Nerdfighters

A university's Christian society has banned women from speaking at events and teaching at meetings, unless they are accompanied by their husband, it has been revealed.

The Bristol University Christian Union (BUCU) had originally decided women would be allowed to teach at meetings after their international secretary resigned in protest, the group changed its policy.

The Huffington Post UK has seen the email sent out by president Matt Oliver to all BUCU members which said: "It is ok for women to teach in any CU setting... However we understand that this is a difficult issue for some and so decided that women would not teach on their own at our weekly CU meetings, as the main speaker on our Bristol CU weekend away, or as our main speaker for mission weeks.

"But a husband and wife can teach together in these."

Oliver then warns the society members to "guard the way we all talk about it in the coming weeks, making sure we’re not gossiping".

Rebecca Reid, a member of the university's feminist society wrote on the group's said: "I'm Catholic and I think that's obscene." Student Lucy King added: "So it's ok for women to teach, as long as they're not the most important speaker?!? This is really unbelievable."

Oliver's email announced the departure of the international secretary James Howlett, who, according to Oliver, felt he "cannot support the decision on women teaching".

"After a lot of time exploring this issue, seeking God’s wisdom on it and discussing it together as a committee, we made a decision about women teaching in a CU setting," Oliver continues. "We all hold individual convictions on secondary issues such a women speakers, which are often reflected in the churches we choose to attend.

"It is good and right that we hold strong beliefs on the Bible's teaching about secondary issues but they are not what we centre around as a CU and therefore are not always reflected in the CU's practice."

Shannon Keis and Laura Ho, co-presidents of Bristol University's feminist society described the decision as "hugely discriminatory, deeply offensive and sexist to women".

"They are suggesting that women have more worth as speakers if speaking with their husband while assuming that all women are interested in marriage, or men for that matter," they said in a statement. "We would hope for women to have equal opportunities to speak at all occasions, whether alone or not. Religious groups should not be immune from question or criticism with regards to gender equality."

The Christian Union's announcement follows the controversial vote by the majority of Church of England worshippers not to allow women bishops, despite many church leaders voting in favour of the move.

The outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said the Church of England has a "lot of explaining" to do after re... while his success Justin Welby described the decision as "grim".

Oliver told The Huffington Post UK the society had now released a statement saying: "Bristol University Christian Union has no formal position on the role of men and women in the church. We respect those of our members who hold strong Biblical convictions in this area and seek to find the most practical way of expressing this inclusivity."

Bristol University's student union officers for activities and welfare and equality met with the society on Monday. The SU has been contacted for comment but has yet to respond.

Thoughts?

Source ~~~here

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Now that's just funnnny!

The Biblical argument opposing the speaking of women in church, while formally understandable, is misguided. The problem arises because of certain passages where Paul makes reference to phrases such as "not suffering a woman to speak" etc. On the face of it, these passages seem very simple to interpret, however a blunt interpretation ignores the fact that Paul regularly reports of female prophetesses, and women leaders of Churches (Phoebe being one example). Therefore, since in order to prophesy, one must speak, a more detailed interpretation is required. What Paul is most likely referring to in his passages opposing women speaking, evolved from a cultural issue in the churches of the early Christian world. Back then, churches sat men on one side of the room, while women sat on the other. Because women, being as a rule less educated at the time, often would not understand all that was being said, they would sometimes shout across the room to their husbands to ask them questions about the message being preached. As you can imagine, this was rather frustrating, and Paul expressed that fustration in his writings.

That being said, there are plenty of people at Bristol CU who will be of the more "traditional" mindset, and it isn't the job of a CU to essentially tell them that they are wrong. So while I wish those who would hold such views would change them, I don't ultimately criticise Bristol CU for having to make the best of a bad situation as they have done.

^ Well put ^

"Make the best of a bad situation..." Are you kidding me?! This is a prime example how not to deal with it. They should have let that prime douche go, he ought not have been irreplaceable. Why make basically half the union suffer for the sake of one scumbag? Just an amazing lack of judgement on their part... how exactly did they think this would play out? Did they honestly think this decision wouldn't cause even more of a shit storm? Loved the fact that they'd tried keeping a lid on it by kindly suggesting to their members that maybe thay shouldn't speak of it. My god how dum...

... "encouraging them not not to go around undermining the leadership like this, because ultimately its two faced."

Look, I haven't been a practicing Christian in quite some time. All the Bible passages I learned have long since left my head. I also don't know your beliefs nor do I want to disrespect them.

However, I will repeart what Eystein said "Loved the fact that they'd tried keeping a lid on it by kindly suggesting to their members that maybe thay shouldn't speak of it." Now I have no idea what the bible says on gossiping but here's the thing:

 

A PERSONS WORDS SHOULD NOT BE LEFT UNQUESTIONED JUST BECAUSE THEY QUOTE THE BIBLE (or any other religious text). 

