Women in Christian school stifled while men fire school principal

Women in Christian school stifled while men fire school principal

St. John's Lutheran school on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

On Sunday, March 21, 2010, a meeting was held to determine the fate of principal John Hartwig who had been suspended  earlier for engaging in conduct “unbecoming a called worker”.  The Baraboo News Republic in Baraboo, Wisconsin documents the letter that was sent to school parents that announced Hartwig’s suspension: 

In a letter to school parents announcing his suspension, church pastors said Hartwig had promoted materials that questioned the church’s teachings and had engaged in conduct “unbecoming a called worker.”

Hartwig’s father, a former pastor, authored a document years ago questioning Lutheran doctrine that says women shall not have authority over men. Church members say Hartwig, who has been principal since the summer of 2003, was accused of distributing that document to several in the congregation.

Of the 300 people who attended the meeting, females were not allowed to vote and although they had been granted the privilege to speak at other meetings, this meeting they were not allowed to voice their opinions or even ask questions.

Sunday’s meeting was the first time in recent history that St. John’s Council President Don Finseth exercised his authority to prevent females from speaking, church members say.

Those at the meeting say that the vote was 76-74 to fire Hartwig.

How sad when women are treated as if their thoughts and opinions are worthless.  And this is at a time when the church needs every warrior in the battle against our spiritual enemy. I wonder how long it will be before our brothers in Christ see us as a tremendous value in the body of Christ and an equal heir of both the mercies of God and the gifts of God for the blessing of the body of Christ?

The full story is here.

8 thoughts on “Women in Christian school stifled while men fire school principal

  1. Interesting, women not being allowed to vote in church, in 2010, forced to be without a voice. Hmmm…

  2. If they only knew how Islamic they’re acting. (fundamentalist Islam that is)

    Just last week I read a piece on Huffington Post’s religion section where some Muslim women got together and protested a Mosque which adheres to the strict separation of the genders during worship.

    It’s funny how it doesn’t matter which fundamentalist religion you pick, but all of em’ are run by uptight men who hate and despise human freedom in any shape or form.

  3. The women of that school need to vote with their feet and walk. They need to pull their kids and their money and take them where women are appreciated and not relegated to non-personhood.

  4. Mara #4,

    I think it’s very much due to FEAR on two fronts:

    Some women fear that if they go against what their Church leadership decrees, it is the same thing as willful rebellion against God himself, and that they will share in the second death (lake of fire) which is reserved for unbelievers, apostates, and in some circles, recalcitrant believers.

    Secondly, many women will balk at freeing themselves from this stuff because they fear that they will no longer be a “club” member in good standing.

    The need to be wanted and validated by those with similar interests and belief systems is a need that is shared by all humankind; and when this is no more, what then?

    Although there are of course exceptions, men do not generally have a need for intimate community like women do.

  5. It is difficult for me to think that in 2010 Christian men do not care what women think and will not allow them to influence the church even in a “silent” matter through their votes (considering that the vote would have been a private ballot). Perhaps there is a great fear of change in these men that if they let the women speak they may influence some of the men and then they wouldn’t be able to eject the principal.

    Mara I think sometimes we do need to speak with our feet, but it takes courage to do that.

    Greg, I also agree that women can have a real fear of speaking with their feet. Sometimes it may seem to them that abusive leadership that won’t let them speak or vote is better than the unknown.

    But in the NT times believers, men and women alike, spoke up and often gave their lives for their testimony. Their boldness showed that the Holy Spirit not only indwelt them but they were willing to be empowered to take an unpopular stand.

    It can be very intimidating and lonely when you take a stand without people standing with you. But if we consider that the Lord Jesus should be foremost in our lives and our friendships, comfort and even our reputation is not as important as Him, then maybe we will get back to the boldness that the NT men and women had in serving and sacrificing for the Lord.

  6. Here is a quote from the church:

    “Our congregational president was not trying to disrespect anyone. We have a wide number of households and a representative spiritual leadership of males who were asked to speak on behalf of their families so the meeting would not be over five hours,” said the Rev. Carl Schroeder, of St. John’s Lutheran Church, in the statement.

    I guess 5 hours is to much time when you we look at someone’s job and future. To much time for his family that depends on the income. To much time to make sure their women are also comfortable with the decision.

    Oh boy! What cowards! If they can’t stand the heat…as the saying goes.

  7. Amazing. Sounds like the KKK, the Taliban, etc. Of course one would not want a slave to participate in having an opinion of whether he should be freed or not. That is the picture the world will see.

    Perhaps, there were more women than men in the congregation and the men who wanted to keep their superior position figured they could keep their privileges best by not allowing those women to speak and by exercising coercion on their fellow men. The sad thing is that they don’t seem to realize that their arrogance is obvious to many.

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