Saturday, August 11, 2007

Men Banned From Homemaking Classes

This is our brethren at the Southern Baptist seminary. They have gotten rid of the last female professor who - gasp! - taught men. Now they are introducing classes on homemaking at the seminary. But only women can take them:

The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary offers coursework in Greek and Hebrew, in archaeology, in the philosophy of religion and – starting this fall – in how to cook and sew.

Southwestern Baptist, one of the nation's largest Southern Baptist seminaries, is introducing a new academic program in homemaking as part of an effort to establish what its president calls biblical family and gender roles.

It will offer a bachelor of arts in humanities degree with a 23-hour concentration in homemaking. The program is only open to women.

The article presents two very fascinating rationales for these classes. There is Terry Stoval, the dean of women's programs, trying to make something else than a sow's ear out of the sow's ear she has been given. Then there is the seminary president, Paige Patterson, who is telling us the real reasons for these new programs:

Seminary President Paige Patterson, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, which has its executive committee headquarters in Nashville, said wives of seminary students asked for the homemaking courses. The program was approved by seminary trustees in the fall.

"We are moving against the tide in order to establish family and gender roles as described in God's word for the home and the family," Patterson said at the denomination's annual meeting in June. "If we do not do something to salvage the future of the home, both our denomination and our nation will be destroyed."

Wow! I need a long drink after reading that last paragraph. I also need to go out to breathe a little.

The nation itself will be destroyed if women don't stay at home studying clothing patterns and planning unusual treatments for the dining-room walls. Of course Patterson has always been of the opinion that this nation has been built on the backs of the women and if the women get off that crouching position, well, the nation will tip. That's why he has worked for the proper subjugation of women for many years:

Patterson took a leading role in the 1980s in a successful campaign to oust moderates from leadership posts in the Southern Baptist convention. While he was president of the convention from 1998 to 2000, Southern Baptists issued a statement that women should not be pastors and that wives should "graciously submit" to their husbands.

I feel as if my chest is being squeezed when I read stories like these where the plot is how to make women behave in the properly submissive way. In this particular case, my concern is not with the idea that homemaking is taught, but with the idea that it is taught only to women and in the context of a college-level degree. Someone must be paying money for those courses. Yet when reality strikes and the women who took these courses need to find a job they are not qualified for the better jobs. Patterson is trying to ensure that women go home and that they have to stay there because they have no real alternatives. How godly is this behavior?

How godly is it in general to argue that the fate of a denomination or a country depends on the brainwashing and subjugation of half of humanity? Note that when Patterson refers to his fear that the nation will be destroyed if women don't follow his behavioral rules he must have in mind a wider group of women than just the Southern Baptists. There are not enough of them to save the country by proper wifely behavior. No, Mr. Patterson wants all American women back to the kitchens full time. Let's be honest. He wants male dominance in the society. And he wants all women to stay at home and work for bread and board.