Monday, 10 May 2021

Humanism is Slowly Civilising Christianity

Bishop-elect Megan Rohrer of the Sierra Pacific synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. The San Francisco pastor is the first transgender person to be elected bishop in the denomination or in any of the U.S.'s major Christian faiths.
Lutherans elect Megan Rohrer first transgender bishop

In an example of how Humanist egalitarian ideas have penetrated even the more fundamentalist, historically misogynistic and macho flavours of Christianity, the American Lutherans have elected their first transgender bishop.

In the early days of Luther's Protestant Reformation, women were expected to be married 'as ordained by God' and had a strict role within the marriage of motherhood and subservience to her husband.

Nunneries were suppressed and the former nuns were expected to marry, as remaining unmarried was considered to be a defiance against God's ordinance. Indeed, one such nun, Katharina von Bora, having been helped escape the nunnery by Luther himself who sent a cart with barrels of herring for her and 8 other nuns to hide behind, made her way to Wittenberg and married Martin Luther and dutifully bore him several children.

Lutheran reformers established matrimonial and moral courts to enforce Luther's Bible-based ideas of gender roles within a marriage. Adultery is now strictly prohibited and both genders must make their bodies available for “conjugal duties”. Women now have one role and one role only - they are to be professional mothers - to bear children and raise them in the 'one true faith'. There is no role for women outside of marriage and subservience to her husband, because God has ordered it thus.

Women should remain at home, sit still, keep house and bear and bring up children… If a woman grows weary and at least dies from child bearing, it matters not. Let her die from bearing - she is there to do it.

Women have narrow shoulders and wide hips, therefore they ought to be domestic; their very physique is a sign from their Creator that he intended them to limit their activity to the home.

And, they have a book which says so!
For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

1 Corinthians 33-35



Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

Ephesians 5:22-24



Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

1 Peter 3:1-7



Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

1 Timothy 2:11-12


The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Titus 2:3-5


And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.

Ephesians 5:21-22
These 'Orders from God' reputedly inspired St Augustine of Hippo - considered one of Christianity's greatest thinkers - to declare:
Any woman who acts in such a way that she cannot give birth to as many children as she is capable of, makes herself guilty of that many murders.

This obsessive repression and subjugation of women reaches its peak in the teachings of the Swiss Lutheran, Johannes Calvin, founder of the misogynistic Presbyterians, who can scarcely conceal his loathing of women:

John Calvin
We take nothing from the womb but pure filth [meras sordes]. The seething spring of sin is so deep and abundant that vices are always bubbling up from it to bespatter and stain what is otherwise pure.... We should remember that we are not guilty of one offense only but are buried in innumerable impurities.... all human works, if judged according to their own worth, are nothing but filth and defilement.... they are always spattered and befouled with many stains.... it is certain that there is no one who is not covered with infinite filth.

In John Calvin: A Sixteenth-Century Portrait, 1989,
William J. Bouwsma, Oxford University Press, USA, p. 36.
The modern manifestation of this Lutheran misogyny was of course the allotted role of women in Nazi Germany as expressed in the slogan - Kinder, Küche, Kirche (Chidren, Kitchen, Church). These "3K's" were originally 4 K's in the Lutheran German Proverb by Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Wander:
Vier Ks sind Voraussetzung für eine fromme Frau, nämlich dass sie Rücksicht auf Kirche, Kammer, Küche, Kinder nimmt. (Four K's are requisite of a pious woman, namely, that she keeps regard for church, bedroom, kitchen, children.)
It's a sign of just how far decent Humanist ideas of full human rights for all, regardless of gender, sexuality, skin colour, ethnic origin, social class or ability have penetrated the once deeply misogynistic Lutheran church that they are now prepared to allow not just a woman but a transgender woman to be anything other than silent in church and confine herself to the home in dutiful submission to her 'superior' husband.

At this rate of progress, there will be little of these old, outmoded religions left in a generation or two, although it's hard to imagine how some of the more fundamentalist flavours of Christianity can abandon their fundamental, institutionalised hatred of others and still claim to be Christian. The one hope is that, if the American Lutherans can manage it, the others can too.


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