condoned the subservience – or inferiority – of women. It is well known that there were many examples of women leaders in the early Christian churches.
This prejudice, unfortunately, is extremely common. Men who wish to abuse women physically, deprive them of equal pay or exclude them from the same opportunities in political or economic affairs tend to justify their actions because of this misinterpretation by men who are in ascendant religious positions.
The abuse of women and girls is the most pervasive and unaddressed human rights violation on earth.”