How the Evangelical Church is Failing Women

Jan 26, 2016

by Kristy Love

As the calendar reflects 2016, I’m vaguely aware of an anniversary. Or maybe a birth. Either way, I’m reminded my new found atheism is about a year old. Surprising, only because I never thought I’d ever claim to be an atheist. Nor would anyone who has known me for any length of my adulthood. At this point, atheism is probably something of my identity, too. Just as much as I once claimed to be a devout, Bible-believing fundamental evangelical Christian.

Yes, that kind of Christian. A supporter of foreign missionaries, a Women’s Ministry Leader, a Vacation Bible School veteran many times over, Evangelism team leader, Homeless Ministry, Youth and Adult Sunday School Leader, Prayer Volunteer, Food Pantry, a steward like no other.

A faithful above and beyond tither— I could clock volunteer hours in nearly every corner of the ministry world. There was nothing I’d turn down if given the opportunity—not unusual when you believe assignments are divinely sent.

Yet, my atheism was not something that happened overnight. The process that destroyed my faith, was gradual. Much like the melting of a glacier, slowly eroding with each new doubt. First, like tiny fissures, then complete breaks—fracturing every belief I had, evaporating under the heat of my scrutiny.

I was something of upstart. Despite being from a mostly atheistic home life, I had found evangelicalism from a friend right after a horrendous break-up in college. The friend was a former guitarist in a punk rock band, someone who I admired and in whom I had witnessed an enormous change in character as a result of his conversion—shunning his old punk rock ways for a suit, tie and a Bible.

After attending church few weeks, I joined a Ladies’ Bible Study group in a sleepy town south of Houston, started reading the Bible and became saved. And, that miraculous change of character I saw in my punk rock buddy happened in me too. I would soon be mentoring young women toward the paths of righteousness.

And a week ago I found myself having brunch with a woman I discipled in her college years. Two years passed since we last connected, our lives had taken those meandering paths that led us to different towns, different circumstances, or so I thought.


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25 comments on “How the Evangelical Church is Failing Women

  • @OP link – Her story mirrored my own almost identically: after turmoil, verbal abuse and unmistakable signs of infidelity in her marriage—the church’s response to her divorce request was non-negotiable: God hates divorce and we will not support you.

    This is just the church’s demand to dominate sexual relationships and marriage, as churches did before civil marriage was introduced, and as churches still do in theocracies.

    It’s a common practice that deserves reckoning. The evangelical church is failing women on a grand scale. From its shameful views on female sexuality, limited and confining gender roles to its colossal neglect in providing a solid education to its young girls, the church remains focused on the past for answers—a past thousands of years expired and irrelevant.

    The problem is, that their followers don’t recognise them as being irrelevant to honest personal relationships.

    All they offer is bronze age dogmas, bigotry, and manipulation of those who have been brainwashed by indoctrination to further the interests of spreading the religious dogmas, and the dependence of followers on the leadership!



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  • M27Holts
    Jan 27, 2016 at 7:24 am

    Aye – the irrevocable truth that pervades the unbalanced religious mindset – Oh No – Jesus WATCHES while I WANK!

    . . . And priests want to hear about it at confession, so they can maintain feelings of guilt and subservience to the dictats of their churches!



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  • 7
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    @ op

    The friend was a former guitarist in a punk rock band, someone who I admired and in whom I had witnessed an enormous change in character as a result of his conversion—shunning his old punk rock ways for a suit, tie and a Bible.

    Definite proof that punk rock is not music or at the very least that punk rockers are not motivated by true love of music but rather by some kind of teenage rebellion or inner conflict. If that kid really believed in the artistic value of what he did, he could have become religious and keep doing “music” as those two are not mutually exclusive per se.

    This notion that one can be converted from a musician to a religious freak is ridiculous. That boy was probably told by his pastor that he was on “the path to perdition” and was simply indoctrinated into switching hobbies. The really sad part is that in the process, he took a huge step backwards in his personal journey to adulthood. I hate punk rock but I still think it’s nowhere near as bad as religion.



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  • they can’t leave our privates alone.

    Private Parts > name/rank/serial number.

    More ways than one women get screwed by the cross.

    Arthur Blessitt and his Howitzer cross, the big fool.



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  • Smithy!

    Good to have your input back. Hope you are well.

    Which churches most get it right do you think? Does your own?

    I’m fully expecting Unitarian and Quaker, perhaps, but any other?



