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Bristol University's Christian Union Bans Women From Teaching At Meetings

(106 Posts)
ecclesvet Tue 04-Dec-12 20:56:42


MamaMary Fri 07-Dec-12 10:16:09

My CU was evangelical Christian but allowed women speakers and had several female CU presidents.

Bristol has a Sovereign Grace Ministries affiliated church and I would not be surprised if this is having an influence here. SGM is American but has a few branches in the UK. It is incredibly conservative and anti-women, but has all the trappings of young hip churches such as trendy music with bands, and some charismatic trappings too.

I agree that UCCF became more conservative after Steve Chalks book The Lost Message of the Cross in which he claimed the crucifixion was cosmic child abuse. I remember the controversy well. Chalk's thesis was seen as doctrinally wrong and there was a strong conservative backlash against it.

LRDtheFeministDude Fri 07-Dec-12 10:17:04

They've changed their minds, apparently, and now say women can teach whenever they like - it's in the Guardian.

Nigglenaggle Fri 07-Dec-12 22:36:50

Hmm quick change there....

HolofernesesHead Sat 08-Dec-12 07:27:37

I still think that they're probably young and naive, and had no idea of the reaction this would get from wider society. Undergrads can be very insular, esp in v. clearly defined groups like this one, and be oblivious to what the rest of the world might think of it.

SomeTiggyPudding Sat 08-Dec-12 08:03:40

Why do people expect religious people to make rational choices? They're religious. They don't do facts, they do belief.

LRDtheFeministDude Sat 08-Dec-12 12:17:44

Probably because many religious people do do facts, and it's usually hoped that universities produce people who can be rational in their daily lives even if they are religious. It's not ok to discriminate because you think a higher being told you to do so.

HolofernesesHead Sat 08-Dec-12 12:51:29

...whereas non-religious people don't do belief and only do facts? Yeah, right...that's exactly how it works. (Some religious people do do sarcasm. That's a fact, by the way, not a belief.)

LRD - your response is much more garcious than mine!

LRDtheFeministDude Sat 08-Dec-12 13:02:23

Yours is funnier, though.

I would like to be garcious.

HolofernesesHead Sat 08-Dec-12 13:51:33

grin Yes, Garcious would be a very good thing to be!

So, as we see on the evidence here adduced, some religious people aren't very good at proof-reading. Another fact! At this rate I'll be kicked out of the fellowship by tea-time!

LRDtheFeministDude Sat 08-Dec-12 14:08:45

Or, religious people make up words.

I prefer that theory.

MariaMandarin Sat 08-Dec-12 15:22:10

I don't expect much in the way of rationality from religious believers either, sorry. So many religions are anti-woman that I am not surprised by the Bristol Christian Union. I wish all religions could be different, but they aren't, and I don't see it changing any time soon. The arguments for equality have been won in society as whole. Religious institutions are the last bastions of organised sexism and homophobia.

LRDtheFeministDude Sat 08-Dec-12 15:48:45

'The arguments for equality have been won in society as whole. Religious institutions are the last bastions of organised sexism and homophobia.'

Speaking of irrational statements ... that's one.

It's just not true. You really believe the 'arguments for equality have been won'? Why?

MariaMandarin Sat 08-Dec-12 16:15:55

Discrimination on the grounds of gender or sexuality is prohibited by law. Except religious institutions are allowed to opt out.

LRDtheFeministDude Sat 08-Dec-12 16:22:31

That's only one facet, though.

Women are still not treated as equals, and homophobia isn't restricted to religious organizations.

MariaMandarin Sat 08-Dec-12 16:28:07

I didn't say that there was no sexism or homophobia except within religion. But the general principles of equality are widely accepted except within religion. I think the law reflects this.

LRDtheFeministDude Sat 08-Dec-12 16:34:40

Oh, sorry ... I thought when you said the arguments had been won elsewhere, and religious institutions were the last bastions of sexism/homophobia, that was what you meant.

Gender principles of equality aren't widely accepted, sadly. The law hasn't yet managed to do this, as you can see from the way women are politically, economically and socially disadvantaged.

MariaMandarin Sat 08-Dec-12 16:42:37

I think the argument has been won, yes. That doesn't mean that individuals always act in the way that they should. Religious organisations don't even pay lip service to equality. They are actively against it.

LRDtheFeministDude Sat 08-Dec-12 16:46:02

I see what you're saying. I don't agree though - there are plenty of places where the law doesn't really uphold women's rights, IMO.

I think you're generalizing pretty unfairly about religious organizations, too.

MariaMandarin Sat 08-Dec-12 16:48:52

Which religious organisations are supporters of equality? The Quakers and Unitarians are doing well in the gay marriage debate. But they are minor players.

LRDtheFeministDude Sat 08-Dec-12 16:50:55

Yes, but I think it's important to support even 'minor players', because IMO that's how you get things to change.

I think they're important, because they show that some people can and do combine their own religious beliefs with a belief in equality.

MariaMandarin Sat 08-Dec-12 17:05:58

I know that some individual people do combine their religious beliefs with a belief in equality, but the organisations themselves are not willing to do so. It's very difficult to form a rational response to such explicit discrimination. Especially when we all live in a society where we know that most people are aware, at least on a theoretical level, that discrimination on the ground of gender or sexuality is considered wrong.

LRDtheFeministDude Sat 08-Dec-12 17:20:34

But the groups you mentioned, those are institutions.

I take your point that most people are aware that discrimination based on gender is wrong (in theory), even if they don't follow that up in practice. But I think it misrepresents the situation to suggest this is so wildly different from some religious institutions, when the reality is that so many people act in a way that's not informed by the theory.

MariaMandarin Sat 08-Dec-12 17:37:56

I think it is fundamentally different, because religious organisations enshrine discrimination within their practice and doctrine. They do accept that discrimination is wrong. They are in favour of explicit discrimination.

HolofernesesHead Sun 09-Dec-12 14:40:01

Well, speaking as an Anglican who has had this conversation ad nauseum this month, 42 out of 44 dioceses wanted women bishops. There was a massive mismatch between what people in the C of E wanted, and how their representatives in Synod voted. Just to say that the C of E is misogynistic is way too simplistic and, largely, simply untrue. But let's not let the facts get in the way of a good prejudice, eh? Especially as we religious people are so irrational, incapable of holding a civilised discussion, and all...

MariaMandarin Sun 09-Dec-12 18:31:30

The facts don't get in the way, they fully support my point. The Anglican church is discriminatory towards women. Whether every Christian in the country wishes it wasn't so is irrelevant.

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