Women Can Teach; You Just Can’t Be Obliged to Listen

Thanks (of a sort) to Dan J, who pointed me to an article on the question of whether it’s okay for good Christian men to listen to the speeches of a popular woman evangelical. Its title? “Is It Wrong for Men to Listen to Female Speakers?” The answer?

We don’t need to be picky on this. The Bible is clear that women shouldn’t teach and have authority over men. In context, I think this means that women shouldn’t be the authoritative teachers of the church-they shouldn’t be elders. That is the way Rick Warrenis understanding it, and most of us understand it that way.

This doesn’t mean you can’t learn from a woman, or that she is incompetent and can’t think. It means that there is a certain dynamic between maleness and femaleness that when a woman begins to assume an authoritative teaching role in your life the manhood of a man and the womanhood of a woman is compromised.

What I just said is unbelievably controversial. There are thousands, even millions of people that think this idea is absolutely obscene.

Personally, I find it all terribly…convenient.

Yes, of course you can use women to carry your message, but that doesn’t actually put them in any position to argue with you. It doesn’t give them any right to challenge your unearned authority. That is, of course, what religion is all about for you. As long as you get to keep the privilege of making your whims and prejudices everyone else’s business, you’ll let a few women make ridiculous amounts of money talking about them too. You’ll let them be persuasive and emotional on your behalf. But only as long as they agree with you.

Not that these few women get nothing out of the deal. The person who asked the question knows, even if the fellow answering it doesn’t, that it isn’t that simple to deny the authority of a persuasive speaker. That’s why he asked. But even beyond that, that rare woman who is publicly both forceful and humble enough to be allowed that job becomes a very special snowflake indeed.

So, yes, dear boys. You are allowed to listen to women speakers. You just can’t, you know, listen to them.

And girls, you may allow yourself to strive very hard to be the sort of woman who is occasionally allowed to be heard. Or, if you find the idea as obscenely regressive as author L. M. Montgomery did more than a hundred years ago, you can always see how well your church does without your help.

Women Can Teach; You Just Can’t Be Obliged to Listen

The Contraband Library

File under Things That Made My Day: What could make a Catholic schoolgirl more appealing than running a lending library of books her school has banned?

Nekochan wrote about the recent book ban: “I was absolutely appalled, because a huge number of the books were classics and others that are my favorites. One of my personal favorites, The Catcher in the Rye, was on the list, so I decided to bring it to school to see if I would really get in trouble. Well… I did but not too much. Then (surprise!) a boy in my English class asked if he could borrow the book because he heard it was very good AND it was banned! This happened a lot and my locker got to overflowing with banned books, so I decided to put the unoccupied locker next to me to a good use. I now have 62 books in that locker, about half of what was on the list.”

This is a win all around. With Nekochan’s help, these kids are not only challenging the arbitrary authority of their school and their religion. They’re also getting a better education than they would even if the books were assigned.

Nekochan recognizes the risk that she could get in trouble for supplying her classmates with banned books, but she believes that she is in the right. “Before I started [the library], almost no kid at school but myself took an active interest in reading! Now not only are all the kids reading the banned books, but go out of their way to read anything they can get their hands on. So I’m doing a good thing, right?”

Absolutely right, Nekochan.

[ETA: See the comments for doubts raised about the truth of this story–some silly and some more serious.]

The Contraband Library

We Are Indeed on a Slippery Slope

By now, an awful lot of people have seen Rabbi Moshe Averick’s blatherings about how atheism will inevitably lead to pedophilia. They’ll have noticed that he quotes a couple of academic philosophers–those leaders of popular thought–to prove how we’re putting the world’s children at ever greater risk. They’ll have noticed that he claims that a religion without any textual prohibitions against sex with children is all that stands in our way. They’ll have recalled that the world’s single largest religious organization has a craptastic track record on using their authority to do anything other than perpetuate child sexual abuse. That’s all good, but that’s not what I want to talk about.

I want to talk about this slippery slope concept the good rabbi puts out there:

Since these values are nothing more than reflections of the prevalent subjective preferences they obviously will shift and metamorphose to accommodate changing needs and attitudes. In my own lifetime I have witnessed radical societal swings in moral behavior and attitudes regarding marriage and sexuality, homosexuality, the killing of unborn children, euthanasia, and the use of illicit drugs.

One can reasonably predict that as the infatuation with skepticism and atheism grows among the influential “intellectual elite” of our society, so too will their readiness to embrace more radical changes in moral values. Religious believers expressing dismay and horror at the ominous moral storm clouds looming on the horizon are met with smug derision, hysterical counter-accusations, or utter indifference. There is nothing that atheistic societies are incapable of rationalizing and accepting – including the sexual molestation of children.

Continue reading “We Are Indeed on a Slippery Slope”

We Are Indeed on a Slippery Slope