Posted by Tom McFeely
Tuesday, July 21, 2009 11:15 AMJimmy Carter has announced he is leaving the Southern Baptist Convention because of his opposition to the church’s attitude toward women.
One can certainly empathize with Carter’s legitimate concerns about the mistreatment women endure in many societies. But he makes it clear he isn’t just taking issue with the Southern Baptists or their contemporary views on this issue; in the commentary he published July 15 in Australia’s The Age newspaper about his decision, he attacks other religions for their positions regarding the equality of women.
And his article, titled “Losing My Religion for Equality,” also implicitly attacks the Catholic Church for allegedly purging the Christian religion of the women leaders who, according to Carter, were a prominent feature of the first three centuries of the history of the Christianity:
During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets. It wasn’t until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy.
Carter cites no authorities to back up these unhistorical claims, but it’s highly unlikely he’s basing his arguments on a careful consideration of historical evidence anyway. Instead, the former president is seeking to rewrite both history and religion to make them conform with his personal beliefs.