Christians – how do you treat women? I don’t address this just to men, but to women as well. We often say the “right things”. But when it comes right down to it, do we do what we say? Or do we live by the old adage, “Do as I say, not as I do”? There are so many reasons to ask this question. But the thing that has me asking today is two things I read in the news.
Both have to do with our President. It seems when Trump opens a hand to offer an olive branch, he just can’t help using that hand to slap someone. In this case, Susan B. Anthony was the olive branch. The slap was to Michelle Obama and, oddly enough, Susan B. Anthony.
And so, the question has to do with whether or not we live up to what we claim to believe. Do we find that kind of behavior acceptable? Is it even normal? And if we agree it’s not, why does it still seem to be acceptable for this president? What kind of precedent does he set and what kind of message do we send when we silently support it?
Furthermore, as the image implies, I’m not just talking about those two women. Or even just famous women, I’m talking about all women. Every race. Any nationality. No matter their religion. And not any other category by which we seem to think we have a right to hate someone. I really mean all, with no exceptions.
Yes – this is addressed to Christians. It’s also applicable to non-Christians. And I hope you take it to heart. Learn something about how Christians should act. Even come to accept Jesus for what He actually taught, as opposed to being turned off because of what too many Christians have failed to learn.
How does the favored candidate for many Christians treat women, for example, Susan B. Anthony?
Here’s how Trump treated Susan B. Anthony.
First, from Trump Says He Will Pardon Susan B. Anthony as He Again Targets the 2020 Election in the NY Times.
At first glance, maybe the headline looks like a good thing. It may even make us wonder how come it was never done before.
President Trump said on Tuesday that he would pardon Susan B. Anthony, the women’s suffragist who was arrested after voting illegally in 1872 and fined $100, as he tried to appeal to female voters on the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving them the right to vote.
“She was never pardoned. Did you know that? She was never pardoned,” Mr. Trump said. “What took so long?”
Mr. Trump teased the pardon as he traveled on Air Force One on Monday, telling reporters he was going to erase the conviction of someone “very, very important.”
Anthony was tried for illegally voting and protested the fine she was charged.
“She was guilty for voting,” Mr. Trump said on Tuesday, “and we’re going to be signing a full and complete pardon.”
Sounds good, doesn’t it? Well, wait just a second.
She is also an increasingly divisive figure, adopted by anti-abortion forces and criticized for relegating Black suffragists to the sidelines. On Tuesday, Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion political group, and Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer who represents conservative groups, were in attendance as Mr. Trump made his announcement.
Oops. Could there be another motive here?
Well, actually, yes.
The pardon for Anthony would be the 26th of his presidency and, like most others Mr. Trump has issued, it drew criticism from Democrats, including Kathy Hochul, the lieutenant governor of New York.
“As highest ranking woman elected official in New York and on behalf of Susan B. Anthony’s legacy we demand Trump rescind his pardon,” Ms. Hochul wrote on Twitter. “She was proud of her arrest to draw attention to the cause for women’s rights, and never paid her fine. Let her Rest In Peace, @realdonaldtrump.”
Mr. Trump, who has repeatedly been accused of sexual harassment or assault and who has often made degrading comments about women, is facing a deep gender gap in his campaign against Mr. Biden. On Tuesday, surrounded by several female supporters, Mr. Trump declared that “women dominate the United States” and complained that the coronavirus pandemic had darkened the economic picture for women.
Had Trump actually looked into why no one ever pardoned Susan B. Anthony before, he might have understood why giving her a pardon wouldn’t be popular among women who support the cause for which she was proudly arrested.
And so, in giving the pardon, he’s actually going against her wishes. Unlike so many of his friends that he’s pardoned who appear to want and need a “get out of jail free card”, Susan B. Anthony didn’t want one. Not did she hide from what she did.
Christians, how do you treat women like Susan B. Anthony?
I wonder, how do we treat women who stand on principle like she did? Do we belittle their accomplishments? Do we undermine them? And do we rub salt in the wound by then using them as a vehicle to attack someone else?
If you’re feeling insulted by those questions, and if you really don’t do those things, do you speak out against those who do?
How does the favored candidate for many Christians treat women, for example, Michelle Obama?
In another article covering Trump’s pardoning of Susan B. Anthony, the headline from CNN is Trump celebrates women’s rights — and attacks Michelle Obama.
At an event aimed at highlighting the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote, President Donald Trump disparaged the country’s most admired woman, Michelle Obama as “over her head” after she delivered a scathing, direct-to-camera speech criticizing him at the Democratic National Convention Monday.
