WOMEN IN MALE DOMINATED RELIGIONS
It is difficult to conceive that God is predominantly a male figure, or at least, has male attributes. The God of the Judeo/Christian and Muslim religion is a solitary figure, with no need of a female companion. Christians give him a son, “in whom I am well pleased” said at Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan. God is a father figure. There are judges and prophet-like women in the Old Testament. Christians claim the birth of the son of God through a virgin (it was as if a married woman would be spoiled). These religions place a high price on virginity. In conservative Judasism, Christianity and Islam, males ascend to the highest priesthood. There are no female Archbishops of Canterbury (Anglican) or female Pope, or Chief Rabbi in Israel.
How do women fit into these male dominated religions? I’ll start with Islam. It is my understanding that Muslim women can be divided into angry persons, ambivalent/passive, or fearful.
The angry women insist that they are practicing Islam including the modest dress code. They claim that the west does not understand Islam and the role of women in it.
The ambiguent women live within the religion and the culture and seem to have no complaints. They may be in a westernized country where they can live in both worlds, or they may not take their religion seriously.
Fearful women within Islam are trying to understand their role and figure out if the rules applied to them come from the Koran or cultural man-made laws. They question why they have to sit in the back of the mosque and cannot lead prayers. They may object to be lectured by the men about why they must wear the hijab. These women will not protet for fear of male violence.
Buddhism allows for people to make choices and interpret the religion.
Most Buddhist women in Asia may not be literate or vote, but they seem contet in a religion that seems gentler than Judaism/Christianity and Islam.
Catholic Women fall into two basic categories – the “faithful” and the “radicals.” The “faithful” women adhere to Church tradition and dogma (all the rules). The more conservative orders still wear habits that come from the time of Mary (Jesus’ mother) and from the medieval era.
The radicals are basically ‘trouble-makers.’ Radicals whether they are nuns or lay women, are too modern! They question, question, question. They refuse to believe that they cannot become priests. “Nuns on the Bus” are sisters who dress in modern clothes and take on social issues in the Untied States. While the Vatican tries to repress priests and nuns who take on governments and act politically, these nuns will not “keep quiet.” The new Pope, Francis, has once again, asked all nuns to be “obedient to Rome.”
Seventy-Two Female Priests Ordained without the Vatican’s Permission: Many women have left the Catholic Church to seek the priesthood or ministry in Protestant denominations All priests in mainline Christian churches need a bishop to ordain them as priests. And seventy-two females have found such bishops and now consider themselves Roman Catholic Priests. They say that they get their authority from God, and not the Vatican.
Rev. Eleanora Marinaro was ordained through the Catholic womanpriests organization. Marinaro has doctorates in Jungian therapy, pastoral counseling and ministry. She doesn’t have a congregation and instead focuses much of her work on pastoral counseling and dream analysis which provides her with an income.
The Church of England (Anglican) synod meeting last November, 2012 voted against women bishops. There was such a backlash, that the Church has since announced that 2015 will probably be the year for such a promotion for women!
Many women have left the Catholic Church to seek the priesthood or ministry in Protestant denominations. Lesbians often will join the Metropolitan Community Churches to join their gay brothers in Christian worship.