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22.02.2005 Regional News

Wrong use of scripture damages women - church leaders

By GNA

Accra, Feb 22, GNA - Church leaders at a day's forum on Tuesday admitted that scriptural misinterpretation has led to discrimination against women in the church, while doctrinal differences have contributed to the marginalisation of Christian women. The participants, comprising 30 reverend ministers and other church office holders of the Christ Apostolic, Presbyterian, Assemblies of God, Global Evangelical, Fountain Gate, Divine Nativity and the Accra Ridge Churches, said this at an open space dialogue organized by the Ark Foundation, Ghana, a gender advocacy and human rights organization. The theme for the forum: "Women, Gender and Christianity" was targeted mainly at Christian leaders and members of the public interested in women and gender development issues.

During the dialogue, participants said the church, which was supposed to be the light of the world, rather continued to perpetuate some of societal injustices and discrimination against women. They said though women formed majority of the congregation in the church, about 60 per cent, they were either assigned lesser roles or none at all, a situation that kills the potential in them.

According to the participants, the situation was also compounded by the refusal of some women to accept positions in the church with excuses that they would not have the time to function well. The participants therefore, resolved to be agents of change by encouraging women to take up more challenging roles in the church and to fulfill their god-given talents.

Ms Hillary Gbedemah, a Senior Legal Advisor in-charge of the Women Law and Development in Africa, based in Ho in the Volta Region urged the church to market its programmes well in order to make them more attractive to women.

She said since the laws of the land did not discriminate against women, and the Bible also emphasized the importance of women in God's creation, women in the church must be trained to preach, counsel and aspire to other higher office.

She said women played significant roles in the history of the Bible, citing, Mary the Mother of Christ, Mary Magdalene, who first preached the Resurrection of Christ and the Samaritan Women who first preached the gospel to her townspeople.

Mrs Angela Dwamena-Aboagye, the Executive Director of the Foundation advised Christians to check the issue of domestic violence in the church and discourage such perpetrators to desist from such inhumane acts.

She acknowledged that many women in the church continued to suffer domestic violence while the Church kept silent over it, claiming, that was the "woman's cup to bear". She said sexual violence as a form of domestic violence, for instance could never be justified using biblical texts, stressing that such violence must be named as sin and dealt with as such.

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