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  3. Prominent Christian Figures Contempt and Debase Woman

Prominent Christian Figures Contempt and Debase Woman

Auther : Fawzi Alghadiri
7452 2010/06/03 2024/06/22
Article translated to : العربية Русский


these religious texts must have influenced prominent christian figures raised under the mantle of christianity and who had a deep impact on christian mentality. they spoke in the name of christianity and delivered its views on the status of woman in this religion:


  • saint thomas aquinas, the 'great' catholic philosopher and theologian, said: "as regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active power of the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of a woman comes from defect in the active power, malaise in the substance, or even from some external influences such as south humid wind as noted by aristotle, the philosopher."[4]


  • even martin luther king did not give woman her right and wrote: "god created adam master and lord of living creatures, but eve spoilt all, when she persuaded him to set himself above god’s will. ‘tis you women, with your tricks and artifices that lead men into error… women…have but small and narrow chests, and broad hips, to the end that they should remain at home, sit still, keep house, and bear and bring up children."[5]


  • pope john paul ii used to tour in the countries with high population density to tell women that they were prohibited from birth control or abortion even in cases of incest or rape. he ordered women to return to the traditional role as "obedient, followers and servants to their husbands." he used to refuse to listen to those who defend the right of women to be a priest in the catholic church which opposes, today as well as in the middle ages, the appointment of women as priests, because the menstruating priest would profane the altar. [6] up till now, the catholic encyclopedia acknowledges that women are inferior to men, "both in body and spirit." bbc website wrote about this: "john paul ii refused to discuss the possibility of ordaining women as priests - despite the desperate shortage of new priests and the fact that that there are twice as many women religious (i.e. nuns) as there are men. this was a brick wall for women. not only did the pope clearly say that he would not have women ordained, he was making it clear that the church could never, ever ordain women. it was one of those eternal truths that could never be changed, something emphasised in 1995 when the church made it clear that this was an infallible teaching."[7]


  • at freethinkers united conference in 1997, annette van howe, founder and president of women's union of florida (1989-1992) said on woman in christianity: "i will read to you few extracts: st. augsntin said 'any woman who does not give birth to as much as she can will be guilty of killing those to whom she has not give birth'. she added: 'martin luther, a protestant clergyman, as we all know, said: 'women should remain at home, sit still, keep house, and bear and bring up children.' john knox, the christian scottish priest, declared: 'in her great perfection, was created to serve and obey man not to govern and order him.' in 1968, a christian priest from houston wrote about how to treat women, 'it seems that almost every woman needs a man with authority to love', and gave this example of how he reached this fact: 'our family hound will appear in the yard to get a soft strike on its head. the same apply to the wife who often appears in the city, at home, in the room, in your thinking and in everything to give you her love, if you give her yourself and bestow your authority on her.' annette van howe concluded: "i fear that these trends are still prevalent today because at the fourth world conference for women, which i attended in beijing, the church tried to thwart the spread of ideas related to the selection of special reproduction. i am happy that it did not succeed. their motivation has not changed as they still want to keep women pregnant, busy cooking, raising children and busy with their church."[8]


  • josephine henry, a pioneer feminist activist in the nineteenth century, reprimanded the church on its trend which differentiated between both genders over centuries: "has the church ever issued a decree that recognizes that women must enjoy equal rights with men before civil law? there is no institution in the modern era that is more authoritarian and unfair towards women than christian church. it asks woman everything and gives her nothing in return. the history of the church does not contain any proposal calling for equality for women ... in spite of the existence of only tyranny and falsehood, which subjugated women."[9]


  • st. john chrysostom (345-407), the path of constantinople, said: "no barbarian monster is more dangerous than woman."[10]


  • st. john chrysostom also said about women, "leave them without education but let them join the ranks of learners."[11] he harshly rebuked women saying: "when the church needs to a person to be responsible for the church and to be trusted to protect many lives, make all women stay away from such as important matter ... the divine law prevents women from entering the priesthood but they want to enter by force."[12]


  • the first fathers of the church believed that woman was a problem because through her sin had penetrated through the world. tertullian addressed woman saying, "you're the door from which the devil. you misguide those who the devil does not dare to attack directly. it is your mistake that caused the death of the son of god. you will always lament and tear your clothes out of your sadness for him." [13]


  • pope gregory i, known as 'the great', says about women: "women understand but slowly and their naïve uncertain mind as natural weakness leads to the inevitability of their presence in the powerful grip of their husbands. women have two functions: animal sex and motherhood."[14]


