In many historical books I have read, the expanded and therefore improved role of women is said to be a significant aspect of early American “exceptionalism”, what made the American experience special and therefore powerful. Women in the earliest days of this country supposedly enjoyed an elevated status because the isolation of the
On this Mothers Day, churches throughout this country will extol the virtue and contributions of our mothers and rightly so. Great emphasis will be placed on the role of mothers in providing the earliest spiritual guidance to the young. In focusing attention on motherhood the church will both praise women and in that act reinforce what the church has always seen as the proper role of women. Still in our day, many in the fundamentalist churches, even the women themselves, want to limit the spiritual and intellectual freedom of women, still maintaining that God has assigned gender specific roles.
As in everything else, the church’s teachings on the subject of women is based on selecting certain scriptures and ignoring contravening passages which support gender equality. With inerrancy as an assumed given, the church can admit no contradiction and such “cherrypicking” has become the norm.
Even in the 21st century we live in a testosterone driven world, where strength, aggressiveness, and even ruthlessness are seen as the real virtues, instead of the biblical fruits of the spirit. This is unfortunately true within the church as much as elsewhere. If we want to truly honor our mothers, it’s time to relinquish the idea that God has made them subordinate and by implication intellectually and spiritually inferior to our fathers. Both were made perfectly in the eyes of God and need no church sanction to exercise their God given right to full equality.