Christianity and gender equality

Christianity has been accused of misogyny, hating or fearing women. Whilst Christianity suggests we are all made in the image of God and that God loves equality, in the bible, it suggests women are inferior to men. 

In genesis it says God created Eve from the ribs of Adam. She is only adams companion and Eve was the one that was led to temptation and her punishment was that her husband rules over her.

The bible also reveals a patriarchal society as men could divorce but women couldn't. Women were seen as unclean when menstruating or after giving birth. 

God is referred to as He and a father and a son. Jesus only has male disciples.

Martin Luther, a protestant, had argued the role of women is to stay at home and take care of the house and children. 

'wives submit to your own husbands' 'she is to remain quiet' 'the husband is the head of the wife'

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The bible showing equality

Although the bible does show favoritism to males, it also does show equality.

God is also given female qualities such as caring, heals, feeds, comforts.

Many OT women have significant roles such as Esther who saved the Jews from death.

Jesus also supposedly showed female qualities by showing love, tenderness, compassion and gentleness. Some of his closest followers were also female.

Catholics also put emphasis on the virgin Mary.

Some christian attitudes argue that men and women should be treated equally as both are made in the image of God. Others believe men and women are valuable to God but have different roles and qualities. Some roles in the church are just meant to be for men.

RC and orthodox do not allow female priests as Jesus did not chose his men to be women. When celebrating the priest represents Jesus who is a man, so females can't fulfill this role.

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secular ideas on gender equality

John Stuart Mill put an argument forward for political and social equality between men and women when women had very few rights. He used his harm principle where people should be allowed to do what they want as long as they do not harm others. So, women should be allowed to do what they want.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton was heavily inspired by Mill. She was very critical of churches' attitudes to women and saw them as key contributors to women being oppressed. She advocated for womens rights when the USA was amending slavery and give black men rights to vote- abolitionist movement. She became concerned women's rights were being sidelined by this movement and she demonstrated racist views and advocated the vote for middle class white men and women only.

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Christianity and racism - is the bible racist?

There are 3 types of racism:                                                                                                                -direct racism where someone is being treated differently or not given the same opportunities because of race and colour.

- Indirect racism where certain practices disadvantage a community or section of the society like banning headscarves.

- Institutional racism where racism is in social institutions like government organizations, police, etc.                                                                                                                                                Most Christians will argue the bible is not racist because it goes against God being omnipotent and all being created in his image. But, some passages in the bible condone slavery  like in the OT. 'the slave is his money' 'obey your earthly masters with fear'

The bible uses slavery and there is no condemnation of slavery in it. Jesus uses slavery as an example to show our relationship with God but he doesn't openly condemn slavery when he condemns other practices. Is God really omnipotent if he doesn't allow equality.

Some passages in the OT states to treat foreigners as you would your own people and in the NT prejudice and discrimination is wrong and church should concentrate on unity, Jesus' message.

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Churches response to racism

All Christian churches in the UK have agreed discrimination and racism have no place in Christianity.

The roman catholic church has a history with fighting racism as the Pope Paul said that anyone keeping a black person as a slave will be merited excommunication. Pope Leo outlawed the slave trade and Pope Paul condemned the fact that Christians contributed to slave trade and argued for the abolition of the apartheid in South Africa.

Quakers also helped. Slave owners or traders were not allowed to become quakers.

Black people lived mainly in poverty and earned half the amount of white people before 1869, when slavery was abolished. Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat and this started the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King felt strongly that God created everyone equally as stated in Genesis. He did a non-violent direct action using his Christian values by the example of Ghandi. This meant suffering without any action and tries to makes more friendships between people and communities to defeat injustice. 

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secular responses to racism

Runnymede is a trust organisation that looks at research on government policies and they argue they do not do enough to tackle discrimination. It looks at the life chances black and minority ethnic communities have who are under-represented.

It has led to laws and policies being made but has not gotten rid of the prejudice and discrimination still found in todays society, even though everyone is now free to do what they want.

Terrorist acts by the Daesh has led to Islamophobia and discrimination against Muslims. 

Some areas do FGM where females genital is cut off and this makes them risk in death during childbirth. It has no medical benefits and is illegal as it leads to inequality.

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Christianity and disability

Passages from leviticus shows discrimination to disabled people as they suggest they are not like other people and have a different status so they can't be close to God or become a priest. 

There are also passages that show equality to disabled people: the story of Mephibosheth. He could not walk and at that time the tradition would be for David to kill him but, he treated him as a guest and protected him and treated him equally.

Genesis shows we are all created equally in gods image but why do some people suffer more than others? John Hick argues suffering allows us to develop and grow morally and spiritually. God lets disabilities and suffering happens but does not create it. 

Joni Eareckson Tada had a condition and it had enabled her to do things like paint with her mouth and gain extensive knowledge on the bible. She saw her condition as a result of human sin.

People with a disability in the Catholic church are seen as able to offer as much as able-bodied people now.

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