Special to R3
It was literally painful for me to watch the last of episode of Preachers of Detroit and to see the majority of the women on the show willfully participating in their own subjugation. I applaud the show for bringing to light the issue of gender inequality that is heavily present in the church today. However, it was disheartening to see that only a few women on the show supported gender equality in the church. In a previous episode, many of the women in the show inundated viewers with a host of misogynistic statements. Statements such as, “Women are to be submissive to their husbands, so that means if I am sleepy and my husband is hungry, I have to get up and fix him something to eat” to “I would not vote for a woman for President because women can’t be leaders over a country, that’s a man’s job.” Cast member and gospel singer Dorinda Clark Cole even went so far as to say, “It is a man’s church.”
Thankfully, cast member, Bishop Corletta Vaughn did present the other side of the conversation by reminding Cole that the Bible states we are to submit one to another and women should not be the only ones doing all the submitting. She also pointed out that there are many countries throughout the world with women as their leaders. Unfortunately, the reply she received to that was that we as Christians have different standards to abide by than those of the world. While I am upset that these comments set women back hundreds of years, I cannot fully blame the women. They are a product of their environment.
As a woman in ministry and in a leadership position in the church, I find it deplorable that many in the church still use patriarchal codes from the first century as a standard for a 21st century church. The subjugation of women is not a biblical construct. However, many in the church try to make it one by proof texting scripture to support the subservient role of women in the church to perpetuate the misogynistic agenda of those who are threatened by the advancement of women in the church universal.
As women, we have to ask ourselves whom does this agenda benefit? I mean think about it, numerically women make up the majority of the church. Throughout history, whenever a minority group wants to ensure that they maintain control they find a way to keep the minds of the majority shackled by the chains of inferiority. They do this in order to get said minority group to participate in their own oppression therefore securing the minority’s leadership without the threat of being dethroned. I would argue that this issue of gender equality in the church is no different and the brainwashed comments spouted in this episode prove it.
Yes, I said brainwashed. Someone “taught” these women to see themselves as less than because God did certainly not make them that way. I for one know that God did not create me to be inferior or “less than.” What part of God’s perfect plan is that? God did not create an inferior gender just as God did not create an inferior race. The church must be willing to do a critical study of the Bible and teach what it actually tells us. If we can do this, we will not use the Bible as a tool of oppression but as the word of God that liberates and empowers.
At the end of this episode of Preachers of Detroit, I went to my 7-year-old daughter and asked her if she would vote for a woman for President. She replied, “Yes.” She then looked at me with a facial expression that seemed to say, “Duh!” I said to her, “Thank you. I’m doing something right.”