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Nicholas Kristof recently wrote an Op-Ed in the NY Times about women and religion, illustrating the oppressive nature that religion continues to exert upon women, excluding them from hierarchies and rituals and failing to denounce blatantly sexist and oppressive practices and passages in their primary source documents.

In fact, one could effectively argue that religion has been more universally damaging to women’s rights than any other institution. 

Jimmy Carter, working with religious leaders on the issue of women’s rights, recently said:

“Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths, creating an environment in which violations against women are justified.  The belief that women are inferior human beings in the eyes of God gives excuses to the brutal husband who beats his wife, the soldier who rapes a woman, the employer who has a lower pay scale for women employees, or parents who decide to abort a female embryo.”

It’s hard for me to argue with Kristof or Carter.  From the barring of women from the priesthood to the segregation of men and women in conservative temples, I have seen this forced inequality with my own eyes.  And while I could easily cite a hundred passages from the Bible, Torah or Koran that call for the subjugation, physical abuse and and murder of women at the hands of men, I won’t list any of them here.  The passages are easy enough to find, and I suspect that you are aware of them already, considering their plentitude.  

As a result, I find it odd and inexplicable that most of my male friends who attend church or temple regularly are encouraged, coerced or forced to do so by their wives, despite the historically oppressive force that these institutions have been.

Even the most liberally-minded religious institutions continue to teach from and adhere to texts with clearly promote the oppression and degradation of women.

So I ask: What gives, ladies? 

Why would so many of you so hell-bent on dragging your husbands and children to institutions that have been so destructive to womankind over the years? 

And by all my friends’ accounts, you do so without so much as a peep of protest over the patriarchal doctrine, rituals, or texts that are so clearly oppressive to you and your daughters.

Explain.  Please.