For 150 years the Mormon church barred all members of African ethnicity from attaining the priesthood based on the alleged prophecy that dark skin reflected the “mark of Cain”. Then, in 1978 the prophet of the Mormon church received a new revelation that God wanted the ban rescinded.
Good to know!
An outside observer would reasonably conclude that a policy which was retained under the aegis of divine revelation was, in fact, racist. Interestingly, in recent years the LDS church itself appears to have conceded the point. (source)
Which brings us to the Christian church, and in particular the large sections of that church (most notably the Roman Catholic Church) that bar women from the priesthood. The position is today widely called “complementarianism” based on the assertion that women and men are equal but different, and as such particular roles in the church should be limited to men.
This past week on Twitter, I asked the question of whether Christian complementarianism is immoral and sexist. The results were not surprising. Two-thirds insisted that it is, and a mere 8% claimed that it was incorrect but still moral or, as I said, “permissible”:
According to Christian complementarianism, particular leadership roles in the church and home should be reserved for men. This view is _____________.
— Randal Rauser (@RandalRauser) January 11, 2018
Of course, the Christian complementarian will believe the position is a divine mandate and thus cannot be sexist or immoral by definition. But then the same could be said for the traditional Mormon who believed people with dark skin should be excluded from the priesthood. The challenge comes in defending the position to those who do not already hold it.