Wednesday, March 15, 2017

2017 Princeton Kyuper Prize

There used to be a Virginia Slim TV commercial for cigarettes that had the quote, "you've come a long way, baby." Those words highlighted an extreme contradiction: Yes, women had come a long way; but the very fact that they called woman by the belittling name "baby" showed that women had a long way left to go. 

In a current analogy, the fact that Princeton Theological Seminary chose this year to award the 2017 Kuyper prize to Evangelical megachurch pastor Tim Keller, who doesn't believe women should be ordained, is a slap square across the face to women everywhere. Women are grateful to have been ordained and to be accepted in ministry, yet every day they encounter and cope with systemic, widespread discrimination and unthinking acceptance of misogyny. 

Would Princeton Seminary  have given this award to a man who proclaimed that the Bible supported slavery or (echoing the Jim Crow South) that "all Negroes should work on the farm"? Of course not!  It would be outrageous!  If there is a lack of similar shock and outrage over the selection of Keller as a role model for future theologians, it is only because so much of our culture is still wearing blinders when it comes to discrimination against women. 

Yes, women in ministry have come a long way.   Princeton's decision this week reminds us that, indeed, women still have a long way to go.

Tim Keller photo, from Wikipedia

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