Silenced! Religious Discrimination against Women – by Sheila Graham

You’re a woman who’s sick and tired of being discriminated against, not only in the workforce but at church as well? Yes, you say? Well, who’s to blame for that abuse?

Several months ago now I was asked to be one of the speakers at a conference on domestic violence. I had just published a book on how women were discriminated against in an authoritative, legalistic, religious organization.

About the same time, in my research on discrimination against women, I came across an article by an atheist who blamed all three Abrahamic religions You’re a woman who’s sick and tired of being discriminated against, not only in the workforce but at church as well? Yes, you say? Well, who’s to blame for that abuse? Several months ago now I was asked to be one of the speakers at a conference on domestic violence. I had just published a book on how women were discriminated against in an authoritative, legalistic, religious organization. About the same time, in my research on discrimination against women, I came across an article by an atheist who blamed all three Abrahamic religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam, for the centuries of discrimination against women. He quoted the Hebrew Scriptures, the New Testament and the Quran to prove his point.

The Hebrew Scriptures 

The 19th-century women’s rights activist, Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902), said of the Bible, especially the first five books of the Old Testament: “I know of no other books that so fully teach the subjection and degradation of women.” (Eighty Years and More, 1898, p. 395). Are they right? As the events in the Hebrew Scriptures are acknowledged in some form in all three religions, let’s take a look. Genesis, chapters 1 to 3, describes Eve as being made from Adam’s rib to be his helper. Eve took the first bite of the forbidden fruit and encouraged Adam to do the same. God then put Eve under the rule of her husband. God is referred to as father, not mother. Women could not divorce their husbands, but men could divorce their wives. If a woman was raped or committed adultery, it was a crime against men’s rights of ownership. Women were considered unclean because they menstruated.

The New Testament 

It doesn’t look good for the Hebrew Scriptures. Let’s look at the New Testament. Jesus was male. He also referred to God as father. He chose no females to be among his twelve disciples.

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