Religion and the liberation of women

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Written by:

The Gloriavale hearing regarding the employment status of women is throwing up, yet, again, some fundamental questions about God and men.

This week the court heard from some women who were still in Gloriavale, who asserted their right to defer to their husbands and all the men of Gloriavale.

The doctrine of abasement based on gender is so normalised among these women that it was shocking.  The views revealed were extreme.  Contraception, for example, was “killing babies”.  The glorification of motherhood was on show, as something that men cannot do.

Oh yes, and did I mention that this witness was the acting principal of the school?  My call for more than 20 years to close that school and give those children a proper education was once again vindicated!

She explained the community’s philosophy as follows:

“The Bible says the man is the head of the woman and the head of the man is Christ. Now there is an order and it is called God’s order. True Christians know God’s order. Christ is over the man, the man should submit himself to Christ. And then the woman is to submit herself to the man, and children submit themselves to their parents,” she said.

Meanwhile, in Iran, women are protesting for their human rights and are being arrested, and even dying in custody, as a result. While the brainwashed Gloriavale sect celebrates its enslavement of women’s minds (for that is what it is), in Iran the morality police are cracking down.

For some reason this has not received much media attention here.  Women are cutting their hair, removing the hijab and protesting in the streets.  The immediate trigger has been the killing of Mahsa Amini, a young woman who died in custody.  But the longer term issues, including oppressive religious practices, economic problems and political leadership, continue to arise.

It is a timely reminder that so many of the major religions of the world, including Catholicism, practice the subordination of women and the glorification of motherhood (as the only fit job for a female) as doctrine.  Along with these always go, of course, the privileging of men, and especially religious men, and the mistreatment of women.

The twentieth century saw the breaking down of many gender barriers in liberal democracies like ours. But, even here, the continued pursuit of social and economic equality by women is far from achieving its goals. The shadow of religion here also limits the rights of women.

It is timely, however, to remember how far we have come, and to hold a hand out to our sisters under the thrall of religious practices that glorify men and the Gods of male privilege, to help them achieve basic human rights and strive towards the equality of the genders.

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About Insight Aotearoa

Most of the blogs published here will either respond to initiatives elsewhere or will be ‘newsmaking’. Some will also be reflective in more general terms. The blogs will be topical and interesting. I like to inject some humour into my blogs.

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