“Well she’s in over her head, and frankly, she should’ve made the speech live, which she didn’t do,” he said Tuesday when asked his reaction to Obama’s remarks, calling her speech “extremely divisive” before quickly pivoting to talk about drug pricing.
Obama has frequently topped the list of the nation’s most admired women and left office with a 69% favorability rating.
Obama issued a strong rebuke of the Trump administration, and Trump personally, in her 19-minute taped remarks.
So just because she said something Trump didn’t like, he decides to trash Michelle Obama. It’s not surprising, really. Just see Say bad things about me and I’ll destroy you. In that one, Trump didn’t differentiate between men and women. However, people often treat women even worse than men. That makes the question of how we treat women all the more important.
And what’s the ulterior motive here?
The President has repeatedly appealed to what he calls the “suburban housewife” in his efforts to court the key voting block of suburban White women, with fearmongering about fair housing laws meant to combat segregation in recent weeks. He’s also resorted to racist and sexist tropes to describe presumptive Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris.
Asked to clarify his perception of the suburban women voter Tuesday, Trump again used the word “housewife,” though most suburban women work.
“I view it very strongly that the suburban voter, the suburban housewife, women — and men — living in the suburbs, they want security and they want safety,” he said.
Oddly enough, it’s somehow supposed to appeal to suburban women (housewives as he calls them) and their fear of non-white people. In other words, racism. And it’s made pointedly after trashing Michelle Obama.
Is this really the way Christians should treat women? Should we be talking this way about women?
A President should be bringing people together, not driving us apart.
Oh, by the way, Christians should be bringing people together too, just in case you never thought about that.
Gal 6:1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, 5 for each one should carry his own load.
I’ve spent a lot of time testing my actions. As I said in an earlier article on this topic, I used to be Republican. However, with Trump, I cannot maintain that. His actions are so against what I believe to be the right way to live, that I can no longer support that party. There’s just to much silence. Acquiescence. Fear of the bully. We, Christians, should not be that way.
Gal 6:6 Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.
Gal 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
I, for one, do not want to reap what Trump sows. Not by my actions. Not even by association or silence about his actions.
8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
While many Christians do support Trump, I cannot. To those who do, I pray you will examine Trump, yourself, and what Jesus taught. Then ask for His guidance.
9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Yes, it can be tiring. Like blowing against the wind of a category 5 hurricane. And yet, I also feel like I should not give up.
Do you see that part at the end where it says do good to all people?
Where we read “all people” there’s only one Greek word.
3956 πᾶς [pas /pas/] adj. Including all the forms of declension; TDNT 5:886; TDNTA 795; GK 4246; 1243 occurrences; AV translates as “all” 748 times, “all things” 170 times, “every” 117 times, “all men” 41 times, “whosoever” 31 times, “everyone” 28 times, “whole” 12 times, “all manner of” 11 times, “every man” 11 times, “no + 3756” nine times, “every thing” seven times, “any” seven times, “whatsoever” six times, “whosoever + 3739 + 302” three times, “always + 1223” three times, “daily + 2250” twice, “any thing” twice, “no + 3361” twice, not translated seven times, and translated miscellaneously 26 times. 1 individually. 1A each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything. 2 collectively. 2A some of all types. Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.
There are no exceptions in there. Even when we read all men, we must recognize that means it’s translated as “all men“, not that it literally means all men. Rather, it means every, all, the whole. Even when it’s translated as “all men”, the Greek word is related to “all” and the word “men” is implied. God is not saying half of His human creation is excluded from everything the Bible says.
In the Old Testament, it was a time of a very patriarchal family structure. Jesus actually began to include women when He walked the earth.
The creation of Adam and Eve
But check this out:
I. God’s View of Women. Toward the end of the first chapter of Genesis, we read: “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Gen. 1:27–28).
I think we’d do well to remember this passage from Genesis. You know, Genesis – the beginning. Back when things were still the way they were meant to be? Before the fall? It really begs the question, is our view of women today based on the way God intended? Or is it based on what happened when sin was introduced in what’s known as The Fall?
The answer should be of great concern to every Christian.
This passage shows two things about women.
First, woman as well as man was created in the image of God. God did not create woman to be inferior to man; both are equally important.
Yeah – there’s nothing in that passage that one is greater or less than the other. Both men and women were created in the image of God.
Second, the woman was also expected to have authority over God’s creation. Man and woman are to share this authority—it does not belong only to the man. Packer, J. I., Tenney, M. C., & White, W., Jr. (1997). Nelson’s illustrated manners and customs of the Bible (p. 421). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.
