Saturday, August 11, 2007

Southern Baptist Seminary To Offer Degree in Homemaking

I'm almost laughing too hard to post this story*. Almost.

Southwestern Baptist, one of the nation's largest Southern Baptist seminaries, is introducing a new academic program in homemaking as part of an effort to establish what its president calls biblical family and gender roles.

It will offer a bachelor of arts in humanities degree with a 23-hour concentration in homemaking. The program is only open to women.

Only open to women. Well, of course. No manly Baptist man would be interested in learning how to cook or sew or raise children. And no good submissive Baptist woman would heed the call from God to the ministry when she could be popping out babies and decorating the house instead.

We all know that some guy who was writing in the style of the apostle Paul composed a missive in which he said, "And I (not God or Jesus or likely even Paul, mind you, just 'I', the author of the letter) do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man," so if she thinks she heard that call, she must be mistaken.
Coursework will include seven hours of nutrition and meal preparation, seven hours of textile design and "clothing construction," three hours of general homemaking, three hours on "the value of a child," and three hours on the "biblical model for the home and family."

Seminary officials say the main focus of the courses is on hospitality in the home, teaching women interior design as well as how to sew and cook. Women also study children's spiritual, physical and emotional development.

Yeah, I realize that the Bible was written during a time where women were nothing more than the property of their fathers, husbands, or sons, but I forget the passages where Jesus treated them that way. Clearly I missed the section of the Beatitudes where he said, "Women? Not so blessed. They shall cook, clean, sew, decorate, raise the children, and do whatever their husbands tell them to do. And if they think they hear a call to ministry, that's just Dad kidding around."

I wasn't surprised to hear that the, um, creative force behind the homemaker degree is Paige Patterson, former head of the Southern Baptist Convention and current president of Southwestern Baptist. He was a big part of the SBC's purge of moderates during the 1980's, and he oversaw changes in the Baptist Faith and Message decreeing that women aren't allowed to be pastors and that wives should "graciously submit" to their husbands.

When Patterson went to Southwestern Baptist in 2003, he made it clear that women weren't welcome on the faculty. He and the school are now facing a federal discrimination suit because Professor Sheri Klouda, the only woman on the theology school's faculty, was fired last spring. According to the suit, she was told that her contract was terminated because she was "a mistake that the trustees needed to fix".

Oddly enough, Patterson's wife Dorothy is now the only woman on the faculty. I guess she's going to teach cooking, sewing, and submission. For women only, of course.


* The online link from is incomplete, so I'm working from the print story in the Birmingham News. Yeah, I know, actually reading a newspaper? It's crazy. :)

UPDATE: Here's a link to the complete story.