A blog reader sent my way a Huffington Post article that was published yesterday about how Lebanon has the Arab world’s first ever female pastor: Rola Sleiman, who heads the Presbyterian Church in Tripoli, up North.
Rola was ordained as Reverend Rola Sleiman on February 26th, 2017 in a 23-1 vote that makes her, historically, the first Arab woman to ever be the head of a church. In fact, Reverend Sleiman was actually heading the church for the past few years as a pastor, but without being ordained she was unable to perform Communions or Baptisms, and needed to have a male priest oversee her work.
She is now the spiritual leader of her congregation, a job she’s been technically doing since 2008 – except right now, she doesn’t need any men of the cloth to supervise her anymore. Rola Sleiman thinks “it’s not a big deal” that such an event occurred. She says “I was serving my Church and will continue serving.”
But this is a big deal. The fact that a Presbyterian Parish in Tripoli ordained a woman to be their spiritual leader speaks volume about the strides forward that some parts of Lebanese society are doing. Rev. Sleiman is the first woman – ever – in the entire Arab world’s Christian population be be ordained as a priest. In other words, she’s the first woman to break into a calling that’s only been reserved exclusively for men.
That small congregation in Tripoli will now have the honor to be headed by Rev. Rola Sleiman for the following years to come. She’s a woman who is now championing equality in facets of Lebanese – and Arab – societies that we never thought could be broken into. It’s fitting that this occurs at the start of the international month for women empowerment.
Rola Sleiman’s ordainment is of vital importance in the climate of the world today where far-right groups are taking power and throwing minorities and women rights to the back of any tangible importance. As she told Huffington Post: “If the Church discriminates against women, what should we expect of the state? Christ is love, and love does not distinguish between men and women.” She is breaking tradition, ancient rules and cultural sensitivities.
In fact, she may be breaking some of the strongest traditions in the country and the region. For many, their highest form of authority is the priest who has always been a man. This time, it’s a woman. I hope Rev. Sleiman becomes the champion that her position permits her to be.
Of course, this will not change the status quo of the fight for equality between the sexes in Lebanon or the Arab world in general, but it can change some of its dynamics. To have a woman be ordained as a priest for a congregation – even if it’s small – and have that congregation not be opposed to it (as is obvious through that 23-1 vote) speaks volumes about how far we’ve come as a society, and it makes me proud.
In a country and a region where woman, despite being a demographic majority, are vastly under-represented be it in religious affairs, politics, business, etc… Rola Sleiman’s ordainment speaks volumes.
There will be people in this country, Christians and otherwise, who will have a problem having their Church headed by a woman. Catholics and Maronites don’t even allow it. But in a landscape filled by men, a change of perspective and, therefore, a change in direction is what is needed. Rev. Rola Sleiman can be that catalyst towards change in the heart of the Lebanese Church and the face of Arab Christianity.
Here’s to many more years to come in joyous and prosperous service of your altar and congregation, Rev. Sleiman.
A priest has been filmed on camera sexually harassing and assaulting a woman, from showing her his penis, asking her to jack him off, to asking her if her vagina was tidy and tight. It’s utterly disgusting.
It starts with a meeting with the priest over some business matter. Eventually, the man starts to hit on the reporter (he doesn’t know she is one, obviously). After inquiring about her living arrangements, he invites her to stay at his local.
From there on out, he starts to talk about his libido.
Suppose we want to sleep together.
In hypothetical scenarios of course. “Suppose we want to sleep together,” he tells her, before going on a tirade about his sexual prowess. Yes, he is 70 but he can still fuck like a stud. And he doesn’t take viagra!
I don’t do it more than twice a week. Even once sometimes.
He only sleeps around once or twice a week.
It has to be completely secret. My social status cannot permit gossip.
I’m a man and the woman I want should keep my position and dignity.
After all, he is a priest and his position in society demands high levels of privacy and secrecy. No gossip allowed when it comes to him, of course.
