IFAS | Freedom Writer | March 1996 | question.html

Why does the religious right hate women?

Obviously, women have their place among the leadership of the Radical Religious Right. Two examples immediately come to mind. Phyllis Schlafly, founder of Eagle Forum is the first. However, Schlafly, a Roman Catholic, came into the Religious Right as a sort of outsider when she led the fight against the Equal Rights Amendment. Nevertheless, she champions the agenda of the Radical Religious Right and is therefore useful to the male leadership.

The second example is Beverly LaHaye, founder of Concerned Women for America (CWA). CWA is practically an outgrowth of the Rev. Tim LaHaye's earlier American Coalition for Traditional Values (ACTV); CWA used to be referred to as a "sister-organization" of ACTV. During its heyday, the now-defunct ACTV was run entirely by men. At the time, Beverly needed something to do, so she started a small women's prayer group in her kitchen that really caught on. Now, she gets top billing over Tim, who has his office in the same building as CWA, and exerts considerable influence over the organization. Also, a man, the Rev. Jim Woodall is the number-twoerson at CWA.

Christian fundamentalists do think there is a place for women and that is at home, at least until the children they're supposed to bear are grown. Because of their narrow interpretation of the Bible, many conservative male Christian leaders see women as "the weaker sex." This is because of the Adam and Eve story in the third chapter of Genesis. According to the story, Eve was made as a helper for Adam for the man.

As the story goes, Eve displayed her weakness by eating the forbidden fruit, and then tempted Adam to eat it also. As the punishment for Eve, God prescribed pain in childbearing, and said that forevermore the husband shall rule over the wife.

Later, the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Christians in Corinth (I Cor. 11:7-9), "For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man."

In writing to his friend Titus (Titus 2:5), Paul said that women are "to be...keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God not be blasphemed."

So, it's not exactly as if male conservative Christian leaders hate women, but their adherence to Scripture makes them sexist and intolerant of women's equality. Many of the female Christian leaders have embraced the same Biblical teachings and join with the male Christian leaders against "militant feminists."

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.