 

Yes the bible may say something about gossip but I think that Eystein hit the nail on the head. So did you. Yes, of course the leadership doesn't want to be undermined ... but that doesn't mean they shouldn't.

 

Here's the thing, critical discussion around social issues should not be thrown out of the window just because of religious context. Religion is yet another social sphere where discussion of such topics must take place.

And there is precedent. Tons of it. Half the laws of the old testament don't seemed to be followed anymore. For good reason, they no longer suited the social context of the times.

Sorry for the raw emotion. But yeah ... I have strong emotion that get brought out around issues like this.

A PERSONS WORDS SHOULD NOT BE LEFT UNQUESTIONED JUST BECAUSE THEY QUOTE THE BIBLE (or any other religious text).


Yes, I agree. But that's not what this guy is saying. He isn't saying "don't question what we're doing" he says "don't gossip about what we're doing". Those are two different things. Gossip is ultimately underhand. It's talking in one way to some people, while behaving differently with others. It's talking behind people's back, and its not nice. If you want to question, do it straight to the people at issue. That's what this verse says, and if you read the Bible, there is a ton of verses explaining how you should keep leaders in check.

 

And there is precedent. Tons of it. Half the laws of the old testament don't seemed to be followed anymore. For good reason, they no longer suited the social context of the times.


Actually, the OT laws arn't followed because Jesus said they should not be followed. He spoke specifically against the purity and food laws. The Bible isn't something that changes with social movements. God is the one who allows for those changes.

This wasn't one person's decision. It was a decision made because there will be some in the group who would be extremely angry if the alternate decision goes ahead, and it's a law of least offence.

But that's what I'm saying, it's completely messed up and not true at all that it satisfies any principle of least offense. Just because they will get extremely angry and threatens to leave otherwise, doesn't mean that they are right or deserves to get everything as they as want it. If that becomes the rule of thumb, then prepare yourself to have a very unpleasant congregation by the end of this decade.

IE those offended by women being there will probably be more offended by their presence than those who are accepting are offended by their absence.

I don't know the particular build up of this group, it's probably not the most all inclusive of the bunch, nor does it have too be as long as they are honest about it and don't pretend to be otherwise when facing outside scrutiny. From the article it just appeared as if they were about to loosen up a notch, but no, for some reason it was more important to continue in accordance to some angry hateful men, instead of doing what was right and what was long overdue intended. Everyone else must just suck it up and be accepting of these angry hateful men, because their feelings and intellect are more important somehow. It would be interesting to know the gender set-up of the comity who made the final decision. Would it be presumptuous to assume that it was 100% male?

I'm sure that there are women in the group who are so dim witted that this doesn't bother them at all, but surely that can't be all of them? And if not, then this decision must have been extremely provocative for those women who may have worked long and hard for the right to participate as equals. And who are you to say that these women aren't just as offended now as those men would have been otherwise? And who really have got just cause to be offended here?

Just because they will get extremely angry and threatens to leave otherwise, doesn't mean that they are right or deserves to get everything as they as want it.


Ultimately, the issue is preservation of unity. Which means that ultimately, not everyone will get what they want. Do you notice how the people criticising this decision are all from outside the CU. I don't see many people from within getting massively angry over this. Generally speaking, this is a position that will be understood, if not agreed with, by the vast majority. Pushing for a change on the other hand, is more problematic.

 

And who are you to say that these women aren't just as offended now as those men would have been otherwise? And who really have got just cause to be offended here?


I'm speaking from experience. Most of the women in my CU groups have ultimately held what's known as the "complementarian" position, IE that women do not lead, but other roles they take are just as important, and that the notion of leadership being more important is a worldly one as it overvalues power as a commodity.

It would be interesting to know the gender set-up of the comity who made the final decision. Would it be presumptuous to assume that it was 100% male?


Yes it would, and if you actually did some research, you'd see its not. 

http://www.bristolcu.org.uk/about/exec/

"That being said, there are plenty of people at Bristol CU who will be of the more "traditional" mindset, and it isn't the job of a CU to essentially tell them that they are wrong."

I'm not entirely sure what a Christian Union is in the first place, but assuming it's just a term for the people in charge (Bishops, representatives of the Church, whatever), I was always under the impression that yes, it is their job to tell people that they're wrong. I suppose that some factions of Christianity might be more liberal in that regard, letting people make their own choices, but if these guys actually have any power, should they really cave in like this?

Although I agree that nobody, Christian or otherwise, should tell others that they're wrong about religion. 

I'm not entirely sure what a Christian Union is in the first place, but assuming it's just a term for the people in charge


No. A Christian Union is a university society. A "Christian Club" if you will, where Christian students get together and meet and worship, study and pray. They arn't a Church.

Man I'm so sick of such bull shit!

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