The War Against Women

Yes, Virginia, there is a war against women.  This war however, is not a Republican or a Democrat war as many would have you believe. It is a religious war on women. It is being fought every Sunday in a church near you.  It is also a battle that is overwhelmingly weighted against women.

The battle is so heavily weighted against women that we must wonder why the battle is being waged with such intensity. It is being waged with heavy artillery.  Make no mistake about it.  They have the biggest arsenal, the loudest guns, and more officers. They also have more soldiers willing to take orders and not question.

BBC (Big Baptist Church) in my hometown has what is labeled Men’s Power Lunch.  The pastor was quoted in the newspaper a few weeks ago as saying that these lunches were important to men because men ‘have the greater responsibility of leadership in the home and in the workplace.”

Nobody opposed his statement. Nobody stood up and said that such statements send women back to pre-1964 Civil Rights era.  But what this pastor says does just that.  It tells women that men are in charge of them in their own homes, and that men are in charge of the workplace, where women will go out and work every day.

This past week I was made aware again of this continuing warfare against women. 

The strange thing about this battle is that there is no opposing voice. How can you fight a battle without an opponent?  Yet, the battle goes on.  Day after day, after day.  Relentless.  Keep shooting at the enemy, there might happen to be one with life left in it.

And there is one, two, and perhaps more who are uncomfortable sitting in churches where they constantly  hear that the husband owns the marriage, owns the family, and is what they ‘lovingly’ call the leader of the family.

There is one, two, and perhaps more who want a more moderate voice to be heard.

There is one, two, and perhaps more who want women to be equal in the church and in the home.

We didn’t start this battle. The natural progression after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would have brought women into the colleges, into the male-dominated workplaces, and given women the rights within her own family, the right to earn a decent wage, and the right to make financial decisions for her and for her family, and it would have seeped into the churches and would have given the women in the church the same equality as the males in the church.

But that wasn’t allowed to happen in most churches.  It did in some, but the majority of churches reacted violently against women.

The riots this past week that started on 9/11 and supposedly were in response to a movie was caused by overly-religious piety and does no honor to the God they worship. They are not the only ones who have waged war because of their overly religious piety.

This is the same kind of reaction that our religious leaders engaged in after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and resulted in the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.  This is the same rioting and battle that we are engaged in.  They are fighting to keep us where we were.

Pastors who preach male headship in your church every Sunday are caught up in the continuing riots and are acting like spoiled children in their insistence in keeping this battle going.

Don’t you think it is time that your pastor grew up, and stopped this war against women?

What will you do? Will you tell him that he is acting the same way the rioters reacted this past week?

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About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
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22 Responses to The War Against Women

  1. So, it sounds like having lunch together, and hearing that they are already superior creatures, is supposed to make them better leaders. (Even though most of them couldn’t prepare the lunch.) This is not how leaders are truly made. Husbands and wives can learn, together, to both be leaders, and get a lot more done.

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  2. Mabel says:

    There are those who attack, and then there are pacifists who avoid teaching the truth since it does not benefit them to rock the status quo boat. Why anger the congregation. Teaching is hard. Just let the old tradition continue: men pastor, women do everything but as long as we don’t “ordain” them, everyone’s happy. They enjoy the appearance of obeying the plain reading of Scriptures, and congratulate themselves for not oppressing women. ( Lord, we are not like that church which does not let women teach Sunday School, etc.We are moving in the right direction, Be patient. God has His own time, which of course should coincide with our timing. )And, everybody talks about this phantom headship in the marriage, even tho’ none of their marriages really practices this “headship” business, because it simply does not make sense among 2 people who love each other. Trying to talk to the pacifists is like talking to air. They are simply not there.

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  3. pnissila says:

    That describes so many churches I’ve been in/visited in my life! And I started out in the most patriarchal of all churches–the Catholic church. It seems as if the war against women has intensified in the last twenty or so years. Fortunately, where “two or more are gathered,” Jesus is in our midst. If we are devoid of a decent large church gathering, we can always “have church” with a few.

