What does the Koran say about dargha prayers

Gender rolesThe distrust of religions towards women

The medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas racked his brain over women. And came to a simple and momentous result: "Thomas Aquinas is someone for whom it was clear that women are men who have died in an accident, a human being who has not achieved the full human form. But still a being that is natural for reproduction, for the continuation of the human race. "

From today's perspective, this position appears to be "very time-dependent," says the Catholic theologian Marie-Theres Wacker. It is completely clear that in this picture women are not full-fledged people or that they are in the same way as God in the image of men. If you go back further in history, it doesn't get any better for women: "For example, Augustine, the great church doctor of the 5th century, set things up so that women, together with men, are in the image of God, but not alone. If you have such interpretations of tradition up to and including Holy Scripture, then it is not surprising that women are not allowed into decision-making positions, "said Wacker.

Responsible for the house and for attending church services

There are many examples like this in the history of religion. Probably all world religions distrust women - from Buddhism, which was founded in the fifth century BC, to Hinduism to Islam, which emerged on the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th century. "The historical and political environment was one that was shaped by patriarchal structures and mostly also feudal structures. The role models for women and men were determined accordingly and women were mainly assigned tasks in the house as wives and mothers," says the Marburg religious scholar Edith Franke.

Their balance sheet for the old religions is clear: "Whenever religions found institutions and large organizations, women are excluded from leadership and religious leadership positions. And they have no power of interpretation. That is very important. Because women have no access to the interpretation of texts and thus (...) also the religious practice and self-understanding of religion.

The result was that the respective image of man was based on the ideal of men. The women were assigned the space in the house, raising children and, if necessary, attending church services. Known among Catholics as the three 3 Cs: children, kitchen and church. Such specifications were partly considered to be divinely legitimized, as an order given by God. Franke also proves this for classical Hinduism, where the ideal is oriented towards the life of men. Women were often not considered capable of attaining higher religious orders or even enlightenment. However, there were always counterexamples, exceptions.

Edith Franke: "In the texts of the religions we always find both, if you take a closer look, texts that express exactly this aspect of the religious equality of men and women or texts that express that women are subordinate to men."

The decisive factor is which texts are used

Therefore, it is very important in the religions which texts are used and carried on, says Franke. And that is where the members of a religious community themselves are actually challenged, especially women. There is no instruction in the traditional words of Jesus in the Bible that women should submit. If Jesus did not call women as apostles, but only this group of twelve men, says the Catholic theologian Wacker. Then it has to be seen in the historical context. Jesus' appearance must also be classified in the respective time - and there were patriarchal structures. If the message of Jesus is carried over to the present day, there should also be consecration offices for women. That is, women should also be able to exercise the priesthood.

Marie-Theres Wacker explains: "Our generation, I am 65, is still fighting for it - yesterday I had an event with students in their early 20s who said they no longer understand the problem at all. They said they did do not understand why the Roman Catholic Church thinks it has to argue. It is as clear as day that women can do that if women want them to be admitted there. I believe the reality of the official Church, which is from the grassroots of the young women at the grassroots level very, very far away. And it is also depressing that credibility is not exactly promoted by such discussions. "

It looks different in Judaism. Congregations elect their own rabbis, who put the prayers of the congregation before God. For many decades there have been female rabbis in Reform Judaism, among the Conservatives and the Liberals. Before that, women were not allowed to study the Torah - this was considered a privilege of men. In Orthodox Judaism, people still cling to this traditional distribution of roles.

Training is the crux of the matter

Marie-Theres Wacker: "The woman who is understood as the priestess of the house and the man who represents the field of Torah study and also the public representation of religion to the outside world."

Equality also depends on girls' access to religious education - if there was no such thing, there were no teachers.

"... because they weren't included in the training under religious law," says Marie-Theres Wacker. "And if you crack that, and it has been cracked in the meantime, then you have already overcome most of the obstacles."

In Germany there are now a handful of female imams who largely assign themselves to liberal Islam. So far, women have been an exception in this position. Gender segregation is still an issue today - not only in church services. The gender segregation is lived in many traditional Muslim societies - but it is culturally conditioned, and Oriental Christians also follow it. Wacker says that the gender segregation is not justified strictly on religious grounds. Rather, it also plays a role that men do not want to give up their privileges or that they are simply afraid.

Bishops who refuse to shake hands with a woman

Marie-Theres Wacker: "I have seen bishops who do not dare to look you in the eye when they shake hands with me as a woman. That exists in Islam, in Judaism too - that men do not look women in the eyes if they shake hands at all. "

The theologian also analyzes that many priests in the church clung to their identity, which states that only men are allowed to represent the Catholic Church. If the women in the Catholic Church are given access to the diaconate, this could be a first step towards establishing eye level in the Church, says the theologian. But only if the diaconate goes hand in hand with an ordination and not just with a blessing - that would be a dead end, not equality.