20 Vile Quotes Against Women By Religious Leaders From St. Augustine to Pat Robertson
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With diatribes about entertainers who invite rape and moms who are destroying America by supporting their families...with ignorant arguments about fetuses that masturbate, and females who might as well if they use contraception, and fetal personhood that trumps the personhood of females...it’s tempting to think that Christian conservatives have reached some new pinnacle of hating women and sexuality. But the sad reality is that even the media’s most unabashed misogynists like Michele Bachmann, Michael Burgess, Lou Dobbs and Juan Williams are actually tame compared to their ideological ancestors, including some of the biggest names in Christian history.
In past centuries, men who were hailed as church fathers, patriarchs, doctors, and even saints boldly expressed their view that females are inferior and loathsome, and they explained at length why God shared their perspective. Lest we fall into the conservative trap of thinking that the past was somehow better than the nasty messes we face today, it’s worth pondering some of the lovely tidbits the Church has thought fit to preserve and promote in the centuries since Christianity was founded. Here are some of the most savory. They come from three waves of religious leaders: “Fathers” of the Catholic Church, Protestant reformers, and American patriarchs who inherited the mantle of both.
Church Doctors and Fathers
· [For women] the very consciousness of their own nature must evoke feelings of shame.–Saint Clement of Alexandria, Christian theologian (c150-215) Pedagogues II, 33, 2
· In pain shall you bring forth children, woman, and you shall turn to your husband and he shall rule over you. And do you not know that you are Eve? God’s sentence hangs still over all your sex and His punishment weighs down upon you. You are the devil’s gateway; you are she who first violated the forbidden tree and broke the law of God. It was you who coaxed your way around him whom the devil had not the force to attack. With what ease you shattered that image of God: Man! Because of the death you merited, even the Son of God had to die... Woman, you are the gate to hell. –Tertullian, “the father of Latin Christianity” (c160-225)
· Woman is a temple built over a sewer. –Tertullian, “the father of Latin Christianity” (c160-225)
· Woman was merely man's helpmate, a function which pertains to her alone. She is not the image of God but as far as man is concerned, he is by himself the image of God. – Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo Regius (354-430)
· Woman does not possess the image of God in herself but only when taken together with the male who is her head, so that the whole substance is one image. But when she is assigned the role as helpmate, a function that pertains to her alone, then she is not the image of God. But as far as the man is concerned, he is by himself alone the image of God just as fully and completely as when he and the woman are joined together into one. –Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo Regius (354-430)
· Woman is a misbegotten man and has a faulty and defective nature in comparison to his. Therefore she is unsure in herself. What she cannot get, she seeks to obtain through lying and diabolical deceptions. And so, to put it briefly, one must be on one's guard with every woman, as if she were a poisonous snake and the horned devil. ... Thus in evil and perverse doings woman is cleverer, that is, slyer, than man. Her feelings drive woman toward every evil, just as reason impels man toward all good. –Saint Albertus Magnus, Dominican theologian, 13th century