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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.