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Wednesday
Feb152012

Jimmy Carter's Speech On Women & World Religions Matters As Catholic Bishops Join Southern Baptists & Evangelicals

Paz De La Huerta delivers a searing video focused on the escalating fight to control American women’s bodies. Congress, the Catholic bishops and America’s morality police (who watch more pornography than the people they condemn) are engaged in the most aggressive battle against American women that we’ve seen in decades. Directed by Marcus K Jones and Warwick Saint for FLAUNT magazine, the video showcases women’s struggle truthfully and without flinching. This video is NSFW and it is honest. Anne

Reading that America’s Catholic Bishops are uniting with the Southern Baptist Convention and National Association of Evangelicals against comprehensive health care for women — under the guise of religious freedom, I wish to republish Jimmy Carter’s speech about his resignation from the Southern Baptist Convention for its treatment of women.

Speech by Jimmy Carter to the Parliament of the World’s Religions

Melbourne, Australia, Dec., 2009

I am pleased to address the Parliament of World Religions about the vital role of religion in providing a foundation for – or correcting – the global scourge of discrimination and violence against women. As will be seen, my remarks represent the personal views of a Christian layman and a former political leader.

There are international agreements as well as our own Holy Scriptures that guide us:

Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, origin … or other status …”

The Holy Bible tells us that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

Every generic religious text encourages believers to respect essential human dignity, yet some selected scriptures are interpreted to justify the derogation or inferiority of women and girls, our fellow human beings.

All of us have a responsibility to acknowledge and address the gross acts of discrimination and violence against women that occur every day. Here are some well-known examples:

  1. Globally, at least one in three women and girls is beaten or sexually abused in her lifetime. (U.N. Commission on the Status of Women, February, 2000)
  2. Our Carter Center has been deeply involved in the Republic of Congo. In war zones where order has broken down, horrific and sometimes lethal rape has become a tactic of warfare practiced by all sides.
  3. In a study in 2000, the U.N. estimated that at least 60 million girls who should be alive are “missing” from various populations, mostly in Asia, as a result of sex-selective abortions, infanticide or neglect.
  4. According to UNICEF, an estimated one million children, mostly girls, enter the sex trade each year and the U.N. estimates that 4 million women and girls are trafficked annually.
  5. In some Islamic nations, women are restricted in their movements, punished for permitting the exposure of an arm or ankle, deprived of education, prohibited from driving a car or competing with men for a job. If a woman is raped, she is often most severely punished as the guilty party in the crime.
  6. The same discriminatory thinking lies behind the continuing gender gap in pay and explains why so few women hold political office, even in most Western democracies.

You are all familiar with these facts, and I know you are considering the causes and possible solutions to this serious global problem.

There are clear indications that progress is being made in the secular world. We have seen women chosen as leaders in nations as diverse as India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Israel, Great Britain, Ireland, Chile, Germany, the Philippines, and Nicaragua. Their support came from citizens who are predominantly Hindu, Islamic, Jewish, and Christian, and include two of the three largest democracies on earth.

It is ironic that women are now welcomed into all major professions and other positions of authority, but are branded as inferior and deprived of the equal right to serve God in positions of religious leadership. The plight of abused women is made more acceptable by the mandated subservience of women by religious leaders.

Most Bible scholars acknowledge that the Holy Scriptures were written when male dominance prevailed in every aspect of life. Men could have multiple sex partners (King Solomon had 300 wives and 700 concubines), but adulterous behavior by a woman could be punished by stoning to death -  then, in the time of Christ and, in some societies, 2009 years later.

I realize that devout Christians can find adequate scripture to justify either side in this debate, but there is one incontrovertible fact concerning the relationship between Jesus Christ and women: he never condoned sexual discrimination or the implied subservience of women. The exaltation and later reverence for Mary, as Jesus’ mother, is an even more vivid indication of the special status of women in Christian theology.

L’Harmonie (Harmony) is the left gilded figural sculpture which is crowning the roof of the Opéra Garnier in Paris. via Flickr’s designldg

I have taught Bible lessons for more than 65 years, and I know that Paul forbade women to worship with their heads covered, to braid their hair, or to wear rings, jewelry, or expensive clothes. It is obvious to most modern day Christians that Paul was not mandating permanent or generic theological policies.

In a letter to Timothy, Paul also expresses a prohibition against women’s teaching men, but we know – and he knew – that Timothy himself was instructed by his mother and grandmother.

At the same time, in Paul’s letter to the Romans, he listed and thanked twenty-eight outstanding leaders of the early churches, at least ten of whom were women. “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church … greet Prisca and Aquila, who work with me in Christ Jesus … greet Mary, who has worked very hard among you… greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives who were in prison with me; they are prominent among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was … greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them.”

It is clear that during the early Christian era women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers, and prophets. It wasn’t until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy.

My own Southern Baptist Convention leaders ordained in recent years that women must be “subservient” to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors, chaplains in the military service, or teachers of men. They based this on a few carefully selected quotations from Saint Paul and also Genesis, claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin. This was in conflict with my belief that we are all equal in the eyes of God. The Roman Catholic Church and many others revere the Virgin Mary but consider women unqualified to serve as priests.

This view that the Almighty considers women to be inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or tradition. Its influence does not stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue, or temple. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths, creating an environment in which violations against women are justified.

The truth is that male religious leaders have had – and still have – an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter.

Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions - all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views and set a new course that demands equal rights for women and men, girls and boys.

