Southeastern California Conference Interim Communicaiton Director Enno Mueller issued a release Thursday announcing that SECC will move ahead with the ordination of women. The statement issued by email and on the SECC website states that this action will immediately take effect.
Some day when church historians look back at this era, 2012 may prove to be the year when the tide turned in favor of ordination equality in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. On New Year's Day, a group composed of pastors, scholars, theologians and administrators launched an initiative called ONE in Christ, ONE being an acronym for Ordain Now Equally. The initiative builds on momentum from recent actions taken by the North American Division and the Trans European Division to allow commissioned ministers to serve as conference presidents.
On the whole, Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof do an exemplary job of taking complex and thorny issues, illustrating them with compelling narratives, giving them human faces and proposing viable solutions to seemingly intractable problems.
However, in chapters eleven and twelve of Half the Sky, as the authors move from the descriptive task of characterizing the oppression of women to the prescriptive task of suggesting fixes, they open themselves to critique. I offer mine below.
Kristof and WuDunn traverse some very thorny ground in their fifth chapter of Half The Sky--The Cult of Virginity, Idealized Chastity, Hymen Worship and Honor Killings. Texts from societies around the world idealize female chastity, but the most chilling and maddening may be the biblical command to stone to death a girl who does not bleed on her wedding sheets. It is with this text, Deuteronomy 22:13-21, that the authors begin their examination of sexual honor and violence.
During the 2009 North American Division Year-end Meeting (YEM), delegates voted to allow ordained/commissioned ministers to be conference presidents. The vote was rescinded at Elder Jan Paulsen's request pending anticipated discussion of the issue at the 2010 General Conference Session. Both Elder Paulsen and then NAD President Don Schneider promised that if the discussion did not come to the floor at the GC Session, the delegates at the NAD's 2010 YEM could revisit the issue. During the 2010 GC Session, the discussion never made the agenda.
Is this a case in which an arm of the Church (that is La Sierra University, through Board Chair Ricardo Graham) merely upheld the Church's religious standards against consuming alcohol and using profanity, offenses potentially punishable by dismissal within the Church? Or is this a case of wrongful termination based on the illegal transcription and distribution of a non-consensual recording of a private conversation?