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.