Congratulations on a lively and informative issue on gender complementarity. Sheila Briggs, in her article “Separate and Unequal,” rightly compares this faux doctrine to “an intellectual house of cards that collapses as soon as one asks what evidence, external to the teaching of the church, we have that such facts actually exist in nature!”
It’s said that freedom of the press is guaranteed only for those who happen to own one, and similarly, a gender-inclusive religious doctrine may be out of reach to any church that has perpetuated, as Briggs observes, so many centuries of gender inequality by listening only to men. With gender inequality proponents such as Augustine and Thomas Aquinas shaping church doctrine, opposing views of any kind, let alone those belonging to women thinkers, have long been unwelcome.
As another writer in this issue, Miriam Duignan, observes: “Until women achieve genuine equality in the institutional church, with equal decision-making power and sacramental authority, discrimination against women will continue to be sanctioned and reinforced around the world.”
The National Organization for Women (NOW) is challenging beliefs and practices of gender complementarity that permeate society, politics, business and day-to-day life. These intellectually and morally unsupportable positions foster pervasive inequality that results in serious consequences for women’s health, economic security, gender expression and ability to lead. Thank you for a stimulating discussion that will help shape many a strategic plan in the months and years to come.
TONI VAN PELT
President, National Organization for Women