Jimmy Carter just wrote an amazing article in the Guardian called The words of God do not justify cruelty to women.
In it he spells out why he had to sever his relations with the Southern Baptists over, in his opinion, their penchant for using the Bible as a tool of discrimination and sexism against women.
I have been a practicing 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 was in conflict with my belief – confirmed in the holy scriptures – that we are all equal in the eyes of God.
He goes on to rail against the use of God and holy scriptures in general, across many faiths, to justify abuses against women.
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.
It’s great when a well-known male political figure takes a stab at this. Probably would have been better if he’d said it 30 years ago… but better late than never.