The Rt. Rev. Mary Douglas Glasspool, Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, wrote this for the Huffington Post Religion blog:
Saying Christianity is bad for women is like saying science is bad for children. One has taken an entire category of values, practices, history and heritage and made a blanket statement apply to an impossibly exhaustive, undifferentiated category of human beings. Sure, there have been times in the history of Christianity when people supposedly practicing that faith have acted contrary to the faith’s core values. Yes, for much of the faith’s 2,000 year history, the role of its women has been overshadowed by that of its men. None of the world’s religions have fully lived up to the ideals they espouse. And granted one can take particular and often isolated verses from the Bible: Christianity’s sacred scripture, to prove that Christianity is bad for women, just as people at one time in our history proved, using scripture, that it was all right for some human beings to own others.
But at its core, Christians are not a people of the Book. We are a people centered in the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, whom we know as the Christ. Jesus, in his life on earth, was equally comfortable in his relationships with women as with men.
Bishop Glasspool then goes into a very quick history of the early church and how repression of women developed into the institutionalized church. The good news is, of course, we are still changing:
We are not centered in the particular events that happened over 2,000 years ago in a tiny outpost of the Roman Empire. We are centered in the life of the living, risen Christ as it is expressed through the life of community today! A former Archbishop of Canterbury (symbolic head of the Anglican Communion in the world), William Temple (1881 – 1944), was fond of saying that compared to the life of the universe, and even other of the world’s religions, the Christian faith is a young religion, and we’re still working on getting it right — which is to say — working to truly live out the values of radical egalitarianism, total inclusion, and healing and reconciling the world to God. As we do that, women are playing increasingly critical roles as leaders of Christianity today.