In Good Faith

Do religions encourage gender equality?

Eric Sandras - Christian

Eric Sandras, Ph.D.— Author of four books, “Dr. E” leads The Sanctuary Church in the heart of Old Colorado City and teaches graduate courses in human sexuality, counseling and psychology.

There’s a great scene in Ralph Breaks the Internet where the Disney princesses see the irony of getting to rescue a big strong man in “reel” life (yes, I’ve binged Disney Channel during quarantine). Sometimes we don’t see gender inequality until someone purposely points it out. Jesus challenged many of the gender inequalities of his day and in his own religion. Then he challenged us to “Judge a tree by its fruit” and “Look at the log in your own eye before removing a splinter in someone else’s.” Do all religions encourage gender equality? Just look at the fruit. However, keep in mind what a religion professes and how a culture practices it may be vastly different. The same is often true for you and me!

Arnie Bass - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Arnie Bass is a bishop at Sunset Mesa Ward in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Colorado Springs. He has served in positions of both spiritual and administrative responsibility since 1991.

The doctrines of Jesus Christ, as expounded in the Holy Scriptures, teach that all are alike unto God, black and white, bond and free, male and female. I believe men and women are equal in His sight but have different roles and responsibilities in fulfilling His eternal purposes for them. The fact that religions acknowledge — and even celebrate — that men and women are not the same does not mean that they promote gender inequality. The roles of men and women are exclusively different in the birthing process. There are aspects of nurturing and raising the child that one naturally does better than the other. However, sharing in responsibilities and adaptation because of circumstances is often required.

Julia McKay - Unitarian Universalist

Rev. Julia McKay is the minister of High Plains Church Unitarian Universalist and a professional spiritual companion dedicated to embodied life practices that enhance our deepest ways of knowing.

When people ask why I spell “Godde” this way, they think it is Old English. Actually, it’s my attempt to avoid an assumption. You see, a gendered god has consequences. The way that we imagine our Creative Source is how we imagine ourselves: “Made in the image…” So, if the Ultimate is imagined to be male, it might explain why male-identified people are often granted greater levels of power and authority, and assumed excellence, earned or not. It’s as if these things are essential to men. Women have a vastly different experience. Yet, the Holy is gender-neutral. So yes, it’s religion’s responsibility to present images that enculturate the inherent worth of all, not just some. 

 

Ahriana Platten - New Thought-Unity

Dr. Ahriana Platten is founder-executive director of In Good Faith, leads Unity Spiritual Center and speaks around the country on the topics of interfaith and intercultural understanding.

As a female minister, I have experienced certain religions and denominations that do not believe women are meant to lead. Their teachings, often based on interpretation of scriptures, limit women to tertiary roles. As a girl 12 years of age, I was told by a priest that, due to the “fall of Eve,” I could never serve on the altar of the religion I was raised in. This changed my life and led me to look into other faiths. At the time, it was very painful for me and I felt rejected.  However, that conversation opened the door that led me to pursue my ministerial credentials. Clearly, some religions do not encourage gender equality. 

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