ATLANTA — Former President Jimmy Carter on Friday said religious leaders, including those in Christianity and Islam, share the blame for mistreatment of women across the world.
He told representatives from 15 countries at The Carter Center that religious authorities perpetuate misguided doctrines of male superiority, from the Catholic Church forbidding women from becoming priests to some African cultures mutilating the genitals of young girls.
Carter said the doctrines, which he described as theologically indefensible, contribute to a political, social and economic structure where political leaders passively accept violence against women, a worldwide sex slave trade and inequality in the workplace and classroom.
“There is a great aversion among men leaders and some women leaders to admit that this is something that exists, that it’s serious and that it’s troubling and should be addressed courageously,” Carter said at an international conference on women and religion.
Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, were once members of the Southern Baptist Church. The couple recently disassociated from Southern Baptists, citing its prohibition on ordaining women or allowing them to serve as deacons or in other leadership posts in local congregations.