Women of the Cloth

Women of the Cloth

Women of the Cloth
Denomination Ordination of Women Permitted? Percentage of Clergy Who Are Women Status
Buddhism See status 0% Although it's believed that the Buddha himself created the first order of bhikkhuni, or nuns, the tradition fell out of favor in some Asian societies, like Sri Lanka, where female ordination is a divisive issue today. By contrast, in other countries, like Taiwan and the United States, women can be fully ordained as Buddhist clergy.
Christianity Catholic No 0% In 1994, Pope John Paul II decreed that the teaching against women's ordination was definitive. Some women have recently been ordained by rogue priests and subsequently excommunicated. Women may serve in such leadership roles as religious education director and pastoral administrator.
Eastern Orthodox No 0% The issue of female ordination would have to come up before an ecumenical council, but it has not been addressed yet.
Episcopalian Yes, beginning in 1976 21% The unprecedented June 2006 election of Katharine Jefferts Schori to the position of Presiding Bishop has reignited conversation and debate over women as religious leaders.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Yes, beginning in 1970 13% The ELCA was created by the merging of American Lutherans and the Lutheran Church in America, both of whom had a history of feminism.
Lutheran-Missouri Synod No 0% Although they cannot be ordained, women may be deaconesses, parish nurses, and directors of Christian education.
Methodist Yes, beginning in 1956 19% By a slim ratio, female divinity students in Methodist seminaries currently outnumber their male counterparts.
Latter-day Saints (Mormon) No 0% Although the Church's World Conference in 1970 called for increased roles for women, the concept of ordaining women was immediately tabled and has not been raised again. Women may serve in such leadership roles as religious education director, Relief Society president, and other positions.
Presbyterian Church (USA) Yes, beginning in 1956 20% The U.S. Presbyterian Church recently elected the Rev. Joan S. Gray as its Moderator, a one-year position akin to an ambassadorship.
Southern Baptist No 0% Many Southern Baptists cite 1 Timothy 2:12, "I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent."
Islam No 0% The majority of Islamic scholars reject the idea of a female imam, often citing the Qur'anic verse, "Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means." (4:34)
Judaism Conservative Yes, beginning in 1985 11% Rabbi Cyndie Culpeper of Alabama recently became the first female rabbi ever to lead services in Poland.
Orthodox No 0% "[Ordaining women] shakes the boundaries of tradition, and I would never allow it," says Modern Orthodox leader Norman Lamm.
Reform Yes, beginning in 1972 16% The first Reform female rabbi ordained in the U.S. in 1972, Rabbi Sally J. Priesand, retired this month.
Unitarian Universalist Yes, beginning in 1863 60% The 1863 ordination date is actually claimed by the Universalist Church, which predates today's Unitarian Universalists.

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