I want to discuss something that has emanated deeply within me as it was not something I had really ever given thought to. Growing up a male I have attended church services from dozens of different affiliates from Baptist, Roman catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian to name a few. Through my many years of military service in the U.S. Navy I have had encounters with many other religious denominations as well such as Judaism, church of later day saints, Muslim, Buddhism, Pagan, Wicca, Jehovah’s witness, among many others. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago when a fellow student mentioned the lack of women in religious leadership roles I had every truly thought about it. I had only ever seen maybe one religious leader who was a Woman in my entire life. It was onboard my first Navy ship and she was my first Navy Chaplain. Thinking back through my 32 years of life it was the only female I had ever seen in a position of church leadership.

Doing a deep dive throughout the course I realized women are not typically ordained for positions of power. There are very few sects of religious worship that allow it. Going through my week 8 and week 10 current event posts for my History of Christianity class I realized this was the topic of focus for me for 2 weeks. One article written by Alan Cowell for the New york times titled, Church of England prepares for vote on female bishops, discuses how the church of England passing a vote to open this up for female ordination. Although it would still give every church autonomy to reject this decision for its own ordinations. It seems odd that almost 1,000 years after a large push to remove women from positions of leadership something like this would stand in today’s world of equality.

Another article I stumbled upon Laurie Goodstein also written by the New York Times titled,  Catholic priest in U.S. faces excommunication for woman’s ordination, discusses how a priest tries to do ordination for woman. He is threatened with excommunication directly from the Vatican if he does not comply and write a letter recanting his decision. It seems so strange that we focus on things that many are speaking out for in current times.

I decided to reach out to the female military Chaplain to get more answers, but she herself could only tell me that ordination for women especially in military service is rare. She didn’t really know the history of it as much and gave me other resources to talk to people with. Out of the almost 800 chaplains the Navy alone has, only 57 of those are women, a mere 7% of the overall force in just one branch of service. When the general makeup of overall military force for the Navy is about 336,000 we have about 53,000 women serving, a roll of about 15% of service. It seems there is a huge misgivings of numbers for diversity within the chaplain core. It has definitely given me a lot to think about when i view diversity even from other standpoints I have not taken before.

Cowell, A. (2012, November 19). Church of England Prepares for Vote on Female Bishops. Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/20/world/europe/church-of-england-female-bishops-vote.html?searchResultPosition=3

Goodstein, L. (2008, October 14). Catholic priest in U.S. faces excommunication for woman’s ordination. Retrieved August 29, 2020, from https://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/14/world/americas/14iht-14priest.17821520.html

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