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Austin Cline

Christian Union Bans Women from Teaching, Speaking

By December 10, 2012

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At Bristol University, the student Christian Union bans women from speaking at events or teaching at meetings - unless, of course, their husbands are present doing the speaking and teaching alongside them.

This is because women lack the external, dangling sexual organs which, in the eyes of these Christians, are required to have any sort of lecturing or teaching authority. Makes perfect sense, right?

Silent Woman
Women Kept in Silence
Photo: Tom Le Goff /
Digital Vision/Getty

The students' union will be looking into this because it appears to violate the university's anti-discrimination policies. The question though is why they never looked into before because this isn't a new policy. According to the group, they've treated woman as unworthy of speaking before a Christian audience for years.

At the centre of the controversy is an email from the president of BUCU, Matt Oliver, that sets out when women are allowed to teach.

The email says: "We understand that this [women teaching] is a difficult issue for some and so decided that women would not teach on their own at our CU:Equip meetings [its principal weekly meeting], as the main speaker on our Bristol CU weekend away or as our main speaker for mission weeks."

It says a husband and wife can teach at the latter two events and adds: "This means that women are able to teach (including on their own) in any other CU setting.

Oliver was not available for comment on Tuesday night. The Christian Union said it had "no formal position on the role of men and women in the church", adding: "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."

Source: The Guardian

So the Christian Union wants to find a way to express "inclusivity" for those who denigrate half of the human race and discrimination against all women, treating them as second-class citizens. Would they want to be "inclusive" to racists and anti-Semites? That would be no different and I doubt that Bristol university would be very tolerant of such a policy.

Caitlin Greenwood, vice president of Bristol University's atheist, agnostic and secular society, is quoted as saying "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."

Greenwood is right. The Christian Union would have a right to discriminate all they want if they were a wholly private organization, but so long as they receive any sort of public support or funding, they have to abide by the conditions imposed by the government. They can choose between public support and their bigoted theology.

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