by Andy Hanson, July 13, 2015: “Would you join an organization that promotes the notion that women are in any way inferior to men ‘in the eyes of God’?” That was a question put to me when I heard that the Adventist Church, in General Conference session, voted that women cannot be ordained. My answer was an emphatic, “No!”
My response reflects my belief that this decree violates women’s basic human rights. Jimmy Carter makes the following argument:
Our overall commitment at the Carter Center is to promote human rights, and knowing the world as I do, I can tell you without any equivocation that the number one abuse of human rights on Earth is, strangely, not addressed quite often, is the abuse of women and girls.
There are a couple of reasons for this that I’ll mention to begin with. First of all is the misinterpretation of religious scriptures, holy scriptures, in the Bible, Old Testament, New Testament, Quran and so forth, and these have been misinterpreted by men who are now in the ascendant positions in the synagogues and the churches and in the mosques. And they interpret these rules to make sure that women are ordinarily relegated to a secondary position compared to men in the eyes of God.
This is a very serious problem…Scriptures are misinterpreted to keep men in an ascendant position. That is an all-pervasive problem, because men can exert that power and if an abusive husband or an employer, for instance, wants to cheat women, they can say that if women are not equal in the eyes of God, why should I treat them as equals myself? Why should I pay them equal pay for doing the same kind of work? *
For this reason alone, the Adventist Church should support the ordination of women in every country in the world. And churchmen in any country who oppose that idea should be reassigned. No GC claim that violates the human rights of women can speak with “the highest authority under God.” **
**GC Working Policy:
- Highest Organization.
“B 10 20 General Conference and its Divisions
The General Conference is the highest organization in the administration of the worldwide work of the Church, and is authorized by its Constitution to create subordinate organizations to promote specific interests in various sections of the world; it is therefore understood that all subordinate organizations and institutions throughout the world will recognize the General Conference in session as the highest authority under God.
B 15 10 Adherence to Policy Required — 1. The General Conference Working Policy shall be strictly adhered to by all organizations in every part of the world field. The work in every organization shall be administered in full harmony with the policies of the General Conference and of the divisions respectively. No departure from these policies shall be made without prior approval from the General Conference Executive Committee…