Wednesday, November 18, 2009

And These are Educated People?

When I was a little girl, I used to sit on my daddy's lap and he would read the newspaper to me. It was a special time and sometimes he would even let me have a sip of his coffee. I didn't like the coffee, but the sip seemed to add yet another bond to our early morning ritual. I didn't understand much of the newspaper until we got to the comics. They were wonderful times when I had my daddy all to myself.

Perhaps that is why I am addicted to printed newspapers. Oh, not for the news. I get my news from Newshour with Jim Lehrer. I read the newspaper to find out what is going on locally and to better understand the people among whom I live. We get two newspapers, the daily Asheville Citizen Times and our little bi-weekly Transylvania Times. The Asheville paper has comics...the old ones like Rex Morgan, MD, Snuffy Smith, and Mary Worth. (Yes, I admit I read all the comics.) The Brevard newspaper has no comics but the "Letters to the Editor" section usually provides many more laughs than any comics.

Leaning politically liberal in a very conservative section of the country, I often shake my head in disagreement and sometimes laugh at many of the articles. Usually it's because someone has a mandate from God which gives them far more understanding of the state of our nation than the experts to whom I listen. I felt as if nothing someone said could shock me.

But a front page article in yesterday's Asheville paper gave me a bigger jolt than my morning coffee. The article is about the Asheville Christian Academy. The 15 members of the Board of Directors and 148 members of the corporation held a special meeting to review the bylaws. Particularly the one that prohibits women from serving on the board.

The school is nondenominational, K4 through high school and has about 600 students. I fully endorse religious schools, except for those quickly established in the 50s and 60s to circumvent integration.

What is puzzling to me is the result of the meeting. The Board of Directors and members of the school's corporation voted overwhelmingly to let the bylaw stand. Women cannot serve on the Board of Directors.

Here are the reasons brought forth to justify the decision:

"A nurturing environment would keep women from making tough decisions."
"Men are more comfortable speaking to other men."
" Male leadership is mandatory in God's two most beloved institutions, church and family." [The bolding is mine.]

And perhaps my favorite quote:
"As education itself is in so many ways an extension of the home, it has seemed to us only appropriate that this model of male leadership be thankfully embraced by our school."

THANKFULLY EMBRACED!!! I wonder how the parents explain to their daughters that they should thankfully embrace the "fact" that God mandates that only men are leaders. I suppose she lets the boyfriend decide whether or not they will be sexually active. It's far too tough a decision for her to make. Oh, they must not forget to tell their daughters how difficult it will be for them to speak to men who are ever so much more comfortable speaking to other men. And how do they explain to their daughters about the male leadership model that is the proper one for the home?

I selected this photograph from the school's Website since it doesn't identify any of the students. They seem happy and I'm sure they are.
I know very little about the academics or arts or sports at this school. I do know that a school holding women is such a secondary place in society is not a school to which I would send my daughter or my son.
I can't help wondering how the parents and teachers explained the newspaper article to the children attending Asheville Christian Academy. The quotes are a matter of public record, so there's no arguing that the article distorts the comments. Will they bring out their Bibles to prove to the girls they must be subservient? Perhaps I'm making far too much of this vote to exclude women (especially the reasons for excluding them). Perhaps the parents are all very happy in such an environment.
But I'll bet Daddy explained the newspaper to his four-year-old daughter so many years ago more clearly than these parents. But then, perhaps not.


Cedar ... said...

I am shocked at such a sexist and silly decision. Absolutely shocked. I wonder who makes the decisions in a family where the father/man has died? Hmmmm..... Can we say "100 years behind the times?"

troutbirder said...

Of course, twisting and turning the bible, one can prove just about anything. Personally, I think these people have missed the meaning spirit of the New Testament. There views come from the patriarchal and vengefull nature of the Old. I tend to think of them are the "armed Old Testament Christians." I doubt if there has been a war they didn't support.
btw I am quite sure your father would have highly approved of his daughter successes in life, whatever direction, SHE, had taken!

The Bug said...

I grew up Southern Baptist in Hickory NC & women were allowed to do all the church jobs except ONE - pastor. When my cousin needed to be ordained so she could be a Hospice Chaplain they voted to not do it. Even though we knew the views on women pastors we were stunned. Some of the strongest women of faith we knew were in that church. So she moved her letter to another more progressive church & got her ordination to do the work God called her to do. Sheesh!

Sam said...

Sigh. All I can say is that extreme groups are never good. If I had kids, you wouldn't catch them there, either.

Anonymous said...

I am stunned. Positively stunned. Are you sure the date on that newspaper article was 2009 and not 1909? Seriously? Really? Huh?(See? I'm stunned into single word stammering. I honestly can't believe that a school like this, with 600 students no less, exists practically in my backyard!)

Rudee said...

In many aspects, it's still a man's world and women still have many barriers to break. The glass ceiling keeps getting raised. It's disappointing.

