Ethiopia : Does God have a Gender? and Why We Call God ‘Father’
Have Religions contributed to the inequality between men and women is basically the theme of this discussion between religious leaders.
Freh Sehbat from Megabi Mistir’s (Nourishing Mystery), a leader in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church takes part in this timely and pertinent discussion about gender issues in Ethiopia. In addition, Abel Mussie from the Catholic Church, Pastor Yodit from the Protestant denomination and Fatuma Hussien represents the Islamic Faith.
All are welcomed by the radio host and discussion moderator. Audiences have been surveyed and many feel that religion has had an adverse effect in terms of woman’s rights. Listens are given a phone line and invited to participate through SMS texts.
Firstly, the basic question we say that the creator has no gender but yet we refer to him in the male pronoun ‘Ante’ as compared to ‘Anchi’ which is female.
Freh Sehbat of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church takes the first question. Firstly, he said, God is addressed as a male. In Genesis, the first chapter of the bible and onwards this is the case. “This is how we have been taught”, he surmised.
He says this does not unduly influence woman’s rights in any way he says.
Abel Mussie of the Catholic church continues. He begins by saying that God does not have a male or female identity. God is a perfect spirit and a father, a creator.
Meanwhile, Megabi Mister’s representative quotes the songs of Dawit in G’eez, the ancient Ethiopian language. He explains that the traits of God are exemplified through metaphors of fatherhood and motherhood both.