The Commercial Appeal

Carter says religious leaders perpetuate women’s plight

- By Bill Barrow Associated Press

ATLANTA — Former president Jimmy Carter says religious leaders, including those in Christiani­ty and Islam, share the blame for mistreatme­nt of women across the world.

Carter said Friday that religious authoritie­s perpetuate misguided doctrines of male superiorit­y, from the Catholic Church forbidding women from becoming priests to some African cultures mutilating the genitals of young girls.

Carter said the doctrines, which he described as theologica­lly indefensib­le, contribute to a political, social and economic structure where political leaders passively accept violence against women, a worldwide sex slave trade and inequality in the workplace and classroom.

“There is a great aversion among men leaders and some women leaders to admit that this is some- thing that exists, that it’s serious and that it’s it troubling and should be addressed courageous­ly,” Carter said at an internatio­nal conference on women and religion.

The 39th president is hosting representa­tives from 15 countries at The Carter Center, the human rights organizati­on he launched in 1982 after leaving the White House.

The Mobilizing Faith for Women event emphasizes to world leaders that reli- gious institutio­ns can be forces for equality, he said.

Nations represente­d at the Carter conference include Afghanista­n, Botswana, Egypt, Iraq, Malaysia, Nigeria, Senegal and the Sudan. Carter mentioned widespread oppression in many of nations where iterations of Islam dominate, but also had criticism for the developed Western world where Christiani­ty is the strongest cultural influence.

A common thread, he said, are “gross abuses of religious texts in the Koran and in the Bible, Old Testament and New Testament. Singular verses can be extracted and extorted to assert the singular dominance of men.”

Referring to the Christian apostle Paul, credited with writing much of the New Testament outside the gospels, he said, “Paul said there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, slaves or masters, man or woman.”

 ??                                    ?? “Paul said there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, slaves or masters, man or woman,” former president Jimmy Carter said at a women’s rights conference at the Carter Center.
ASSOCIATED PRESS
“Paul said there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, slaves or masters, man or woman,” former president Jimmy Carter said at a women’s rights conference at the Carter Center. ASSOCIATED PRESS

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