The Right to Vote – 102 Years Ago Today
The Nineteenth Amendment was passed on this date in 1920 (August 18, 1920) and guarantees all American women the right to vote. But before we get into the details behind this monumental decision, of that time, we first should analyze how culture set the stage for such inequality to exist in the first place.
From the beginning of time, the Bible tells us that God made man, in His image. From man, God made woman. So, from this time forward, the Old Testament tells us that man was the decision maker and the head of the family as man was representing God Himself in all matters. 1 Timothy 2: 11-15 tell us: “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.”
Culture and society had held that women were not equals to men, and thus women have not been counted or considered in the role of governments, leadership, nor even in the early censuses taken. In fact, when we read of the 5,000 that Jesus fed with simply 5 loaves of bread and two fish (Matthew 6: 37-44), that would have been 5,000 men only as this would not have counted the women and children. So, it is more likely there were anywhere from 8, to as many as 15, thousand that Jesus and His Disciples fed on that day.
The way of placing women behind and not equal to men, was very much an Old Testament sediment and philosophy, but when Jesus came on the scene, this changed in many ways. The Apostles Paul, Luke, and others tell us what God had conveyed in Hebrews 8: 6; “But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs (Moses and Josephs followers) as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.
For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said: “The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.”
Romans 9: “For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”
Jesus clearly elevated the role of women. The new covenant was key to clarifying God’s true intent and desire for all. Jesus coming to walk among us was not only for the eventuality of His crucifixion to save us all, but also to clarify God’s Words and expectations. This was necessary not only due to our sinful nature but also because the religious leaders of the day had, in many cases, grossly misinterpreted, or misrepresented, God’s Word and intent.
Jesus’s regard for women was much different from that of the current culture. Jesus’s approach to women was “revolutionary” for this era. There are many examples of this more-equal treatment of women by Jesus, and some are found in the four Gospels.
First, Jesus regularly addressed women directly while in public. This was unusual for a man to do (John 4:27). The disciples were amazed to see Jesus talking with the Samaritan woman at the well of Sychar (John 4:7-26). He also spoke freely with the woman taken in adultery (John 8:10–11).6 Luke, who gives ample attention to women in his Gospel, notes that Jesus spoke publicly with the widow of Nain (Luke 7:12–13), the woman with the bleeding disorder (Luke 8:48; cf. Matt. 9:22; Mark 5:34), and a woman who called to him from a crowd (Luke 11:27–28). Similarly, Jesus addressed a woman bent over for eighteen years (Luke 13:12) and a group of women on the route to the cross (Luke 23:27-31).
A second aspect of Jesus’s regard for the full intrinsic value of women is seen in how he spoke to the women he addressed. He spoke in a thoughtful, caring manner. Each Bible writer records Jesus addressing the woman with the bleeding disorder tenderly as “daughter” (references above) and referring to the bent woman as a “daughter of Abraham” (Luke 13:16). Jesus called the Jewish women ‘daughters of Abraham’ (Luke 13:16), thereby according them a spiritual status equal to that of men.”
Jesus demonstrated only the highest regard for women, in both his life and teaching. He recognized the intrinsic equality of men and women, and continually showed the worth and dignity of women as persons. Jesus valued their fellowship, prayers, service, financial support, testimony and witness. He honored women, taught women, and ministered to women in thoughtful ways.
Although it is clear that Jesus elevated the role of women, society for the most part had not.
Fast forward to the 19th and 20th century. In the U.S., the amendment to allow women the right to vote, was first introduced in Congress in 1878. Over the years, champions of voting rights pursued different strategies for achieving their goal. Some worked to pass suffrage acts in each state, and by 1912 nine western states had adopted woman suffrage legislation. Others challenged male-only voting laws in the courts. The political landscape began to shift in 1917, when New York adopted woman suffrage and again in 1918, when President Woodrow Wilson changed his position to support an amendment. On May 21, 1919, the House of Representatives passed the amendment with the Senate following two weeks later. When Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment on August 18, 1920, the amendment passed its final hurdle of obtaining the agreement of three-fourths of the states. With this document of August 26, 1920, Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified the ratification.
Today, in most cases, women have total equal rights even though there still exists some disparity in career compensation, athletic equality, and in some other areas.
One area where we hear a great deal about women’s rights is with abortion and its allowance or restriction. The prevalent argument is that restricted or unallowed abortion infringes on a woman’s rights. It is a very compelling position and argument until you truly look into root cause. The root cause is becoming pregnant, which is nearly always a conscious choice – this is where all women truly have their rights – to get pregnant or not. The symptom of becoming pregnant, after consciously choosing to enter into the act that created the pregnancy, is not the issue.
To agree with this women’s rights stance would be the same as saying, convicting and sentencing someone who violated the law is an infringement upon their rights. The person breaking the law made the conscious choice to do so, that was the event where their right to choose, or not to choose, such action occurred. Once they have committed the offense, thus limiting their rights, the outcome becomes a direct result of their decision – their choice. Just like choosing to do something that could lead to pregnancy.
On this date in U.S. history, women were given the right to vote. This gave them all the same legal rights as men. Just over two thousand years ago, God, who has created each and every one of us, sent His Son to Earth to better communicate His love and intentions for all of us, His creations. He also sent Jesus to die for our sins. God gave us all the rights to live and prosper in this beautiful world he created for us.
Today we should celebrate our equality, and God’s love of us all. We are all God’s creation – God’s children – from the unborn baby just created to the Woman at the Well, to everyone including me and you, man and woman alike. God Bless women, God Bless the unborn, and God Bless Us All!!!!!!!!!!!