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Religion, Women, and Violence

In his most recent op-ed for the New York Times, Nicholas D. Kristof writes about the way that religions treat women.

Religions derive their power and popularity in part from the ethical compass they offer. So why do so many faiths help perpetuate something that most of us regard as profoundly unethical: the oppression of women?

It is not that warlords in Congo cite Scripture to justify their mass rapes (although the last warlord I met there called himself a pastor and wore a button reading “rebels for Christ”). It’s not that brides are burned in India as part of a Hindu ritual. And there’s no verse in the Koran that instructs Afghan thugs to throw acid in the faces of girls who dare to go to school.

Yet these kinds of abuses — along with more banal injustices, like slapping a girlfriend or paying women less for their work — arise out of a social context in which women are, often, second-class citizens. That’s a context that religions have helped shape, and not pushed hard to change.

The Department of Women’s Ministries of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency are working to change this.

They are doing this, in part, through the end it now campaign. I like the tagline: Adventists Say No to Violence Against Women.

Enditnow seeks to extend God’s vision of love and compassion for all His children.

Domestic violence has been documented as a major issue within the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Incidences of abuse follow trends documented in non-Adventist populations. This is why enditnow seeks to increase personal awareness, responsibility, and involvement to effectively help end violence against women and girls in every family and community.

The End It Now campaign offers hope for change. By educating Adventists around the world, as I understand that it seeks to do, as well as gather signatures as an Adventist witness at the United Nations, this seems to be an well-crafted campaign.

In the op-ed, Kristof continues:

“Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths, creating an environment in which violations against women are justified,” former President Jimmy Carter noted in a speech last month to the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Australia.

While Adventists work to stop violations against women, it is essential that we also understand the vital connection between how we treat women in the church structure, not just in the home. It is only when we realize that violations of institutional equality lead to myriad violence, that we will truly end it now.

Here are end it now resources. Join Adventists in saying no.

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