This piece by Jimmy Carter is sad but typical.
I HAVE been a practising Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world. 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 the 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 view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. 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.
At its 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.
The inability to separate out the myriad ideas he's thrown together is irresponsible, because there is an enormous gulf between an all-male clergy and all the harms he cites. In fact the Catholic Church, which is one of a few confessional bodies that insists on a male priesthood (since its inception) is also one that treasures the singular place of a women as the pinnacle of creation, holds women to be fundamentally equal to men, and itself pioneered education for girls long centuries before the rest of the world caught on.
The irresponsibility is magnified by insisting that any differentiation between men and women is the seedbed of misogyny, and by suggesting that constraints on what is appropriate to the distinct vocations of male and female inevitably leads to male domination, raped, and abuse.
He writes further:
In some Islamic nations, women are restricted in their movements, punished for permitting the exposure of an arm or ankle, deprived of education, prohibited from driving a car or competing with men for a job. If a woman is raped, she is often most severely punished as the guilty party in the crime.
Does any of this happen in Christian countries? Our likeness to God is in our rational minds, and thus we should know better than to lump all religions together. Christians around the world have campaigned vociferously against sex trafficking, genital mutilation, slavery, and domestic violence. To blame Christians for those very evils is absurd -- but somewhat understandable given the elasticity of many so-called Christian sects (not to mention their flawed philosophical underpinnings).
We have here a lazy response, suggesting that all organised religion is equally guilty, which is nonsense. Authentic Christianity defends the use of discernment, distinctions, and discrimination, for they each have their place--in the rational minds of men and women who are both made to the image and likeness of the Triune God.
ADDENDUM: As I reviewed his article, I noticed the ad that was at the bottom:
Want to be a minister? Become ordained today!
All it does is add an exclamation point to my argument.