On Women and Sectarianism

In class the Thursday before break, we watched a film that revealed the everyday lives of members in a Fundamentalist Baptist Congregation. The film itself was incredibly intriguing, and it was shocking to see such an accurate and honest depiction of the lives of these members. Something that stuck out to me however, was the treatment of women in this particular church. Repeatedly throughout the film, women are subservient to men. This is a fairly common practice within most Abrahamic Religions, but what was shocking to me was the dialogue that went on about women and just how submissive women were seemingly forced to be. The whole plot line with Bob, the man whose wife left him and the church, illustrated this best, I believe. Through his dialogue with John and others, you hear him accuse her for driving him away, not his alcoholism or abusive tendencies. He is waiting for God to “reveal to her that she is in the wrong” and taking responsibility for his actions seems out of the question. The wife obviously loves her kids and wants to see them, but Bob will not let her until she is “no longer living in sin.” This behavior seems to take the Judeo-Christian Patriarchy to an unhealthy extreme. My question is whether this behavior comes naturally to a sectarian congregation. Does the rejection of outsiders exist within as well?

From my observations, it seems that sectarian congregations seem to have an exceedingly intense Patriarchal system imbedded within them. Women are not placed on an equal level as men. In fact, they are not even close to being equal with them. I believe that it may be likely that there is a sense of “otherness” within these congregations. Those in leadership have a sense of superiority that detaches them from the rest of the group. This imbeds itself in the doctrine and practices of the group, leaving those in an inferior position with the idea that they belong in said position.


(I also still find it hilarious that the boys’ shorts were a good foot shorter than the cheerleaders’ skirts.)