Women who are members of Bristol University's Christian Union (BUCU) have been banned from speaking and teaching at meetings and events unless they are accompanied by their husband. The Huffington Post reports that BUCU decided that women would be allow to teach; however, after their international secretary resigned in protest the society changed their policy to only permitting women to speak in the presence of their husbands. It is an absolute disgrace that societies are allowed to formulate such policies in this modern day. And the idea that a women's teachings somehow has credence simply by having her husband present is beyond ridiculous, or is he there to make sure the poor dear doesn't put her foot in it? Who knows, I find it impossible to figure out what thoughts float around inside the heads of those who are simply sexist and backwards.
It just goes to show how religion is still given a certain amount of privilege. If any other university society installed such policies they would have been thoroughly ripped a new one at this stage, and rightly so. But, as the society is religious there has been a certain amount of tip-toeing. And, of course, nobody is stating the obvious: not only are those in charge of the BUCU sexist, but the religion as a whole is inherently sexist. There is no "that is in the old testament" get out clause on this one. Sexism features quite strongly in the new testament too. Especially 1 Timothy 2:12 which is quite relevant here, "I do not permit a woman to teach or assume authority over a man; she must be quiet". So as you can see the society is simply following the teachings of the bible. So shouldn't the society be allowed to practice their religion how they like? No, simply no, religious rights come second to civil rights; if we allow Christians to discriminate against women because it allows them to do so in their holy book then Muslims should be allowed to have multiple wives, and beat them if they wish. Once you allow religious freedoms to trump civil rights you allow a dangerous precedent, I have already written about these dangers here.
Another curious aspect of this situation are the comments made by Rebecca Reid, a member of the feminist society, "I'm a Catholic and I think that's obscene". I fail to understand how a woman can profess to be a feminist and a Catholic at the same time. Catholicism and the bible are notoriously sexist, yet this women believes in equal rights for women while at the same time aligning herself to a faith which restricts women's rights. I have absolutely no respect for people who take such stances. It is dishonest, disingenuous and lacks personal integrity. It is, however, a position many people hold. In fact, a report found that 14% of Irish Catholics don't believe in the divinity of Jesus. If you find that shocking just wait, 7% of Irish Catholics don't even believe in God! This sort of hypocrisy needs to cease, people must start being honest with themselves and stop assigning themselves to religious groups they completely disagree with. That does not mean they are atheistic or non-religious, it just means they stop supporting organisations which promote sexism and homophobia. If those who disagreed with the tenets of their respective churches decided to leave their church, then I guarantee that their church would change its stance and adhere to modern morality. Religious organisations have done this consistently throughout history, when there is enough social pressure the church changes its stance to the modern consensus. So the moderates who disagree with the position of their church yet align themselves to it unwittingly support their churches homophobia and sexism and elongate the period before their church eventually alters its policy. The churches will do a u-turn on their policies just as they have always done, always decades/centuries behind the rest of society; however, it is all down to the moderates and their personal honesty; the sooner they stop supporting churches and organisations they disagree with the sooner those churches will progress to modern morality, and instances such as the one described above in the BUCU will decrease and eventually cease.