Anonymous said...

Oh, dear God. . . !!!!

You chose an appropriate photo. The school has already added a "virtual veil."

When I've watched the news (yes, I'm watching Newshour with you!) and see the subservient role of women in other countries, I've assumed that global enlightenment would change all that. I wasn't expecting the reverse to take more of a toehold here.

Do you think we're all like the frog in the slowly heating water?

I'm all for tolerance, but this has really depressed me, Carolyn. We may have to stage a picket!

Busy Bee Suz said...

I can't hardly believe this. It is 2009 people! Equality.
There is no way in H*ll that my kids would ever attend a school like this. Do all the folks drive their cart and horses to school? Are the girls out back beating the school uniforms with rocks in the river?
just crazy.

Vicki Lane said...

I was just in a bookstore in Asheville where the bookseller and a customer were discussing this. Much headshaking all round.

St. Paul (I believe he said in Corinthians that women shouldn't be in authority over men) has much to answer for -- or if not St. Paul, whoever ascribed those speeches to him.

robin andrea said...

Hard to imagine we're in the year 2009. How could this still be happening? Literalism is not a good way to interpret old texts in a modern world.

George said...

I remember the ACA from the years I lived in Black Mountain, but I didn't realize how backward they were on social policy. It's just amazing.

Cheryl said...

I love the scene of you and your father sitting together reading the paper and having a sip of coffee. A sweet sweet memory.
Mine is running to meet father at the top of the hill as he came home from work. He would swing me around in circles until I could not stand. I loved that brief moment with him.......

A hate to sat it but what an out of date attitude. Do they not realise what century we are living in??

KGMom said... renders me almost speechless.
People have mistaken sexual equipment with divine authority.

KGMom said...

Oh, by the way--the Taliban would agree with them.

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Well thank God that there are many of us Christians out there who do NOT agree with them.. There are people and groups all over this country who truly believe these types of things. I can respect them and not judge them --but the sad thing is that when the country hears this kind of stuff, they (country) put all of us Christians in that box--as being nutty.

There are extremes on both sides when it comes to all kinds of people and their beliefs (whether it's spiritual, political, social, etc.)... This group is no worse to me than an Athiest who proclaims that there is no God at all. BUT--I try not to judge them either.

Ain't life fun????? It's all about acceptance and understanding --no matter how different that is from what we believe or understand to be 'truth'.

Maybe--just maybe--the young people who go to that school graduate with some great values overall (manners, honesty, unselfishness) ---compared to what some kids are learning in our public schools these days.

Just my thoughts for today...

Anonymous said...

I have a family friend here in Texas who belongs to a Lutheran church that won't allow women to be on the council or vote. To be sure, they can do all the cooking and cleaning up after the men, but they're not allowed to speak out in church either. (Good ol' St. Paul again.)

This same woman is the assistant branch manager of a large bank and makes many complicated financial decisions every day. She has an important position but when it comes to whether or not her church can buy a new coffee pot, she has to defer to her husband (a roofer) to make that decision for her. No wonder she suffers from migraines!

Anonymous said...

Bless you for your patience. I do not think I could live amongst such silly, backwards people for any length of time.

KB said...

I'm as shocked as you are. I might've fainted if I'd found that in my newspaper. I wonder if their discrimination extends to other groups? My goodness, I don't even know what to say. I thought that we left that type of thinking behind many many years ago.

Shelley said...

I am surprised that something so medieval like this exists! Incredible!!

Janie said...

That is a shocking decision for a school board to make in this day and time.
I certainly wouldn't send my kids there, either.

Rae said...

It is amazing that attitude is still present. I thought we had progressed beyond it, but I guess not. Sometimes I think religion is used as backdrop for this type of stance. That certainly is not what I was taught in church.

Jayne said...

Wow... how very, very sad Carolyn.

Courtney at SL's No Ennui said...

Whoa. They make ME sound like a liberal, and I consider myself moderately conservative in the political arena (and, opposite from you, surrounded by people MUCH more liberal than I am!) It's fun to be the different one sometimes, even though it often makes me wonder what's wrong with me!

This is the most backwards thing I've ever heard! I didn't know people outside of Alabama thought this way! (i am from AL and my strange brother would LOVE this article... grrrr.) I think you make an excellent point about girls letting boyfriends decide if they should be sexually active. Clever, my friend!

As a Christian, It makes me livid to hear about Christians using a Bible they obviously don't understand to build oppressive cultures. They should try actually studying Biblical history, culture, and literary theory before making decisions based on "what the Bible says."

I'd bust up in that board and sock those men in the nose! So THERE! Ha. Alabama upbringing still comes out at times :)

Beautiful parallels with sitting on your father's knee. A brilliant post! Bravo!

Dog_geek said...

One word: yikes!

Okay, actually one more word: sigh.

JeanMac said...

Doesn't surprise me at all but I think it's terrible.