Christianity puts men in power and ignores women’s rights?
Swarms of men dominate the church throne making gender equality seem like a mere vision rather than reality. Pastors, deacons, and those who hold higher ranks in the church are mainly men. Why are males still put on a pedestal in Christianity when females today play such a vital role in society? Author of Dethroning Male Headship, Shirley Taylor tells the Voice of Russia why women are still coming in second place in the eyes of Christians.
Oppression hits Christian women hard. A primary issue, starts in their house of worship where men dominate the alter. Females have very few options for leadership in their church, as they cannot serve as pastors. In fact, the Bible prohibits such a practice from taking place. “They actually write it in their church by-laws that only men can be pastors, deacons, and their statement of faith actually says that women must submit graciously to their husbands,” noted Taylor.
Prohibitions of this sort take a toll on women beyond the church and into society. Male church members are well aware of their obsolete status within the church, and may bring that same ideology into the real world with them.
What’s worse is that the old way of thinking has continued on into modern day. Some adherents of the church are trying to speak their mind about gender equality, but their message is drowned out by the voices of men.
For women who want to be ordained into the church, an internal tug-o-war happens. A handful of female followers get excommunicated from the entire church because they were ordained without a blessing from the church. “Catholics have been told that ordaining women as priests is a worse sin than pedophilia,” Taylor, Founder of We Baptist Women for Equality, revealed and then added, “In Protestant denominations they are accused of being lesbians.”
According to Taylor, men will purposely hold women back and will not allow them to advance in their careers in the secular world. Women are not the only affected parties in the gender battle within the Christian community. If women cannot advance in business, then their salaries could be much lower than anticipated.
Though, these happenings are not just based on theories. Current examples exist of how men keep their throne protected, through controversial comments and actions.
Preacher Pat Robertson, who is part of the 700 Club, made headlines this year after speaking his mind about why men cheat on their wives. Robertson said on his TV show, “Recognize also, like it or not, males have a tendency to wander a little bit," and then he added, "What you want to do is make a home so wonderful that he doesn't want to wander" or give in to the "salacious" magazine pictures and Internet filled with porn.
“He [Robertson] takes the stance that men are granted privileges based on the fact that they are male (and that is the way males are), whereas, the wife has to accommodate his tendency to commit adultery,” explained Taylor to the Voice of Russia.
Not all denominations act in this discriminatory way, as some Protestant groups give women equal rights, allowing them to be preachers themselves. However, according to Taylor, protestant churches actively promote male headship in church, in homes, in society and the workplace. This inevitably creates confusion within the community as to which gender controls the alter.
Digging beneath the surface though, there are deep seeded reasons why men take control of the steering wheel in both religious and social environments. “The church gave power to men over women because of the nature of man. If we look at Jesus Christ as our example, we would see that he gave women power,” explained Taylor.
Jesus was the one who announced to women that he was the Messiah.Also, when he was resurrected, a woman was the first of the genders to realize he had risen, though there were men present at the time. Females did not look for power or competitive roles but rather it was men who did so. However, Jesus Christ forewarned Christians about the people who wanted to have all the powers.
Gender equality continues to be an uphill battle for the majority of females of the Christian faith. However, certain steps need to be taken in order for the genders to become balanced inside the holy church and out. Learning more about women’s equality for men is another crucial piece which needs to be fit in the puzzle of gender tolerance in religion. “They must remember Jesus, from whom we get Christianity. Jesus did not oppress women,” Taylor reminded.
Naturally, a progression of equality amongst the genders within the church unit would be a sound benefit to the stability and respect of women in the church. Taylor says though they have set a course of male headship and female submission that is detrimental to Christianity. Now, we struggle in the 21st century trying to make genders just and fair outside the church, when perhaps solving the issue should come from within church walls.