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  • 12
    strauss says:

    Congratulations, welcome. Very brave. I cannot imagine the psychological pressure inflicted when leaving your entire social structure. With luck you will be the first of many. If you want, go and hug a lesbian, have a coffee with a Muslim and eat a bucket full of shrimp. Best of luck for the future and remember : You are not alone 🙂



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  • Hm, well when I see a muslim family wandering round the Trafford Centre, I see usually a geezer in western shorts and t-shirt and then his wife – covered from head-to-toe in the black ghost outfit. How can that NOT be seen as misogynistic religious female-required-submissiveness?



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  • The evangelical church is failing women? That’s too nice. The evangelical church is persecuting women by bullying them into domestic and reproductive slavery. That’s more like it.



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  • 16
    Pinball1970 says:

    So many people – and not just women – leave churches with stories as sad as this. It’s time the American churches sat up and took note … and no doubt some British ones too.

    People are leaving the church because the texts are morally bankrupt and completely irrelevant to modern civilized society, people are getting wise to it Smithy.
    Aside from that it is good to get the views from the opposite side and to see you back posting.



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  • It seems there is potentially a way to avoid such problems, but the UK courts are currently opposing such solution on a discriminatory basis!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35436845
    A heterosexual couple who want to enter into a civil partnership rather than marry have lost a High Court challenge.

    Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, from London, were told in 2014 that they could not enter into a civil partnership because they were not of the same sex, as the law requires.

    They brought a legal challenge, saying the law discriminated against them.

    But Mrs Justice Andrews dismissed their claim for judicial review. The couple have said they intend to appeal.

    Ms Steinfeld, 34, and Mr Keidan, 39, said they wanted to commit to each other in a civil partnership as it “focuses on equality” and did not carry the patriarchal history and associations of marriage.

    However, the Civil Partnership Act 2004 requires that partners be “two people of the same sex”. It grants gay couples legal rights similar to those given to married couples.

    The law applies throughout the UK – although there are different rules for marriage and civil partnerships in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    The introduction of same-sex marriage – which became legal in England, Wales and Scotland in 2014 – has since given gay couples a choice between that and civil partnership.

    Ms Steinfeld and Mr Keidan argued that, as a heterosexual couple, they did not have the same choice as gay couples and were therefore discriminated against.

    Current legislation was “incompatible” with their right to a private and family life, they said.

    The government argued that civil marriage was an institution that protected the core values of family life and was entirely egalitarian, and that where the objection was ideological there was no infringement of rights.

    Speaking after the ruling, Ms Steinfeld said the government was “barring us, and many thousands of opposite-sex couples like us, from the choice of forming a civil partnership”.

    She told the BBC: “We are very disappointed in the judge’s ruling today, which we think undermines equality in the United Kingdom.



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  • 18
    Pinball1970 says:

    This is unsettling.

    I find it more baffling, how can breaking up with someone turn you to evangelical Christianity?
    Just because he ex punk rocker friend happened to have been converted?
    I think if she was that fragile and easily influenced it could have been anything from scientology to Taoism.
    Posts have died off a little on this so I feel freer to segue a little, what IS unsettling is the large amount of women converting to Islam in the UK every year.
    Reading some of the convert stories they rarely speak of evidence or plausibility, they tend to point to emotive romantic feelings they get from the religion (not sure what they are reading)
    “I feel its right for me..” “I know in my heart….”
    Perhaps the same sort of women that are into psychics, clairvoyants, astrology, homeopathy and 50 shades of grey?
    Perhaps this is why women are in the minority in terms of atheism in general? Rationality, cold hard facts reason logic too dry? – no intuition, emotion, adventure, romanticism?
    I could get crucified for this but I know what I mean.



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  • Pinball1970
    Jan 29, 2016 at 8:19 am

    I find it more baffling, how can breaking up with someone turn you to evangelical Christianity?
    Just because he ex punk rocker friend happened to have been converted?

    Many evangelical churches and cults, actively encourage their memberships to use romantic relationships and friendships to recruit converts.

    You only have to look as far a Catholic marriages to see how many non-Catholics are pressured into Catholic marriages by partners and their families, further committing to sacrificing their children to the woo!

    Full exploitation of anyone in an upset state of mind, is considered a golden opportunity to engage in missionary activity!



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  • Meanwhile, the RCC sheeple-herders are making determined efforts to fail gay couples in Italy!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-35452720

    Thousands of people have rallied in the Italian capital Rome against a bill giving gay couples legal recognition and adoption rights.

    Protesters came from across Italy to attend “Family Day”, which featured conga-dancing Catholic priests.

    I wonder if this this would be considered “family entertainment” among the undeluded?? – Perhaps among the fans of TV’s “Father Ted”?

    Parliament began considering the legislation earlier this week and is due to vote on it in February.

