Citing scriptural justification, a university religious organization is being, collectively, a jerk.
In a recent article, The Huffington Post reported that an email, sent to all the Bristol University Christian Union (BUCU) members by the president Matt Oliver, has many of the university’s student organizations speaking out against the group’s discriminatory policies toward women. The email states:
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.
There is truly nothing to be gained when one group silences another no matter what their reasoning for it may be. And the implication that a person, in this case a woman, only has value as a leader if she is married and her husband is present speaks of a deeper societal issue concerning the value we place on an individual based on their gender and relationship status. The BUCU is now under investigation by both the university’s students’ union (UBU) and the Christian Union.
As a secular society, we think gender equality is a fundamental human right. Most people would agree that women have an equal right with men to speak at universities, regardless of their marital status.
This is the kind of thing the Union’s equality policy is meant to guard against, and the CU’s status as a faith society does not exempt them.
In a society where we are all supposed to be equals, what is the price we pay when we silence an entire group of people based solely on gender?
Do you think the BUCU has the right, as a faith based organization, to limit the rights of the women in their organization based on their marital status?
Picture: Katie Tegtmeyer/Flickr