In his remarks in Nairobi, the president stressed that there was “no excuse” for treating women as second-class citizens. He strongly condemned “bad practices” that oppress and degrade women as being of lower status and worth than men.
“Every country and every culture has traditions that are unique and help make that country what it is, but just because something is part of your past doesn’t make it right; it doesn’t mean it defines your future,” said the president.
“Around the world there is a tradition of oppressing women and treating them differently and not giving them the same opportunities, and husbands beating their wives, and children not being sent to school. Those are traditions. Treating women and girls as second-class citizens. Those are bad traditions. They need to change,” said the president to massive applause and whistles of approval. Employing a sports metaphor he said, “We’re in a sports centre: imagine if you have a team and don’t let half of the team play. That’s stupid. That makes no sense.”
Aides released a statement explaining that President Obama feels it necessary to stress the same message in his address to Adventist leaders “after a meeting of the world church where man made traditions of women’s oppression wielded undue influence in a vote that kept women from being recognized or properly compensated for the incredible work that they do as leaders within the denomination.”
Obama is expected to say to GC leaders that just as the oppression of women is unacceptable in any country or culture in today’s day and age, it should be “absolutely ruled out by faith communities that claim to follow a Higher Power.”
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