I want your vagina to be tidy and clean. Is it tight or loose?
And of course, the highlight of the conversation is to know whether her vagina, or as he calls it “at’out,” is clean and nice and whether it is tight or not.
I’ll pull it out and show it to you… take it…
Play with it… It’s soft.
And then there are the sexual advances, from flashing her his penis and asking her to jack him off and get it erect.
– Show me… Take it off. – Take what off?
To asking her to flash him as well.
– Get away from me. What do you want from me? – A kiss… and it’s enough.
To try and kiss her forcibly.
– Isn’t this against religion? – Why are you afraid?
To not even caring when she brings up that what he’s doing is against the religion he should be preaching. When it comes to being horny, that holy cloak is dropped like the last piece of leaf covering up Venus’ crotch. Here’s a link for the full video:
The tragedy of the matter doesn’t stop here. While watching the video and feeling horrified at what that man was doing, the true horror was on the right side of the screen in the comments section as people, including women, tried to DEFEND what he was doing.
This is disgusting and has nothing to do with Christianity. The question to ask is why are they targeting only Christian religious men?
There were those who clearly see this as an anti-Christian campaign. Why else would anyone want to discuss this ever? Because Rima Karaki didn’t, just last week, make global ridicule of an Islamist!
He’s a wise-ass and she’s a slut. Her voice is irresistible.
And there were those who blamed her for being a whore with an irresistible voice. How could any man resist?
Since this TV station and its reporters are whores, doing this report clearly shows that the priest is innocent… Would they dare do this to non-Christian religious men? Or is it because they know our religion is that of peace and mercy they attack us? A day will come where you will fall to the hands of people who will make sure you forget what your profession is.
And there’s the one who thinks NewTV and its reporters (females) are whores, which clearly shows that the priest is innocent. And of course NewTV wouldn’t do this had the religious man not been Christian. I mean, can they even?
They’re sending her to seduce him and then they’re glad they caught him… go home.
Support to the priest also comes from non-Christian Lebanese. When it comes to penises, men must stick together. How dare that woman try to seduce the priest?
Good for him. She’s a slut.
Certainly the woman is to blame.
Don’t you have anything other than religious men to talk about? Go see politicians and their actions. Disgusting media.
And it’s all clearly an LBC and NewTV led propaganda because there’s no way a priest can do this. The priest in question tried to defend his “honor” by accusing NewTV of fabricating the video and sending a woman to seduce him.
Not All Priests Are Bad… But This One Is Rotten:
Being born and raised Christian, going to a catholic school and being around churches all my life, I can attest to not all priests being bad. One bad priest does not ruin the whole. Some are men who actually follow the teachings of their religion and who try to help people to the best of their capacities.
This priest, however, is beyond rotten. What he’s doing cannot be defended. NewTV wouldn’t have sent an undercover reporter to his office hadn’t they known about his practices. They should have shown his face. They should have said his name.
How many women has he molested before? How many women has he sexually assaulted? How many women has he slept with? How many women thought they had no other options but to sleep with him? How many people has this priest terrorized through Sunday sermons into sexual repression, of fearing their bodies, for the sake of being chaste to God?
How disgusting is this man to think that “women seducing him” is an excuse to be such a revolting man whose vows of chastity were not only thrown out of the window, but burned at the altar of the Church he serves?
His Church should strip him of his cloak, and ban him from all his religious practices.
How horrifying is it to think that there are people in this country who think that just because someone is a priest or a religious man can absolve the horrible things that those people do? How scary is it that there are people, even now, who can fathom defending such a man just because of the way he prays and who think that TV stations have an ulterior motive other than to get people talking?
Do people really think that the Lebanese Church, whichever this priest belonged to, would have done anything about him even if they had known? The Vatican is barely doing anything about the pedophiles.
I’m sure this isn’t a one incident thing. There are probably plenty of priests and sheikhs in the country doing worse than this, to age groups that are even younger. Before you try and defend this scum or even agree with him that the station trapped him, think about all the people who have fallen victim to them and who don’t have a voice to defend them.
