I have always argued that in the historic Worldwide Church of God, it was a misogynist place. It was not a woman friendly place despite those in deep dangerous denial who would argue to the death otherwise. Women had to walk a fine on how they dressed, for example the length of their skirts mattered, lest they tempt men into lust. Other crazy fatwahs by ministers to determine what was modest and becoming to God was fashionable as the flavour of the month. No make up either. Pure vanity and another temptation for men. It just seemed like in parallel with radical Islam, a body of a woman was to be hated. They were excluded in the worship of the service. Apostle Paul’s admonition for women to keep silence in the church was taken to it’s ultra-literalistic extreme. Not only women were barred from giving sermonettes and sermons but even barred from giving a simple opening and closing prayer in the service (thank God I seen the day when that nonsense ended in the ’90s when I finally seen a woman for once give an opening prayer. Thunder did not roll from the sky and life went on). Some will still want to argue that women performed in special music—fine but when “the church” wanted to go back on track in the ’80’s, church leadership made damn sure that a “woman” could not be lead musical conductors. Also women had to put up with the lame comedy from the one who claimed to be God’s sole Apostle on Earth (Herbert Armstrong, of course) when he said that ERA stood for Eve Ruled Adam. For those Generation Yers who don’t remember ERA actually stood for, it was the Equal Rights Admendment in the U.S. when it was a proposal to amend the United States Constitution in respect of gender rights. It was never ratified before the June 1982 deadline, though there are attempts to propose a new version of the ERA today. Thankfully, the Tkach administration in the WCG and this includes father and son (with a little help from their friends) took careful painstaking steps to confront and eliminate this misogyny in the Worldwide Church of God. Whatever you may think of either or both Tkaches (I have made my opinions known about Junior but that’s neither here nor there),their steps for gender equality in an organization that was historically misogynist is commendable. Grace Communion Internation ordained it’s first woman elder. Talk about coming a long way baby! Sadly, in the splinters of Armstrongism more specifically the ultra conservative ones, this has not been the case. To single out one splinter, Gerald Flurry’s Phildelphia Church of God, their treatment of women almost identically replicates the injustice and indignity of women in the historic WCG. On the Exit and Support Network website, one lady tells the sad tale of how it is in the most totalitarian cults out there. The struggle for freedom continues for women in cults like these. I can only pray to God for that day to set them free.
Here is the short movie “Submission” (2004), produced by former Muslim and former Dutch (of Somali descent)Member of Parliamnent Hirsan Ali and the late Theo Van Gough (who was murdered by an Islamic extremist). Watch and weep about a woman’s abusive treatment in the more ultra-fundamentalist version of Islam and her brutal struggle to survive in the environment that she is placed under. The struggle against authoritarian and totalistic religions continues on everywhere!