by Kelly Pelton (written 04 Dec 2021)

I cannot pretend it's acceptable
for some to interpret the word of God
to relegate women to second-class status
as over their souls the powerful trod.

I cannot pretend it's integrity
causing you to be subordinating
half of your membership to the stronger;
their value is less, you're insinuating.

I cannot pretend that there's not a mountain
of scholarly research to validate
that women in ministry serving Jesus
were never treated as second-rate.

I cannot pretend the subtle abuse
of power-over tactics is not real.
The damage is ongoing and oppressive;
their confidence in God's fairness you steal.

I cannot pretend, though certain women
defend gender hierarchy as God's will.
To deny that abuse is actually abuse
allows it to fester unabated still.