    Italy is the last major Western nation not to give legal recognition to same-sex couples.

    Many of those attending the rally at Rome’s Circus Maximus, a former chariot-racing venue, held up banners saying “It is wrong even if it becomes law”.

    “These unions are very easy to form but also easy to collapse,” said one protester. “Instead, we think that the family has great value and this law can destroy it.”

    A clause in the bill that allows gay people to adopt the biological children of their partner is proving particularly contested.

    Yeah! That sounds very RCC “faith-thinking” family orientated! –
    Objecting to people adopting their own or a partner’s children on the basis of religious bigotry, sounds very “family orientated”!!



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  • bonnie
    Jan 27, 2016 at 9:47 am

    More ways than one women get screwed by the cross.

    . . .and of course get segregated and discriminated against by other religions!
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-35455869
    The Israeli government has approved the creation of a new prayer space for non-Orthodox Jews at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, allowing men and women to pray together.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a “creative solution” that would “unify the people of Israel”.

    Orthodox Jews voted against the move but said they accepted the decision.

    Until now, in accordance with Orthodox beliefs, men and women have prayed separately at the Western Wall.

    The decision was welcomed by the more liberal Reform and Conservative Jewish movements in Israel and North America and the group Women of the Wall (WOW), which has long held monthly prayers – upsetting the Orthodox leaders of the site.

    A founding member of WOW, Anat Hoffman, called it an “historic day”.

    “We have been fighting for 27 years. We were single when we started; we are grandmothers now. And what we have done is liberate another part of the wall that will be open to all. It will be tolerant and equal and friendly,” she said.

    Religions do eventually move towards the modern age – albeit VERY slowly – so it’s not just Saudi Arabia where women and liberals are trying to drag the theocrats out of the bronze-age!



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  • Churches are full of people, so wherever there are people there will be prejudice, bias, misunderstanding and bigotry. So somebody expecting to join a church for the ride, who thinks it will be all happy, clappy, cosy, rosy and holy, will be sorely disappointed. Churches are full of sinners after all! Church leaders have their jobs cut out if they expect to be able to mould their congregations into spotless individuals; they can only guide and teach from their Bibles, so what they choose to teach and preach is vital in that job, and they must be careful to teach the whole thing in a balanced way, not just cherry-picking the ‘nice’ bits. As it says in 2 Timothy, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The writer of the article, I think, may not have been taught that bit, or if she was, maybe she forgot it.

    So what I’m trying to say is that I agree, the church appears to have failed this lady badly, probably because it failed to teach what it should have taught and to some extent taught her stuff that’s not true. Either that or she blocked out what she didn’t want to hear – which I guess is just as likely.



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  • CumbriaSmithy
    Feb 1, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    So what I’m trying to say is that I agree, the church appears to have failed this lady badly, probably because it failed to teach what it should have taught and to some extent taught her stuff that’s not true. Either that or she blocked out what she didn’t want to hear – which I guess is just as likely.

    Hi Smithy!

    I hope you are well above the recent water levels over there!

    I think the point of the article was in what the church had taught, or failed to teach, other members of the congregation, in their attitude to other people such as this lady, rather than what she had personally accepted, and then felt betrayed by others when she had problem relationships to sort out.



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  • Yes, and of course the issue of marriage break-up is always difficult and complicated, regardless of the community to which we belong, so I think both the church and the author could be at fault, in different ways. What always puzzles me is the fact that so many people seem to become atheists simply because of the treatment they receive in churches, which doesn’t to me seem logical or rational when they know that human nature is like it is.

    I live in Kendal and I think over 2,300 properties were inundated on the night of December 5th. The population is only around 30,000 so it has affected everybody in one way or another as the whole of the main industrial estate was flooded. There are now hundreds of rubbish skips and ‘flood & fire restoration’ vans everywhere, and since one of our main bridges was closed the town is essentially gridlocked for some of each day. What a crazy winter!



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  • CumbriaSmithy
    Feb 2, 2016 at 8:55 am

    What always puzzles me is the fact that so many people seem to become atheists simply because of the treatment they receive in churches, which doesn’t to me seem logical or rational when they know that human nature is like it is.

    I think many were cultural members reacting to pressure from friends and relatives – especially in isolated communities where there is an absence of alternative social groupings.

    It is the recognition that religious thinking is unhelpful in solving life’s problems which probably gives them the push to more open atheism, rather than simply having doubts.

    Aggressive attempts at ostracising people who think through their problems and reject “one size fits all” dogmas, or attempts to impose dogmas by people who clearly have no understanding of people’s private problems, will make clinging to religion-based social relationships which no longer have any value, pointless.



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