    ON “WOMEN’S BIBLE STUDIES,” TOO
    I would also like to add that I have not gone to a formal (that is, according to some church program) “women’s Bible study” for many years. My last several visits to such studies were pathetic. One of them passed around a list before the study began where we were supposed to check off areas of ministry interest. The items included such opportunities as “be a friend,” “cook for church events,” “children’s and women’s ministries,” “prayer group,” and so on (not that any of these are less valuable than the highest of callings). What was missing, of course, were ministries such as those listed in Scripture that the Holy Spirit gifts “severally as He wills” among the (entire) Body of Christ. I added my own list of “opportunities” to the bottom of the page and left. Another formal women’s Bible study (this was a main event gathering) featured a woman whose entire presentation was (in strong chastisement fashion) about how women whose husbands were unsaved should stop “running off to church,” and “preaching” to the husbands, thus, deterring them from becoming Christians! That is such BAAAAAAD advice in so many ways it’s hard to know where to begin! I so wanted to “lay hands on her suddenly,” and not in a good way. Left that one, too.

    Another women’s Bible study program (quite a famous one) handed out sheets of rules which included wearing these tacky heart name badges that, if you were not wearing, would prevent you from being able to participate in the small groups. Another of the numerous rules was that you were not to reference any concordances, commentaries, or lexicons while doing the assigned read for the week. You were just to report on what God was saying to you through the Scripture. The only reason I went more than once was because I had promised a friend I would give it a few visits because she insisted it was a program where women were being taught the “meat of the Word.” In my opinion, it’s a cult. Oh, and of course, we were all to be subservient to the men…..

    Now, I have rich, full Bible studies/fellowships with a small group of women that is prejudice-free. If men want to ever join us, they will have to know we do not discriminate nor will we defer to them. The Holy Spirit is in charge.
    Cheers,
    Phyllis

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  4. Mabel says:

    thanks, Phyllis, when your eyes are wide open, you won’t fall into the trap.

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  5. Temperance says:

    I am writing a letter to my senior and associate pastors. Two weeks in a row, the associate pastor has made jokes about women talking too much. I have heard that over and over again for years and am sick of it. It’s open season on women, it seems. I am letting them know that male headship perpetuates mistreatment of women, not service like they claim. No matter how they present it, the hostility against women is there. I am praying that God will help the women of my church to get as angry as I am, that is the fuel we all need to act.

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  6. Mabel says:

    Educate, Agitate, Advocate!! Go Temperance! We all need to speak up and raise awareness.

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  7. Katia says:

    One of the reasons there are not more opposing voices to comments by that pastor is that many people consider those types of comments so idiotic they’re not worth causing a fuss about. One of the best ways to stop a behavior is to ignore it. The more people who ignore gender biased comments by that (or any) pastor and go their merry egalitarian ways, the better. There is a time to speak out of course, and I am trying to find that balance between speaking out and ignoring.

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  8. Mabel says:

    Katia, we are not fighting those that are obviously idiots. That pastor I am sure is not an idiot. If he is, he would have been thrown out of that church. His view point is considered main stream, hence the lack of voices opposing him. Unfortunately, we are also fighting the high and mighty, the John Pipers, who have legions of followers, the Mary Kassians, the Mary Leigh DeMoss, the Mark Driscolls and their mega churches, Southern Baptist’s powerful fundamentalist leaders and their seminaries, the conferences where thousands show up, and I can go on for hours with examples. This gender bias is prevalent and all pervasive in most churches. Just give me 1 name of a church that ordains women and I can give you 100 that do not. Give me one book that teaches equality in marriage and I will give you 100 that teaches male headship and husbands have the final say, etc. This is not fighting idiots, this is fighting the current climate of prejudice being everywhere and hurting a lot of people, men and women. We don’t want to be enablers by keeping silent. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” We do not want to speak out for the sake of demonizing anyone, but we need to speak out to raise awareness, to educate, to agitate if needs be, and to advocate.

