Women Want to be Included in "Self-Evident" Truths
Women Want to Be Included in “Self-Evident” Truths
In the recent election, women seem to have gained their footing as serious players on the political stage. Connie Cass of the Huffington Post wrote, “Sorry, fellas, but President Barack Obama’s re-election makes it official: Women can overrule men at the ballot box.” Polls show that 55 percent of women voted for Obama in the recent election. The vote included 96 percent of black women and 76 percent of Hispanic women. Not only did they vote to re-elect Obama, but they also increased their presence in the House and Senate to 73 and 20 respectively. Women were not permitted to vote prior to the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. Since that time, they have become a force to be reckoned with. Their status in the world is changing.
From ancient times, women have been basically relegated to inferior status, given difficult roles, and treated as man’s property. In 1898, O. T. Mason in his book, Woman’s Share in Primitive Culture, wrote, “In many books on travel, women among savage tribes are pictured as an evil star, and as a brutalized slave of man to be kicked or killed at his pleasure.” He stated further that, among other things, they were given the role of “food bringers, “weavers of cloth,” “skin dressers,” “potters,” and “beasts of burden.”
Biblical scholars know that this portrait of women dates back to Bible times. Minette Drumright, a Southern Baptist Seminary professor, quoted Evelyn and Frank Stagg in their book, Women in the Life of Jesus, who said, “The tension appears at the outset in the distinct creation narratives of Genesis 1-2, and it is traceable in both the private and public life of women. Over all, there is…male-orientation and male-bias… In the patriarchal form of family life which prevailed in ancient Israel, the woman was always subject to the male… In fact, she was considered a man’s property. The typical Hebrew word for wife (ishshah) meant ‘woman belongs to man.’ A woman called her husband ba’al, meaning ‘master’ or else adon, which meant ‘lord.’ A woman’s role was to fulfill her husband’s sexual desires, bear him sons, tend his household, and obey his wishes. As agriculture developed, she was expected to work in the field.”
It is well-known by biblical scholars that “women were not counted as members of the congregation in the synagogue. They could worship in the outer court; but even there, they had to worship in silence. And girls were not given religious instructions, because it was believed that females were incapable of learning. Books on traditional Judaic wisdom depicted women as dangerous, weak, unfaithful, and seductive.” Men even “had a contemptuous attitude toward women that was so crystallized in the century after Jesus that orthodox Jewish men prayed this prayer every morning: Praise be God that he has not created me a Gentile; Praise be God that he has not created me a woman; Praise be God that he has not created me a slave or an ignorant man” (culled from Drumwright’s study guide).
Drumwright also listed some strange saying by the rabbis. Listen and weep! His is one: “Let the words of the law be burned, rather than commit them to a woman.” Here is another: “Even the most virtuous woman is a witch.” Another: “At the birth of a boy, all are joyful, but at the birth of a girl, all are sad.” And still another: “Four qualities are in women: they are greedy at food, eager to gossip, lazy and jealous.”
Even in the New Testament, women are portrayed as being inferior to men. Among other things, Paul tells them to “submit” to their husbands as they would submit to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife (Ephesians 5:22-23). He also said he would not “suffer” women to teach or to have authority over men (I Timothy 2:12).
The question is whether it is God’s will concerning women or the inspired writers’ belief about God’s will. The simplest answer is that it is against the total nature of God to be bias toward any people, including women.
Without a doubt, women believe strongly in the Bible, but they perhaps have “something” deep within that informs them that God has not limited them to the statement in a concurring opinion in a 19th century Supreme Court case upholding a law that banned women from becoming lawyers: “The paramount destiny of women are to fulfill the noble and benign office of wife and mother.” Women embrace the role of being “wife” and “mother,” but they know that’s not their total destiny.
Perhaps it was that “something within” that led Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to hold a convention in Seneca Falls, New York, in July 1848 that started the suffrage movement that finally led to the right of women to the ballot box 72 years later.
Because the GOP and Mitt Romney declared war on women’s rights in the 2012 elections, women showed up at the polls in such large numbers that Barack Obama’s victory can largely be attributed to their vote. They proved wrong those who said in the 19th century that “women did not have enough judgment to choose a political candidate” and “argued that women’s reason was not equal to men’s,” as stated in the 1959 World Book. They flexed their muscles and the world knows, without a doubt, that they are on the move.
They want the self-evident truths that “all men are created equal” and are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights” to apply to them as well as to “men.” They, too, want the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” and rightly so.