Sexism Has Long Been Part of the Culture of Southern Baptists

Girls carrying cross at father Southern Baptist Convention daughter dance.jpg

Sexism Has Long Been Part of the Culture of Southern Baptists

By Susan M. Shaw, Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Oregon State University. First published on The Conversation

Recent media reports have revealed decades of abuse by Southern Baptist pastors.

Denominational leaders are offering apologies and calling the sexual abuse “evil,” “unjust” and a “barbarity of unrestrained sinful patterns.” Many Southern Baptist leaders are considering action.

As a scholar who has written a book on Southern Baptist women and the church, I’d argue that this scandal has its origins in how Southern Baptists have long and purposefully pushed back against women’s progress.

The ‘woman question’

Since the Southern Baptist Convention’s founding in 1845, Southern Baptists have had a complicated history with women.

Historian Elizabeth Flowers explains that questions of women’s roles as preachers, teachers and deacons were frequent subjects of disagreement among Baptists.