The Bible and the church have been the greatest stumbling blocks in the way of woman's emancipation.
A famous 19th century feminist named Elizabeth Cady Stanton voiced this about her struggle for women's freedom. Women, considered a lower class than the men, wanted this subjugation changed. Part of the reason for the subjugation of women is that the Bible could be interpreted in many different ways to suit the needs of the interpreter. These interpretations of the Bible are in part responsible for the belief that women are of a lower class than men. The reason this belief is present in our society is that approximately 85% of Americans are Judeo-Christian. We see examples of these beliefs when we look at the church, the daily lives of women, and the media. Looking at 1 Timothy 2:11-12, we see why our religious society could interpret the Bible this way:
Let a woman learn in silence with all submission, and do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.
We must look at the historical context of the passage. Written approximately 2000 years ago, many parts of the Bible seem outdated. The passage portrays a time when women were property and were "trained" to be weak and fragile. This stopped only about 30 years ago. Before this time, society taught women from birth to be submissive to men. What does this mean to us today? It means that although American Society is no longer training women to be submissive, the problem is still present in our belief system. Many churches do not believe that women should be part of the clergy. This is because they interpret parts of the Bible, such as 1 Timothy 2:11-12, as saying that only men should preach. In 1848, women made a retaliation to these sentiments. At the Seneca Falls convention, women (including Elizabeth Cady Stanton) signed a Declaration of Sentiments. In the declaration it states:
He allows her in church, as well as state, but a...