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  9. tommy9999 says:

    Shirley:

    I often wonder if women are just going to have to go on some type of strike and just let the men “run” the whole church. I think it is going to take something mighty dramatic to change all these years of male domination and such written documents as the 2000 BF&M.

    Maybe it will happen in my lifetime.

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  10. tommy9999 says:

    Shirley, as I said it will take something drastic and something that will get the attention of these men who will keep women in this secondary position until Jesus comes again. If and when this happens it will not be pretty. This position is so entrenched in so many churches that anything less than a dramatic and sustained effort will be swept to the side.

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  11. Mabel says:

    tommy9999, I agree with you that these men are dug in their heels. Unfortunately, they are also really really successful in their game. They manage to, throughout the years, deceive the majority of followers. Many women are the ones who will be up in arms against women taking leadership position or even having an equal say in their own families. Look at the books in the bookstores. Read the so called experts. Nothing is going to happen unless we work hard, non-stop, persevere, to get the word out, to educate, to agitate, and to advocate. We at CBE Houston are working hard to put in place chapter meetings, organize conference, and basically try to fight Goliath. We hope to have David’s success 🙂

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  12. Katia says:

    Shirley and Mabel: I happen to the be the daughter, sister, niece, and cousin of four very intelligent, independent people who loathe gender discrimination and consider John Piper, Mark Driscoll and the their like to be such loathsome, idiotic people they’re not worth a second thought. The day I posted that comment, I had a conversation with my older brother and he was shocked to learn that I had been struggling to release myself from the last bits of the complementarian net. He released himself from it long ago and hates the thought of it. Two of the other relatives are my closest friends right now, and they make it clear they’re tired of me talking about women’s equality all of the time and that I should ignore those who preach against it.
    So right now I’m trying to find a balance between advocating for women’s equality, and not letting the comments of those who preach against it stress me out. I’m still trying to pick up the pieces of my life from following all those complementarian lies, so wherever I go and people ask about me, it comes out fast how following those lies (made worse by having Asperger Syndrome) is making things difficult and uncertain right now. But those difficulties have made me more passionate for women’s equality and to help other women escape the inequality net. That’s one area where having autism just might work out for the better…when those of us on the autism spectrum are passionate about something…that’s all we think about and become experts in it 🙂

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    • I hear your story over and over by those who followed the complementarian view. Strangely, I have never heard anyone say that following the eqalitarian view made them feel as bad as this complementarian view has made you feel. That, in itself, is a strong testimony for eqalitarianism. God bless you. Thank you for sharing this with us.

      > Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2012 13:49:22 +0000 > To: bwebaptist.women@live.com >

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      • Katia says:

        You’re welcome, Shirley. Sad that you hear versions of my story over and over. But my struggles have not, are not in vain. Nearly every day I experience God’s perfect timing, or his perfect leading. In order to fully understand something, you have to experience yourself. Because I have experienced personally the horrors of complementarism, with myself AND my family, I am better equipped to help other women and possibly men escape it.

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  13. pnissila says:

    Your blog and the responses helped inspire another piece I’d offer to the conversation. In all of the discourse/argument/debate over women’s roles and “places,” based on Scriptures, I have always thought of the bigger picture in all the Scriptures: how the Holy Spirit uses “types” of women as metaphors for God’s people and for those who stray. Pondering and reading this always lifts me up when some of the silly interpretations that demean and diminish women crop up in someone’s sermon or commentary. If I may, here is my full response:
    http://pnissila.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/what-shall-we-now-do-with-christian-women-on-chattel-whores-ladies-faire-and-brides/
    Blessings,
    Phyllis

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  14. Mabel says:

    Katia, thanks for your story. Shirley has an excellent point: we NEVER heard stories of how people are hurt by the egalitarian view. Food for thought.
    Pnissila, I read your story, which is an amazing one on your personal journey. I see God having an activer role in how you left institutions that are more into man’s teachings than God’s heart. You have become a blessing to others. Thanks for joining in the fellowship.

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