As I have written in other WAWG Blog articles religious fundamentalism is either gaining control over the government or identifying their evil enemies. This article is about fundamentalism’s enemy within. Specifically, their fear of and need to marginalize and subjugate women.
Behind every fundamentalist, there is a fear of change – let’s go back to the good ole’ days. As Jim Hoagland put it in a recent editorial, Fanaticism fills void left by rapid civic changes, “They and their devout followers fight back in their own ways against the spreading vulgarization and secularization of societies that seem tempted to dispense with religion altogether. These are by and large counterrevolutionary movements, out of step with a secularizing march by history that many of them would destroy rather than accept.”
Part of the “secularizing march” is the treatment of women as equals. Fundamentalists need to keep women “in their place”. As Jimmy Carter wrote in “Our Endangered Values, America’s Moral Crisis”, “Women are greatly abused in many countries in the world, and the alleviation of their plight is made less likely by the mandated subservience of women by the Christian fundamentalists.”
Jimmy Carter has become so concerned about the subjugation of women and the prevention of their doing God’s work that, “I decided to sever my ties with a denomination to which I had been loyal during the first seventy years of my life.” He did this because the leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention have been insisting, “that women are disqualified for pastoral ministry because man was first in creation and woman was first to fall into original sin.”
For a little more on where Christian religions stand on women’s role in the church, refer to this Wikipedia article. It provides five groupings of Christian churches based on their inclusion of women in church activities – only one group grants full secular and ecclesiastical roles and privileges to women. The membership of each group is not complete, so how widespread this sexism is in Christianity is not determinable.