The battle of the sexes, waged this election season with fulsome fury in the public space, is being fought in a much more painful, private sphere as well. In churches (and synagogues and mosques) across the land, women are still treated as second-class citizens. And because women of faith are increasingly breadwinners, single moms and heads of households, that diminished status is beginning to rankle.
There are churches in America in which women aren’t allowed to speak out loud unless they get permission from a man first.
There are churches (many of them) in which women aren’t permitted to preach from the pulpit.
There are churches in America where a 13-year-old boy has more authority than his mother.
“At church I had to hide my thoughts, questions and life choices,” says Susan, a woman who works as a therapist in Seattle and, after a lifetime of following Jesus, left Christianity. “I didn’t think I could do anything by myself, because as a Christian woman I’d learned that I needed a man to get places.”