  • elizabeth schüssler-fiorenza wrote about the 'silence' of women: "women are not only a silent majority but a majority forced to keep silence in the catholic roman church ..... during the visit of pope john paul ii of the netherlands last may, ms. christina halks, the pioneer women of the catholic church in europe, was prevented from addressing the archbishop."[15]


  • according to the english general law: "... upon marriage, all wife's real property becomes the property of her husband. he is authorized to lease the land or take any profit resulting from the operation of property during marriage." over time, the english court devised means to prevent the husband from transferring the ownership or real property without the consent of the wife, but it still gives him the right to manage property and take advantage of the resulting profit. as for the personal property of the wife, the husband had the full right to dispose of them as he deems appropriate.[16]


  • in his essay "subordination of women", john stuart mill wrote: "we consistently say that civilization and christianity have given back women's fair rights while she is in fact a slave without wage for her husband and she is no less than those claimed to be slaves as recognized in the law."[17]


  • with regard to the right of divorce, the evangelical encyclopedia biblica indicates that: "as one of the man's property, his right to divorce her is a natural expected matter."[18] the right to divorce is only for men. "in the law of moses divorce is a prerogative of only the husband."[19]


  • in their book marriage east and west, david and vera mars write: "let us not assume that christian heritage is free from these belittling views. it is hard to find anywhere references that refer to belittling the value of women more than you can find in the references of early church fathers. the famous historian leakey wrote about 'the strong incentives that have created this heterogeneous legacy that is contrary to the taste of the writings of the fathers ... woman is the gate of hell and mother of all human diseases so she should be ashamed of being a woman and live in permanent expiation for the curses she caused to exist in the world. woman should be ashamed of her dress for it is the reminder of her fall and should be ashamed of her beauty in particular because it is the strongest and most effective way of the devil.) tertullian's attack against woman is one of the cruelest: 'do you know that all of you are eve? god's punishment on your sex is found in this age and necessarily sin exists as well. you are the gate through which the devil enters of satan and you are the motive to the forbidden tree. you are the first to abandon the divine law and the ones who can convince those whom the devil cannot attack. o man, you have shattered the image of god so easily. because of your desertion - death – even the son of god had to die.) not only did the church belittled the value of woman but also stripped her of the legal rights she used to enjoy."[20]


these statements and extracts from the bible and some christian figures show beyond doubt that christian woman does not enjoy any distinctive status and that she is below the christian man who shows his control and influence on this poor woman. the christian man does not hesitate or feel embarrassed to describe women with the severest descriptions that degrade her dignity and undermine her self-confidence. he considers her the cause of vices and mother of evils. it is clear from these givens that women should accept this humiliation and submission to man without any opposition or demand for mere respect let alone equal rights. woman, as understand and inferred from these texts, is mere property owned by christian man who may dispose of it the way he likes. it is strange that western critics used all these qualities to describe muslim woman. they consider that the muslim men is the one who treats woman in the same way the christian man treats christian women. however, this will be proven to be invalid and groundless when we clarify the status of women in islam.


[4] clark, elizabeth, women and religion: a feminist sourcebook of christian thought, new york, harper & row, 1977., p. 87.

[5] walker, barbara, the woman's encyclopedia of myths and secrets, new york, harper & row, 1983, p. 923.

[6] reuther, rosemary, religion and sexism, new york, 1974, p. 272ff

[7] bbc web site, religion/ christianity / the pope. page 3 of 9

[8] annette  van howe, freethinkers united conference,orlando, florida 1997

[9] walker, barbara, the woman's encyclopedia of myths and secrets, new york, harper & row, 1983, p. 924.

[10] john chrysostum, discourse 2 on genesis p.g. 54:589.

[11] john chrysostom, homily 9 on 1 timothy. p.g. 62:544.

[12] john chrysostom. on the priesthood, p.g. 48. 633.

[13] tertullian. on the dress of women, in patrologia graeca, 70:59

[14] gregory the great, in p.g. 59, 268

[15] schüssler-fiorenza, elizabeth, breakinq the silence - becominq visible in women invisible in church and theology, concilium, t and t clark, london, december 1985, p 3

[16] encyclopedia american international (edition), vol. 29, p. 108.

[17] mace, marriage east and west, pp. 82-83.

[18] encyclopedia biblica, 1902, vol.3, p 2947

[19] the encyclopedia britannica, 11th ed., op.cit., p. 782.

[20] mace, marriage east and west, pp. 80-81.



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