Thursday, April 7, 2011

Religion, Women, and Jimmy Carter

In a startlingly original thesis, former President Jimmy Carter has laid the blame for discrimination against women at the feet of religious leaders who selectively misinterpret the bible.  
ATLANTA (AP) - Former President Jimmy Carter says much of the discrimination and abuse suffered by women around the world is attributable to a belief "that women are inferior in the eyes of God." Carter said such teachings by "leaders in Christianity, Islam and other religions" allow men to beat their wives and deny women their fundamental rights as human beings.

The only thing original about this hackneyed harangue, delivered to a gaggle of human rights activists, is that it exonerated the religions while specifically accusing religious men of the problem.   Not to make light of mistreatment, especially in other parts of the world, but nobody is "allowed" to beat their wives or deny them fundamental human rights in the occident, which includes Atlanta.  That's not to say that woman-beating doesn't take place, especially in the homes of unwed couples.  For the record, man-beating also takes place, just like at Chavez Ravine on opening day, where a San Francisco Giants fan was brain damaged in a savage attack by deranged Los Angeles Dodger fans.  But, it's vicious character, raw strength, limited grey matter, and often substance abuse--not religion--that leads to this type of violence.

Noman wonders if Jimmy is repenting, on the sly, of sins against Rosalind, the original steel magnolia.  Everyone of a certain age remembers his famous admission to the editors of Playboy Magazine that he had sinned in his heart with women--probably, especially, those who posed in the pages of the magazine he chose to unburden his soul to.  Maybe he's feeling guilty again.

Noman would merely add that his religion encourages men to treat women with respect, and to look beyond their flesh to see them as children of God, and sisters in the faith.  He doesn't spend much time apologizing for Ephesians 5 because he dwells on what he owes people rather than on what people owe him.  That's another thing his religion teaches him.  Thus, Noman loves his wife as he loves his own body, tries not to provoke his children to anger, and straps on the cross daily to protect and provide for his family of ten.  That's what his religion teaches him that it means to be a man.  Should Noman ever slip up and turn into an abuser, he assures Jimmy that it will precisely be because he quit listening to his religious leaders, lost his faith, and left his religion, not because he misinterpreted it.

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