Saturday, December 8, 2012

Why I'm Critical of the Church

Angry Girl!
This Huffington Post article is one reason.  Seems women at Bristol University who belong to the Bristol University Christian Union and want to speak at events are only allowed to do so if their husbands participate with them.  The union's president explained how this works:
It's ok for women to teach in any CU setting...However we understand that this is a difficult issue for some and so decided that women would not teach on their own at our weekly CU meetings, as the main speaker on our Bristol CU weekend away, or as our main speaker for mission weeks.  But a husband and wife can teach together in these.
He went on to explain his reasoning:  
[BUCU] has no formal position on the role of men and women in the church.  We respect those of our members who hold strong Biblical convictions in this area and seek to find the most practical way of expressing this inclusivity. [Emphasis mine]
So, in order to accommodate certain beliefs, they have decided to prevent women from speaking on their own.  Excluding to include? 

This revelation on the heels of the Anglican Church voting against allowing female priests to serve as bishops.  How long are women going to continue to be treated like children and have to get permission from men to participate  How long are churches going to use certain Bible verses to discriminate against women?  Don't forget, not so long ago the Bible was used to support slavery and segregation.  Funny how the Bible verses about not being allowed to have things - like tattoos - are considered "cultural" but anything that can be used to discriminate against women or others is taken as "literal" and applicable in today's world.  

Earlier this year in the U.S. we saw a Congressional committee discuss whether or not women's birth control should be covered under "Obamacare."  Some Christian and other religious groups felt that women obtaining birth control somehow violated their moral and religious beliefs.  And this was the group chosen to testify before Congress on this clearly women's issue:
I'd like to see the committee below discuss whether or not men should be able to receive Viagra and similar prescriptions under "Obamacare" since the use of such drugs can clearly be in violation of a number of religious and moral beliefs:
After writing this post the BUCU released this statement:
Bristol University Christian Union (BUCU) deplores the recent exaggerations and misrepresentations in some parts of the media of its position on women's ministry in the church. It is well known that Christian churches differ on this question. BUCU is not a church, but a student society, so it has never had a formal policy on women's ministry. In recent months, the Executive Committee have been exploring ways in which BUCU can best accommodate members with divergent and strongly held convictions, while expressing our unity as Christian believers. In line with our basic position throughout that process, which has not been widely publicised, the Executive Committee now wish to make clear that we will extend speaker invitations to both women and men, to all BUCU events, without exception. BUCU is utterly committed to reflecting the core biblical truth of the fundamental equality of women and men.
BUCU Executive Committee 05/12/12 [December 5, 2012]
I'm glad they have taken this stance.  However, the fact that they were planning to discriminate against women in the first place is the point.  And as long as Christian organizations and churches continue to treat some members of society as second class citizens, I will rail against them.  


Anonymous said...

I love the nuns with guns!

The statement from the BUCU sounds like a u-turn but it isn't, really. Joel Lewis, who used to write the BUCU's newsletter, explained why in The Guardian:

"The recent statement on the matter issued by BUCU is disappointing, and answers only the question that they would like to be asked rather than the ones that they should be asked. Of course, it is very welcome that they will invite female speakers – and this is indeed a step forward from the position 15 years ago. However the current controversy was not about whether female speakers would be invited, but whether they would be permitted to speak and teach without a male chaperone. On this matter the BUCU statement is silent.

The statement emphasises the lack of a "formal policy" on the issue. This is nothing to boast about, as it simply means that they have made no commitment not to discriminate against women in practice."

To me the statement is also entirely too defensive in tone given that they should be eating humble pie right now.

I liked your point about inclusivity. It frustrates me that people who push for women to be fully included in the church are often seen as the divisive ones - NOT the people who divide women from men by banning them from offices within the church! If they are so worried about Christian unity then they shouldn't discriminate!


Cherie said...

Sophie, you are right in that the BUCU is just temporarily covering its outright discrimination. Without a formal policy, they can continue business as usual.