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Wed Dec 5, 2012, 06:02 AM

(UK) Bristol University Christian Union maintains ban on women speakers

It turns out the BUCU had always banned women speakers at meetings. But when there was a move to allow women to speak in certain settings, controversy erupted and some members resigned.

The Christian Union then sent out an email clarifying that women can speak with their husbands but unmarried women must remain silent.

The Bristol Tab reports:

Having spent Ďa lot of time exploring this issue, seeking Godís wisdom on it and discussing it togetherí the CU executive committee decided that it is not appropriate for women to teach alone at weekly meetings, or be the main speaker at the CU weekend away.

Women are also banned from speaking alone at the groupís mission weeks.


According to the Guardian, the students union is now looking into whether discrimination rules have been broken.

http://liberalconspiracy.org/2012/12/05/bristol-university-christian-union-maintains-ban-on-women-speakers/


When I first saw this reported, I thought it must be a spoof - not knowing if 'The Tab' is a serious student newspaper or not, and with their original story (which reported it as a new ban) coming soon after the Church of England vote against women bishops, it looked like a satirical response to that. But it turns out to be true - and the situation has been a bit worse, for all these years.

The "married women may speak if their husbands are present" somehow makes it look even worse than a blanket "we don't allow women" policy. It's amazing that a group at a university - where you'd expect a hint of acknowledgement of gender equality - can be quite so 19th century. Or should that be 1st century? I blame Paul. I bet they do (except they'd "credit" Paul).

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Arrow 23 replies Author Time Post
Reply (UK) Bristol University Christian Union maintains ban on women speakers (Original post)
muriel_volestrangler Dec 2012 OP
LeftishBrit Dec 2012 #1
mr blur Dec 2012 #2
cbayer Dec 2012 #7
trotsky Dec 2012 #9
dmallind Dec 2012 #12
trotsky Dec 2012 #17
LeftishBrit Dec 2012 #20
rug Dec 2012 #3
muriel_volestrangler Dec 2012 #4
dmallind Dec 2012 #5
cbayer Dec 2012 #8
dmallind Dec 2012 #10
cbayer Dec 2012 #11
dmallind Dec 2012 #13
cbayer Dec 2012 #14
dmallind Dec 2012 #16
cbayer Dec 2012 #19
trotsky Dec 2012 #21
cbayer Dec 2012 #6
muriel_volestrangler Dec 2012 #15
cbayer Dec 2012 #18
muriel_volestrangler Dec 2012 #22
cbayer Dec 2012 #23

Response to muriel_volestrangler (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 07:00 AM

1. This is shameful

Bristol is a top academic university too (e.g. that's where the distinguished psychologist Bruce Hood is based - some sceptics may have come across his work). It's hardly Oral Roberts, which makes this story even more shocking.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 07:14 AM

2. Ah, but if you were to object, you'd be "attacking their religious freedom" -

that's the freedom to be sad, misogynous, bigoted arseholes.

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Response to mr blur (Reply #2)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 11:53 AM

7. Who, exactly, would be saying that?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #7)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 12:02 PM

9. Oh, so it's OK to oppose the actions of a religious group this time?

You yourself have insisted that when a practice or behavior that we would normally oppose is done in the context of sincere religious belief and/or tradition, that it should be allowed and it's wrong to criticize.

What makes this case different? Can you explain your glaring inconsistency on this topic?

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Response to trotsky (Reply #9)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 12:20 PM

12. Simple - some causes trump weak religion, others don't. The secret is often how nonbelievers are

affected. An action by a religious group is always supported if it detracts from or negatvely impacts nonbelievers. If it makes nonbelievers laugh and simply reflects badly on believers, then it's often not supported, especially if approved minorities (essentially all of them except nonbelievers) are affected.

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Response to dmallind (Reply #12)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 12:46 PM

17. What a cynical, sarcastic view.

Yet utterly accurate, from what I can tell!

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Response to mr blur (Reply #2)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 03:20 PM

20. As far as I'm concerned they can have that freedom...

but the university should not be expected to provide funding and resources for it.

Nothing against Christian/Jewish/Muslim/Zoroastrian societies on campus, but if they expect the university to give them facilities for it, they should conform to basic anti-discrimination rules.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 09:16 AM

3. I shouldn't be surprised the UK has these types of fundamentalists as well.

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Response to rug (Reply #3)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 11:39 AM

4. To give that organisation its due, it's put out a "Bristol seems out of step" press release

Many hundreds of churches across the United Kingdom have a policy of not having women preachers. The Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF) - the umbrella group of the UKís 200+ student Christian Unions (CUs) - has no such policy.

