Poor Jimmy Carter wasn’t much of a president so he’s trying his hand as theologian it seems. In the latest issue of Time Magazine, Carter criticizes the Catholic Church for not ordaining women.
I think there’s a slow, very slow, move around the world to give women equal rights in the eyes of God. What has been the case for many centuries is that the great religions, the major religions, have discriminated against women in a very abusive fashion and set an example for the rest of society to treat women as secondary citizens. In a marriage or in the workplace or wherever, they are discriminated against. And I think the great religions have set the example for that, by ordaining, in effect, that women are not equal to men in the eyes of God.
This has been done and still is done by the Catholic Church ever since the third century, when the Catholic Church ordained that a woman cannot be a priest for instance but a man can. A woman can be a nurse or a teacher but she can’t be a priest. This is wrong, I think…
It seems that Carter can only view the Church through a secular lens. He doesn’t allow at all that there may be a theological reason for the Church not ordaining women. For him it’s simply an equal rights issue. Anything that doesn’t agree with his political stance on this issue is, according to him, just wrong.’
When asked what Scripture verse guides his work on human rights, he once again criticizes the Church and says that sometime in the third century men “took over” the Church. He says this despite the fact that there’s no evidence that the Church ordained women as priests. But Carter knows best, you know.
…if you look at some of the verses I think in Romans, I can’t remember exactly, maybe Acts, or Romans in the 16th chapter, Paul delineates a lot of top leaders in the church and about a third of them are women. So I think in the original status of the Christian church, women played a very important role, even in the leadership role. And then after about the third century when men took over control of the Catholic Church, then they began to ordain that women had to play an inferior position, not be a priest.
He then blames the Church for human rights abuses.
I think that what the major religious leaders say is used by others who discriminate against women as justification for their human rights abuse. For instance if an employer, who might be otherwise enlightened, if he is a religious person and he sees that, he might be a Catholic, and a Catholic does not let women be priests, then why should he pay his women employees an equal pay [as men]?
I don’t have time to blog more on this but I think we can all agree it’s pretty outrageous for a former president to criticize the Church, especially since he seems to have zero understanding of it.