Maybe as much as any other election in history, so-called women's rights has again become an issue. As far as I can tell, it has become less about "the right" trying to end abortion than "the left" scaring people that that is the plan. The politics of it, though, is not what Sunday message is about. I know that those who support what they call "women's rights" are not going to be turned by anything I say. Their conception of the world is that their personal "rights" are paramount. I have even heard it described as "no rich old man in Washington is going to tell me what to do with my body." Well put. I really believe that for a vast amount of these people that is the crux of the argument- and that that, boiled down, is nothing but pride.
This is not a post designed to demean women, either, because quite frankly, I feel the "women's rights" movement does that itself. This post is about why I feel that to be the case.
Many who don't read the Bible rail about how the scriptures demean women. I don't see it that way. I HAVE seen men- even pastors- who IMHO take the concepts of the Bible too far, who feel justified in a "women should be seen and not heard" concept. But that was never the point. Look at what Paul says to married couples in I Corinthians. While women are urged to "respect" their husbands, men have the far greater duty to "love your wife as Christ does the Church".
Christ never demeaned His Church. He never told it to shut up or hide it's light under a bushel (quite the opposite, in fact). He never hurt it, beat it, or forced it to do anything.
What He did do was teach it, protect it, lift it up- oh, yes, and He gave His life for it.
Shifting gears slightly, look back in the Old Testament. Yes, the culture was different, and yes, there are things women weren't allowed to do. And I know many of you will say that's because "God perpetuated an male-dominated society to keep women downtrodden" or some such garbage like that. And that is, in fact, the way man INTERPRETED how to do things back then, because, mankind is a fallen race whose understanding of God's purpose is "as through a mirror, darkly". But God set up the way women were TO BE treated because of The Gift.
Did they understand The Gift? Do you? The women of the time did. They saw childbirth as their greatest gift, their highest honor. The greatest works that God did then often started with a woman for whom The Gift just wasn't there- a woman whose womb was barren. Women were honored by childbirth- not the great heroic women for whom God had other tasks like Deborah or Judith, but the mainstream, run-of-the-mill women without whom the human race WOULD NOT EXIST.
Look back farther to the story of The Fall. Three characters are at play here. Satan, AKA Lucifer, who had been created the most glorious of beings, and had the most reason of all crated beings to have pride in self. Adam, the master of the world of clay, given commission by God to "fill the earth, subdue it, and have dominion over it." And Eve, without whom Adam couldn't fulfill the very first commandment- "Be fruitful and multiply."
Now let's look at the punishments for the fall that each received. To Lucifer, "On your belly shall you crawl and dirt shall you eat all the days of your life." This is not a fanciful explanation of why a serpent doesn't have legs, or a mistaken impression that a snake eats dirt to burrow his den. This is taking the highest form of life ever created, Lucifer, and making him the lowest- the ultimate villain, the blame for all ills. He was struck in his greatest gift- his reason for pride.
Likewise Adam, whose mastery of all things was now to be diverted by the curse of the ground, the "thorns and thistles" that would bar his way, the sweat with which he would now bring forth his bread. He still had a kingdom, but it would be in constant rebellion.
Now Eve would also be hit in her greatest gift. God said to her,
"I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain shall you bring forth children..."
Don't miss my point. I'm not focusing on childbirth is painful because Eve sinned. I'm pointing out that each of these three were punished through the greatest gift God had created them with, and for the woman, childbirth was that gift. It was her honor, her glory that mankind went on because of her.
And now we have the "women's rights" movement, who say that a woman has a right to terminate a pregnancy at any time, for any reason. They see this as independence of men, to "be able to do what I want with my own body." Pride. But the cost of that pride is throwing away the great gift that God gave them. The dishonoring of woman in today's world begins with those who say that this great gift is an inconvenience, who look at the life of mankind in the womb as no more than a turd in the bowels until it is born. They say that a life in the womb is "unviable", and thus is theirs to dispose of at their leisure. Never mind that that same logic would deny the elderly or hopelessly sick medical care for the same reason. If that isn't the case, look and see if the same party that supports "women's rights" isn't the same one that wants a medical panel to decide what treatments you can have, and which are denied to you due to age or extent of infirmity. They call it a "slippery slope" because you don't know you are sliding down it until it's too late. You'll rationalize and come up with ironclad reasons why it should be so- until they day YOU find yourself in the Soylent Green factory.
Women are the greatest glory of mankind- and that status is confirmed by women holding the keys to the Gift. So now, you tell me- and I'm not talking about women who for whatever reason choose not to be mothers. I'm talking to men and women who promote that the greatest "gift" of a woman is "to be able to do what she wants with her own body". God's gift gives life and continues the human race. Their gift brings death. Who truly honors women here?