The UCCF employs women and men in leadership positions on an equal basis. They all receive training in public speaking (for all types of meetings) and many of the women on our staff have thrived and developed their speaking gifts in the context of CU work - which might not have been possible in their local churches. UCCF employs women and men to lead the regional teams of staff workers and has women speaking at our regional and national conferences.
...
CUs are at liberty to invite speakers (male or female) who will maintain the unity reflected in the Basis of Faith, but it would be wholly against the spirit and intention of the UCCF Basis of Faith and the advice of UCCF staff if an individual CU devised a policy not to have women speakers for some or all of their events.

The Bristol CU is utterly committed to reflecting the core biblical truth of the fundamental equality of women and men as they resolve this matter. This is a sensitive issue and the recent email exchange has revealed the internal processes of an undergraduate CU trying to think their way clear on a subject that Church denominations around the world have struggled with. For now they need to be given the space to resolve this matter and will issue a statement in due course.

http://www.uccf.org.uk/student/news/uccf-statement-on-women-speaking-in-christian-unions.htm


Though, looking at that site, it seems 'Christian Unions' are a bit more doctrinal, and less ecumenical, than I realised. Their 'doctrinal basis' includes "The Bible, as originally given, is the inspired and infallible Word of God", which may be where the justification for the sexist claptrap came from.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 11:50 AM

5. They are just standing up for unquestionably biblical teachings

Apparently that's only ok some of the time. Me? I'm consistent and can state these people are buffoons with no cognitive dissonance. The believers who excuse other ridiculous actions on the basis of religious belief? Not so much if they don't support this too. 1 Tim is canonical, no?

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Response to dmallind (Reply #5)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 12:02 PM

8. Consistency and rigidity are often confused.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #8)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 12:13 PM

10. By religious people like this, yes they are.

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Response to dmallind (Reply #10)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 12:19 PM

11. By all kinds of people. Has nothing to do with religious beliefs, as you

so clearly demonstrate.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #11)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 12:24 PM

13. Then put up or shut up since you are insulting me - how exactly is my consistency rigidity?

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Response to dmallind (Reply #13)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 12:29 PM

14. Because your consistent anti-theist position leaves no room for anything else.

You take it, maintain it and express it every chance you get.

What would you think of someone who did that towards atheists? Would you not find that bigoted?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #14)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 12:46 PM

16. Consistent anti-theism my ass. Couldn't give a shit what people believe

Anti theocracy sure. Anti theistic privilege absolutely. Anti-Christian political dominance and exclusion you bet, but I dare you to show me ONE fucking example where I have indicated a desire to limit, regulate, didincentivize or punish pure belief.

By the way I see it done to atheists daily, right here, every day, and you for one have never said a fucking peep against it so spare me your sanctimonious shit about bigotry.

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Response to dmallind (Reply #16)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 01:15 PM

19. I support atheists and atheist causes all the time.

You, on the other hand, have a rigid anti-theistic stance and paint with a very broad brush with almost every post. That appears to be your sole reason for participating here.

Suit yourself. I have no interest in defending you or your position. I think it is divisive, destructive and harmful to democratic goals.


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Response to cbayer (Reply #19)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 03:42 PM

21. Such a hypocritical attack.

"divisive, destructive and harmful to democratic goals" - Kinda like allowing religious groups exceptions when it comes to promoting the progressive agenda, which you are in favor of.

I'd also question your use of the "broad brush" accusation when you've been one of the lead instigators in attacking skeptics/atheists as a group as having sexism problems to deal with.

Your passive-aggressive smears and attacks are so tiresome, cbayer. You need a new shtick.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 11:53 AM

6. I can understand why you thought it was satire. There is a quote from the BU Feminist Society!

What's up with that?


Is the Christian Union just some kind of campus club or organization? Is there some benefit to being a member? Why would women join it at all?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #6)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 12:40 PM

15. The Christian Union is a society affiliated to the University Students' Union

and eligible for grants from it - as, I think, is the Feminist Society. Why would women join the CU looks like a good question now, but I expect that, when they joined, the ban on them speaking at events wasn't explained. I would have thought one of them would have publicised it before now to warn others, and maybe to get a formal investigation started, however. Maybe they were persuaded to keep quiet so and not to air the dirty laundry of fellow Christians in public.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #15)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 01:09 PM

18. Is it the only alternative for christian students who wan to be in a club of some sort?

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Response to cbayer (Reply #18)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 05:02 PM

22. I don't know

"over 220 clubs and societies" - http://www.ubu.org.uk/pageassets/about/governance/financialaccounts/Final-signed-accounts-with-original-signatures.pdf

It might be the only Christian one that's not a specific denomination.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #22)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 05:12 PM

23. Well, I hope the women revolt. They could start a club where men can't

speak!

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