Monday, August 20, 2007

This week's sign of the feminist apocalypse.

Just to be up-front about this, I am:
  • a liberal ("card-carrying," as they say),
  • a democrat, and
  • a feminist.
So it was with some disgust that I read this weekend's AP story about Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's new Bachelor of Arts in Humanities with a concentration in homemaking.

I'm sorry, I need a moment. There, that's better.

I should say - I read the story in the Grand Rapids Press, and I thought it was about one of the myriad local private religious "colleges." I was disappointed that it wasn't - Grand Rapids is a lovely town, it really is, but it would be nice to be home to the hotel with a women-only floor AND a degree program in homemaking. Maybe we can institute some sort of skirts-above-the-knee law for non-white people or some such thing, and get back into first place in the "Most Conservative Town in America" competition. But I digress.

That the Baptist church in general, and SWBTS (I can't continue to type that whole thing out) specifically, is male-dominated can be taken as read. But the overt subjugation of women in this case is a little startling.

Putting aside the obvious implication that women are most capable to be "homemakers," and the "a woman's highest calling" crapola, there's some fairly sneaky suppression going on within the program - not only are women unfit to hold positions of leadership in the church or the college (they are currently fighting a wrongful termination lawsuit from a female former professor), they are also unfit to minister to men specifically. According to the "college" website, the degree program prepares a woman to "be an evangelist and apologist focused upon reaching women, children and families for Christ." See how it works? Men minister to everyone, women minister to...other women. Oh, and children. It's all very scary - perhaps none more than the word "apologist." I'm not even sure HOW to react to that one.

Grrrr. Look, I'm Catholic, and the continued suppression of women in my church is depressing and disgusting. But this is beyond the pale - the notion that women must continue to fulfill some sort of outmoded "role" and not even strive to find their own place in the world...well, it's sad and pitiable, really.

We have SO much work to do.

No comments: