Mormon women cannot be priests. Catholic women cannot be priests. Muslim women cannot lead prayers in mixed-gender congregations. Jewish women are restricted in praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. But Mormons have the “Let Women Pray” campaign. Catholics have the “Women’s Ordination Conference.” Muslims have “Muslims for Progressive Values.” Jews have “Women of the Wall.” What is going on here?
Last week, a Mormon woman led a prayer before 100,000 people gathered in Salt Lake City — a first for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Also last week, 150 Jewish women prayed at the Western Wall, five of whom were arrested by Jerusalem police. In West Hollywood, a Muslim gender-equal prayer space has been in operation for most of a decade. On Holy Thursday last month, in an annual ritual commemorating Jesus’s washing of the apostles’ feet, two of the 12 whose feet Pope Francis washed were women — another first.