Do Women Have The Right To...

Have you ever heard something like, "Is that the 1611 you are reading?" Many of you know the reference is to the King James authorized version of the Bible. But did you know that the first major revision of the Bible, in 1895, was by a woman? Katherine Cady Stanton. The Women's Bible.

So was that a good thing? Clearly the revision was for more than spiritual matters. As one noted speaker stated, "Ms Stanton didn't like what the Bible conveyed about women, so she rewrote it to fit her own personal views." She had an agenda and the Bible got in her way. Feeling the Bible devolved...demeaned women, she set out to rearrange its gender differentiation.

Publishing her rendition caused her reputation to be questioned. Remember, this was the 1800s. While her audience embraced fighting for the rights of women, they were not as interested in battling with God and the King James. So she lost some of her devoted followers, but that did not deter her will to conquer the misfortunes of women at that time in history.

A Brief Backdrop
Katherine grew up with the influence of a well-educated father, an attorney and politician. She was a brilliant young woman, who would have probably pursued being an attorney had the era allowed it. As would be the standard of the time, her brother did what she was not afforded. He died at about age 20, which left her dad devastated as he was the only living son he had.

She notes that she comforted her dad telling him that she would set out to be all that he could have wanted in a son. To her utter dismay, her dad replied, "Oh my, daughter, I wish you were a boy!!"

Another encounter with a man that changed her life was with well known minister, Charles Finney. She became a great admirer of his teachings. However, his thoughts on hell and damnation began to wear on her mind, so much so that she chose to abandon Christianity.

Perhaps these two events in her life influenced her desire to go forth and conquer a man's world, even to the point of rewriting the Bible.

Yet another note of interest: While she succumbed to the need to be married (1840), she refused to say "obey" in the wedding ceremony as it was clearly contradictory to her cause. Being equal left no room for such. By the way, if you are coming from a Biblical view, the Bible says submission, not obedience. And it also says we are to submit one to another. But let's not argue about that. At least not today!

And Katherine did choose to bear children. Seven. The last at age 44! She made it clear that she elected to have children, not just acquiescing to sex for propagation purposes to fulfill some womanly duty.

Partners In The "Right" Time
Her partner in the suffrage movement that you may be more familiar with: Susan B. Anthony. While they didn't always see things the same issue-to-issue, they continued to work together for many years (some 50 years) for the cause of women's rights.

While Ms Anthony may have been the more conservative of the two, if there is such a thing. She was not a part of the group of women with Stanton who rewrote the Bible to fit their agenda. And it seems she benefited from that as people began to revere her once Ms Stanton published her new Bible for women.

Too, Ms Anthony was an avid anti-abortionist. From her own lips, "When a woman destroys the life of her unborn child, it is a sign that, by education or circumstances, she has been greatly wronged." (1869) Some would argue that she fought for the rights of women to have say over their bodies and would have wanted abortions to be legal. We can decorate it all we want, but the reality is, she did not agree with abortion. Note, she said, "...destroys the LIFE of her UNBORN child."

Her concern was more why women got into the situation causing them to consider abortion. She felt that if women were afforded the same rights as men, abortion would not be an issue. Hmmmm. I guess she missed the mark there. Here we are in the 21st century, and women have all the rights Ms Anthony fought for and more, along with legal abortion on demand, in "safe" conditions. Yet, women are still "destroying the life of their unborn children" as Ms Anthony noted how many years ago? So what would she say today? That we can argue, but we will NEVER know.

Both, Katherine and Susan, fell into prejudice at times, claiming that the white woman would make better decision makers than black men would. While they were all for freeing slaves, they were frustrated that black men were being afforded the right to vote, while women were not.

Complementing Each Other
Katherine was the brain behind the speaking, even writing many of Ms Anthony's speeches. Ms Anthony, on the other hand, was the force behind the organization of events, etc. Susan, being unmarried and no children had a greater opportunity to travel and speak, while Katherine being married with children (seven) was limited. But they were wise in they each played out their gifts, creating a perfect match for success in the political world.

My View
While I'm grateful for the women who paved the way for me having freedom to be equal with my male counterparts, I'm certainly not on the same page as they in many of their given philosophies. Yet, there is much to be learned from these women, no matter if we agree with them or not. I think it's more a matter of how and what we will do to preserve our rights.

Will we angrily shove those freedoms down the throats of men? Will we continually contribute to being objects? Or will we recognize we are equal while we are clearly different. That we all have our place and our position. That we all have much to bring to the plate of success as humans. That we were both designed by God to fulfill a complete plan.

Really, what will "we" choose to do?
PICTURES: Wikipedia. First Photo: Ms Stanton. Second Photo: Stanton(seated) and Anthony.

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