Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Echidne Loves Jimmy Carter

Right now, anyway. As elmlish in the comments pointed out, Carter has come out strongly against the misogyny the major religions contain. His piece for the U.K. Guardian's "Comment Is Free" says this:

So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when th e convention's leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be "subservient" to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service. This was in conflict with my belief - confirmed in the holy scriptures - that we are all equal in the eyes of God.

This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. It is widespread. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths.

Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women's equal rights across the world for centuries. The male interpretations of religious texts and the way they interact with, and reinforce, traditional practices justify some of the most pervasive, persistent, flagrant and damaging examples of human rights abuses.

At their most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.

YESS! *Gives herself a high-five*

I have always said that religion is one of the pillars on which misogyny rests (the others being law and pseudo-science), and that is a truly awful thing. Because either some divine power is a sadistic one or the people who have interpreted the will of that divine power were far too often misogynists. And what are the poor women to do? If they demand their rights they go straight to hell, you know. Sigh.

Besides, for some odd reason all the major religions were created a long time ago and allowing women very few rights didn't seem that odd then, given that the Bible, for instance, urges slaves to obey their owners and such. But we have moved on from the idea that slavery is A-OK. So we could move on from the idea that women are fields for the men to plough as they will and that women should shut up in the congregation and wait until getting home to meekly ask for clarification from their much-wiser husbands. Assuming, of course, that they are let into the houses of worship at all.