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Jimmy Carter: ‘The Bible is Being Used to Hurt Women, We Must Stop’

Former President Jimmy Carter is speaking out against those who are using religion to hurt women and girls. In his new book A Call to Action, the 39th President talks frankly about the harm done when people hide behind their religious beliefs to justify their actions.

In the latest publication for the prolific author and social commentator, Carter points out that religious violence and subjugation of women is not just the product of extremists in far-off lands, but a home-grown problem “caused by a false interpretation of carefully selected religious texts and a growing tolerance of violence and warfare, unfortunately following the example set during my lifetime by the United States.”

This week on NPR, in a discussion talking about his book, Carter further explained how the “almost exclusively” male powerful leaders have turned biblical teachings against women to deny them pay, fair treatment and opportunities.

“You can pick out individual verses throughout the Bible that show that the verse favors your particular preference,” he told NPR.

Using that verse as a weapon, he continued, men decide “that well, if God thinks that women are inferior, I’ll treat them as inferiors. If she’s my wife, I can abuse her with impunity, or if I’m an employer, I can pay my female employees less salary.”

The result of these ‘biblical’ teachings are far-reaching. “This claim that women are inferior before God spreads to the secular world to justify gross and sustained acts of discrimination and violence against them,”Carter writes.

The ultimate impact of this teaching on women, he concludes, is not only the suffering of women and girls but a stunting of the world’s growth and a lack of prosperity.

There is “a devastating effect on economic prosperity caused by the loss of contributions of at least half the human beings on earth,” Carter warns in his book. “This is not just a women’s issue. It is not confined to the poorest countries. It affects us all.”

Photo Credit: Jud McCranie

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.

  • Cathryn Sykes

    The Bible is a book that says that a virgin girl who has been raped should marry her rapist, provided he pays an indemnity to her FATHER. It also says that a woman whose husband had died without leaving a male child must have sex with his nearest male relative until such a child is produced. It says that adultery is a stoning offence, but that it was just fine for King David and King Solomon to have multiple wives and concubines. It says that the act of adultery must be witnessed by two people, which means that in a small village, the man would be known….yet in the story of the adulteress in the New Testament, only the woman is hauled out to be stoned. On the flip side, the Bible mentions nine female prophets, and a woman who was not only a prophetess and a “judge over Israel” but who directed a male general how to conduct a war….but I’m willing to bet that most of these fundamentalists who tell women to shut up in church have never even heard of Deborah, must less read the book of the Bible that bears her name. Picking and choosing? Hell, yes!

  • Allyson Babin

    The Bible IS fiction!!