Sunday, October 26, 2008

FW: Washington Post, Oct 25, 2008: Status of women

The following article should be of interest to those who are in the
quest for equal status for women.

Saturday, October 25, 2008; Page B07

Below is an excerpt from "On Faith," an Internet feature sponsored by
The Washington Post and Newsweek. More than 50 figures from the world
of faith regularly engage in a conversation about an aspect of
religion. This week's question : The theme of the Women's Conference
2008 this week is We Empower. Does religion empower women?

When the Rev. T.D. Jakes preached "Woman, thou art loosed!" years ago,
it was like the windows of heaven had opened and women were able to
hear the conversation of God and the angels. For so long, women had
been the staunchest supporters of religion but had been held captive
by sexist ideologies that were said to be theologically correct and

Women wept, they hugged each other, they rejoiced. There would be a
new day for them; they (we) would no longer have to walk bent over,
crippled by what I call "women's issues."

For the longest time, religion had kept women captive. We were told to
endure being beaten, cheated on, being talked to badly, thereby
eroding our self esteem. We would be rewarded in heaven if we held on
and were obedient to the Word of God.

"That Word," the Bible preached and taught from a paternalistic point
of view, . . . kept us captive . . . and though T.D. Jakes's sermon
still mesmerizes me when I listen to it, "that word" is still doing
the job on women. Women in the church too often are not empowered but
are still enslaved to theologies that keep us bound.

As I see it, God wants all his or her creations to live a full life
while they live. Though, according to Christian doctrine, that full
life includes being obedient to God and submissive, nowhere does it
dictate that women be made to accept and endure abusive treatment.
Religion has done a good job of teaching us that the man is the head
of house and home and that any good Christian woman will take what her
mate gives out and keep her mouth shut.

Religion has made women feel guilty about sex -- a good woman just
doesn't think about it (while the men do what they want!). I have had
women come to my office afraid that they are going to hell because
they enjoy sex with their husbands. Religion, as it has been taught,
has made me wonder at times -- just who is this God anyway that he/she
would allow, ordain, sanction that women, presumably created by
him/her as well, be treated so badly in the name of religion?

-- Susan K. Smith, senior pastor, Advent United Church of Christ,
Columbus, Ohio

Submitted by C. Alex Alexander,M.D., Glen Burnie, MD


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