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Jimmy Carter Leaves Church Over Treatment of Women
July 20, 2009
Politics Daily

After more than 60 years together, Jimmy Carter has announced himself at
odds with the Southern Baptist Church -- and he's decided it's time they go
their separate ways. Via Feministing, the former president called the decision
"unavoidable" after church leaders prohibited women from being ordained and
insisted women be "subservient to their husbands." Said Carter in an essay in
The Age:

At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes
of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and
national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls
and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny
them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their
own communities.

And, later:

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.

After watching everyone from philandering politicians to Iran's president taking
a sudden look heavenwards when the roof starts to come down on them, it's
refreshing to see Carter calling out the role of religion in the mistreatment of
women.

The question for Carter -- and for others who find themselves at odds with
leadership -- is, when a group you're deeply involved in starts to move away
from your own core beliefs, do you stay and try to change from within or, at
some point, do you have to look for the exit? Carter did give the former a shot
-- in recent years publicly criticizing and distancing himself from church
leadership, while staying involved with his church.
Resigning on principle