A priest does not a holy man make. Religion does not a good person make. Repeat after me.
New TV met with the priest for an interview that he requested. His name is Antoun Farah, currently the head of a Lebanese charity for the handicapped. Obviously, he claimed that the video is fabricated… but he refused to meet the woman whom he harassed. He was shown his face on the video without the blurs and he was still adamant that it wasn’t him.
How so, he was asked. I don’t know was his reply.
The fact that he’s not a priest practicing in a parish does not change anything in the way he should be dealt with. What’s scarier is that he was stopped from practicing in a Church due to a previous scandal that may have involved sexual harassment as well and still the Lebanese Church in charge of him did not think it would be best if he were stripped of his religious title.
Let me put it this way: if any priest is faced with anybody in front of them, naked to the skin and tempting them, it is their job not just to resist temptation but to cover those people up. Such a disgusting man.
Because the government has so much free-time on its hands,
Because nothing else is important & going on nowadays,
Because there’s nothing wrong in Lebanon that needs to be rectified,
Because our threshold for offenses is so damn low and our pride so damn high,
Because our journalists are so keen on research,
Because our TV stations can’t wait to eat up a controversy,
Tannoura Maxi has been banned in Lebanon, following a request by the Lebanese Catholic Information Center. Hate or like the movie, you can’t but be against such a thing. If you think this is irrelevant compared to what the country is going through, you are right. But then think about how such a decision came to be in the light of what the country is going through and you’ll come to the same conclusion I got to.
This is pitiful. This is a disgrace. This is an insult to our intelligence and our freedom. This is an insult to Christianity, an insult to the Bible and an insult to anything Jesus Christ stood for.
Christian priests, are you happy? I am a Christian and I’m telling you – you are disgusting. You are so narrow-minded that if I tried to look through the hole that is your mind, the only thing I can see is emptiness. Is that what they teach you at whatever school you go through to become priests? To close in your mind and get offended at anything that touches on your religion in a way you find unfavorable?
How does this reflect on us, Christians, when your narrow-mindedness if the only thing people can see of us? Have you perhaps wondered that if some people decided to convert from Christianity because of a movie like Tannoura Maxi, however unlikely that may be, it’s not the movie’s fault but it’s your own? Or it’s perhaps because you don’t want the reality of having so many people with so little faith on your hands that you are panicking about anything and everything?
Weren’t you offended, dear priests, by Muslims smashing statues of the Virgin Mary in Where Do We Go Now? Weren’t you offended by them faking a miracle and saying the word “waté” in church? Weren’t you offended by one of the actresses throwing dirt at the statue of the Virgin Mary?
Or is “offending” religions also hypocritical in Lebanon, some can get away with it while others are burned at the stake?
The whole idea of bans in Lebanon needs to be banned. Censorship is never the solution. Prohibition should never be allowed. Religious men should not be permitted near anything that exceeds their field. Go to your churches, parishes and mosques and leave books, movies and TV shows alone.
On April 2nd, the Lebanese Forces commemorated the party’s disbanding.
As part of the proceedings, many people spoke about the importance of this party in the lives of many Lebanese and its vital role in the many years that it has been active. I will not go into those speeches, but they were very engaging. At one point a priest told a story about a woman who asked to go into a solitary cell at a convent. Three days later, she came out and told this priest how horrible those three days were and she wondered how the Lebanese Forces leader, Samir Geagea, could handle staying in worse conditions for more than seven years at the time. Geagea ended up being imprisoned in solitary confinement for over 11 years.
The Lebanese Forces have always been a highly organized party, as evident by their many events and the acclaim they get based on their level of organization.
However, that’s not where they’re pioneering. After all, many other parties in Lebanon are highly organized, albeit in a different way.
The Lebanese Forces are set to become the first party in Lebanon where the base elects the party’s leader. And that to me, is pioneering.