At their most repugnant, the belief that women are inferior human beings in the eyes of God gives excuses to the brutal husband who beats his wife, the soldier who rapes a woman, the employer who has a lower pay scale for women employees, or parents who decide to abort a female embryo. It also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair and equal access to education, health care, employment, and influence within their own communities.

Recently I presented my concerns to a group of fellow leaders known as The Elders, who represent practicing Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, and Hindus. We are no longer active in politics and are free to express our honest opinions. We decided to draw particular attention to the role of religious and traditional leaders in obstructing the campaign for equality and human rights, and promulgated a statement that declares: “the justification of discrimination against women and girls on grounds of religion or tradition, as if it were prescribed by a Higher Authority, is unacceptable.”

Having served as local, state, national, and world leaders, we understand why many public officials can be reluctant to question ancient religious and traditional premises – an arena of great power and sensitivity. Despite this, we are calling on all those with influence to challenge and change the harmful teachings and practices – in religious and secular life– that justify discrimination against women and to acknowledge and emphasize the positive messages of equality and human dignity. Jimmy Carter

via The Carter Center

Daily French Roast

Anne is reading …

Katarina Mytna ‘Red Goddess’Catholic bishops have declared war on American women, joined by the National Association of Evangelicals and the Southern Baptist Convention. At stake is women’s right to just about everything — but especially contraception.

Reuters explains that the plan is to engage in an election-year public relations campaign, social media marketing and a big push from the pulpit. The bill scheduled for a vote in the Senate tomorrow would allow any employer opt out of covering any medical treatment he disagreed with (‘he’ is their word) as a matter of ‘his’ personal faith.

Along with the Southern Baptist Convention, the National Association of Evangelicals stands ready to contribute money and manpower to the bishops’ campaign, said Galen Carey, an association vice president.

The group is also considering the unprecedented step of asking pastors of every evangelical denomination across the country to read their congregations an open letter protesting the contraception mandate as an assault on religious liberty.

Secularists argue that no one is assailing the freedom to worshp, to proselytize — or even perform social services, according to their religious conscience. These institutions accept taxpayer money, yet argue that they aren’t bound by American laws that govern those contracts.

Related: Religious groups committed to contraception suits Thompson-Reuters Legal News

Obama Shift on Providing Contraception Splits Critics New York Times

The split in the Catholic Church hasn’t been this deep since the 1968 controversy when Pope Paul Vi issued the encyclical ‘Humanae Vitae’ which disregarded a Vatican commission’s recommendation to do away with the ban on birth control.

Groups supporting the Obama contraception compromise included the Catholic Health Association, which represents 600 hospitals and 1,400 health care facilities, plus Catholic Charities, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

More DFR

The Vatican was hit with another thunderbolt yesterday, when Malen Oriol announced that she had asked to leave her duties as the assistant to the general director of the Legion of Christ, which Pope Benedict XVI took over in 2010 at the height a sex scandal embroiling its founder Rev Marciel Maciel. (See AOC Women March 16, 2010.)

In her role, Oriol had headed the Legion’s branch of consecrated women, some 600 women who live like nuns working in Legion schools, recruiting and fundraising, writes CBS News

Benedict named a trusted Vatican official, Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, to take over the running of the Legion and oversee a process of reform and purification to ridding it of the abuses. But critics say that De Paolis is moving too slowly, that the Legion’s problematic culture hasn’t changed. The same superiors who covered up Maciel’s crimes remain in positions of authority.

Not only has Oriol resigned but she has taken 30 consecrated members of the Legionaries into the protection of bishops, where they will serve out their religious vocations. Dozens of priests and close to 400 consecrated women from the Legion’s lay branch have also left the order.

Oriol has four brothers all of whom have left the order of the Legion.

The Legion scandal ranks as one of the worst in the 20th-century Catholic Church since Pope John Paul II held Maciel up as a model, even though the Vatican knew for over a decade about credible allegations he was a pedophile.

Pope Benedict XVI sits with Italian cardinals Angelo Sodano, left, Tarcisio Bertone, second from right and Giovanni Battista are pictured during a lunch.©Osservatore Romano/Reuters/REUTERS.The Toronto Star weighs in on the Vatican, writing that “The Machiavellian manoeuvering and machinations that have come to light recently are worthy of a novel about a sinister power struggle at a medieval court. 

Senior church officials interviewed this month said almost daily embarrassments that have put the Vatican on the defensive could force Pope Benedict to act to clean up the image of its administration — at a time when the church faces a deeper crisis of authority and relevance in the wider world.

Anne of Carversville

Natascha | Daniel Jackson & Lyndel Yeo @35MM | The Creatives

AOC Private Studio

Thairine Garcia | Zee Nunes | Harper’s Bazaar Brazil February 2012 | ‘White Light’

Nina Bauer | Marie Schmidt | The Creatives ‘Light and Silence’

AOC Style

Fabiana Semprebom | Troyt Coburn | Marie Claire Australia February 2012 | ‘Endless Summer’

Jeneil Williams | Tony Kim | Styleby #7 Spring 2012 | A New Beginning

Sensuality News

SN Living

Patricia van der Vliet & Emily Baker | Sharif Hamza | W Magazine March 2012 |  ‘Bloom Town’

Linda Vojtova | Zee Nunes | Harper’s Brazil January 2012 | ‘Sonho Plastico’

AOC Sensual Rebel

Color Red + Sexy, Dominant, Dangerous, Strong & Powerful

Wearing red in sports results in more favorable calls than being the ‘blue team’. Students who look at the color red before an exam do worse. Researchers say the color is dominant and intimidating, often resulting in a loss of confidence in the person viewing it.

After all, red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength and power.

xxx