"Thank God for Jimmy Carter. He takes on the tough ones."
That's how "On Faith" moderator Sally Quinn ended her April 26 post "Does God hate women?"
Quinn insisted that it was "a question that never occurred to me until I began to study religion" and that the 39th president of the United States had a role in her examining the topic:
Recently Jimmy Carter spoke on the subject at a religious conference. “The discrimination against women on a global basis,” he said,” is very often attributable to the declaration by religious leaders in Christianity, Islam and other religions, that women are inferior in the eyes of God.”
This may not seem an earth-shaking comment but it was courageous of Carter to speak out against this practice, particularly since he came from a Baptist tradition where women were not even allowed to be ministers. He is also, in this statement, calling on those of faith to question his God’s attitude toward one half of the earth’s population.
Carter was also the impetus for the pre-Easter "discussion" question, "What is religion's role in gender discrimination?"
Quinn, who professes no religious faith but has partaken of the eucharist at at least one Catholic funeral, complains:
Long before Jesus’s time, Eve was the temptress, Adam the unwilling dupe. Mary had to be a virgin. Joseph did not. Even the Apostle Paul, who had women work with him, was overruled by the church leaders less than 20 years after his death.
So, again, what are we to make of this? A feminist would argue that it is clear that the most developed countries are those with the most educated and liberated women. The poorest and most underdeveloped are those with the least educated, least liberated women. Are those women held back because of religious beliefs? The case could be made.
With thousands of years of discrimination behind us and so much still existing, and with 95 percent of the world’s population adhering to some faith or other, how could those beliefs not be held accountable. And for those who believe in an all loving God, a God who loves men and women equally, how could one not ask the question: Why would He (She?) allow this to exist unless he hated women?
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