Dave Belton for
State Representative
GA District 112
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The Grand Old Party

Woman’s Suffrage

 

 

In 1878, the Susan B. Anthony Amendment – a movement that started by Christian women – was defeated four times by a Democrat-controlled Senate. When the Republican Party gained control of both houses of Congress in 1919, the Equal Suffrage Amendment finally passed, giving women the right to vote.

 

Nowadays, every country in Western culture allows women to vote. Sadly, that cannot be said in the majority of Middle Eastern and African nations.

 

Why? Why does the West embrace women’s rights, while much of the world is shockingly indifferent?

 

I would argue it’s because of the carpenter.

 

History is replete with the evils of sexism. Even Socrates, the brilliant philosopher from the enlightened nation of Greece, said he only put up with his wife because she bore him sons - in the very same way as one puts up with the noise of geese because they produce eggs. Up until the 1500’s, women in the East were routinely subjected to degrading practices like the killing of the wife on the dead husband's funeral pyre or involuntary child marriage at the age of five. Today in Africa, young girls are mutilated in order to promote chastity. And in China, the unspeakable horror of killing one’s own infant daughters in hopes of having a son has become so common, that there soon will be a critical shortage of wives for Chinese men to marry.

 

Not so in the West. We still have problems with equality, I totally agree. But our attitudes are far more superior – more egalitarian – than the rest of the world.

 

One might not think of the carpenter as a champion of gender equality. That is a pity. Because he is the first historical figure to overthrow eons of sexism, consistently treating women as equals.

 

This was a ground-breaking, revolutionary idea. The carpenter completely ignored Jewish purity laws and talked to women, even foreign women. A great example of this is when the disciples found him speaking to the woman at the well. They were confused, even furious. Yet He went even further, taking the unprecedented step of accepting women into his inner circle - and then taking time to teach them - something an ancient Rabbi would never do. He told dozens of parables in which women and men were equals, even stories where women got the better of men.

 

In perhaps his most outrageous affront to tradition, He actually addressed a woman as a “daughter of Abraham.” A “son of Abraham” is a beloved phrase in Jewish culture, meant as a male badge of dynastic purity. Not once in the entire Old Testament did anyone ever utter the words “daughter of Abraham.” Again, the carpenter was a first.

 

My favorite story was when He first appeared on Easter, not to the disciples, but to a pair of women. Now this narrative is so extraordinary that it helps prove the veracity of the account. Back then, a woman couldn’t even be used as a witness in a court of law. If the disciples had lied about the story of the empty tomb, why would they include the humiliating detail that they, the men, were cowering in a house, while the women braved the Roman soldiers? Think about it.

 

Most importantly, the carpenter defended the woman caught in adultery. He made the moral comparison that her sin – a sin of which she admitted – a sin that demanded the death penalty, was no greater than the cruel but judicious anger of the men that condemned her. Then he championed that woman, sending the self-righteous men away in shame. That brave act of mercy is one of the most pivotal acts of Western culture, forever forging our capacity to forgive.

 

Compare that mercy to the present-day culture of the Middle East. Adulteresses are executed by the sword - even today - now, in the 21st Century. It happens in public, in the middle of town, for everyone to see. I know – I’ve been there.

 

Which is why I’ll never understand how anyone can sympathize with people who state that women have inferior minds, that most of the people in hell are women, and won’t allow women to vote. Sorry, I just don’t get it.

 

Many would complain that we haven’t done enough. Equality has taken too long, and women – even in the West – are still not treated equally. I totally agree. Others might argue that followers of the carpenter – or people who claimed to be followers – have had sexist, even horrible views towards women. Unfortunately, religions are made up of human beings, and human beings are often quite horrible.

 

But I would contend that if, over the last two thousand years, everyone embodied the ideas of the carpenter – the first person in history to treat women as equals – we wouldn’t have had that problem.

 

Better to follow that shining example than to ridicule those who try. 

 


Lincoln’s Crystal Ball

 

 

The recent objections to our fight for survival have been very sad.

 

I’m reminded of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Everyone knows the, “Four score and seven years ago,” part, but few can recall the next and most important sentence:

 

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.

 

This wasn’t a rhetorical question from a confident leader - ready to answer with a quirky sound bite. It was heart-wrenching query from an embattled president. It was an admission of doubt from a beleaguered man who sent hundreds of thousands to their deaths in what was, at the time, a losing effort to preserve a fledging democracy.

 

Why did he do it? Did Lincoln own a crystal ball? Did he know that if he sacrificed 700,000 lives that the United States would someday become a superpower? Of course not. America in 1863 was a weak, unstable, backwater nation. 

 

He did it because we were, “a new nation, conceived in Liberty, dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” That was all Lincoln needed to know. Democracy was worth the cost, so that the “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

 

We are staring in the maw of a dangerous enemy - an enemy that hates us not for what we’ve done, but for who we are. Only some people don’t believe that. Some talk of “globalization” and the inherent peacefulness of the human race, blithely wishing we could all just get along. Or they point fingers at those who defend democracy, resorting to name-calling and political pandering to further their narrow aims.

 

Don’t get me wrong. Like most people, I’m gravely disappointed by recent events. Like every conflict, ours has been fraught with mistakes. And it would be simply marvelous if everyone on the planet lived in peace and harmony.

 

But eons of history proves we can’t. The world is full of people who will kill and steal what others have. Ditto for nations. If the 20th Century proved anything, it proved the human race is even more bloodthirsty than we’ve ever been before. To think otherwise is foolish.

 

Was Lincoln wrong? Is it right to fight for democracy? Or should we wallow in self-incrimination and doubt, crucifying the shepherd who (at least) tries to defend his flock?

 

The wolves are watching.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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