Again, in this shared authority, there’s nothing about one being more authoritative than the other. Nothing.
Ultimately, two things become apparent in what we just looked at.
One is that both men and women were created in God’s image. God’s image. What does that say about how we should treat each other? In this case, about how we treat women.
The other thing is that men and women, in a spiritual sense and in God’s eyes, are equal. Both created in His image.
Now, we probably want to go back to how Eve was created from one of Adam’s ribs. But let’s look at that.
Ge 2:4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
Ge 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
Ge 2:18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Ge 2:19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.
But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
OK – so Eve was made from Adam’s rib. Or was it really, literally, a rib? Here’s something on the Hebrew word we read as rib:
6763 צֵלָע [tselaʿ, tsalʿah /tsay·law/] n f. From 6760; TWOT 1924a; GK 7521; 41 occurrences; AV translates as “side” 19 times, “chamber” 11 times, “boards” twice, “corners” twice, “rib” twice, “another” once, “beams” once, “halting” once, “leaves” once, and “planks” once. 1 side, rib, beam. 1A rib (of man). 1B rib (of hill, ridge, etc). 1C side-chambers or cells (of temple structure). 1D rib, plank, board (of cedar or fir). 1E leaves (of door). 1F side (of ark). Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.
Is it literally one of Adam’s ribs? Well, not necessarily, It was something, but maybe not literally a rib. Does it matter? Of course. That act of removing something from Adam and creating Eve from whatever that something was helps to define the relationship between the two of them.
Ge 2:23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”
Again, the wording here is important.
Let’s look at what we have from a Jewish point of view. The Old Testament, after all, is Jewish Scripture.
Most English translations of Genesis 2:21-22 read, “The Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up flesh in its place. And the rib that the Lord God took from the man he built into a woman.”
The description of the woman made from the man’s “rib” has led to the mistaken conclusion that women are inferior to men because they originate from one small part of the male anatomy. Yet the Hebrew word צלע (tsela) does not mean “rib,” but rather “side.” According to Exodus, for example, God told Moses to make four gold rings for the Ark of the Covenant, “two rings on one side (צלע; tsela) of it, and two rings on the other side of it” (Exod 25:12). Likewise, when God takes one tsela from the man to make the woman, Eve comes from an entire side of Adam’s body, not a single rib.
Adam’s own words clarify that Eve comes from one of his sides when he declares of his wife, “Finally, this is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh!” (Gen 2:23). Had Eve been created from the man’s rib alone, Adam would only have been able to say that she was “bone of his bone.” As Adam’s bone and flesh, the woman is the man’s “other half.” When man and woman cleave to one another and return to being “one flesh” (2:24), the two equal halves of humanity are brought back together. The primordial couple in Genesis represents God’s vision of equality and complementarity between the genders. https://weekly.israelbiblecenter.com/eve-come-adams-rib/
Interesting, isn’t it? Not what we Christians hear or read. And yet, it’s been Hebrew Scripture for thousands of years.
Ge 2:24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
Ge 2:25 The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
Of course, the remainder of the passage is about husbands and wives. Certainly relevant as far as the way husbands and wives should treat each other.
But we’re talking any type of relationship involving a woman here. Friends, Co-workers. Political opponents. Even strangers who bump into each other and have some sort of interaction, no matter how minor.
Conclusion – Christians – how do you treat women?
After all this, what can we, as Christians honestly say about our dealings with women? How do we treat women? Given the way God created us, men and women both in His image. As equals. Two halves of humanity. Do we honestly behave like that?
Or are we more like Trump? True enough, he degrades everyone who doesn’t bow down to him. But his treatment of women involves sexist remarks and actions that he wouldn’t do with a man. Are we like that?
And if we aren’t like that, if we believe we should be better than that, why do so many Christians continue to look the other way? Worse yet, why is he even cheered on by so many people? It’s a horrible way to treat a co-equal member of God’s creation.
So whether we just ignore it, go along with it, or even applaud Trump’s behavior, what does that say about us as Christians? What does it tell others about Christianity? Which leads to the question of what will people think Jesus must be like if we behave so badly and we’re examples of supposedly good Christians?
In the end, figuratively and literally, what will Jesus think of us when we represent Him in such a manner?
If this article got you thinking about Trump and wondering if Christians should question whether supporting him is a good witness to others, may I suggest reading The Spirit of God says, ‘I have chosen this man, Donald Trump, for such a time as this.’ ???(Opens in a new browser tab).
|↑1, ↑3||Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.|
|↑2||Packer, J. I., Tenney, M. C., & White, W., Jr. (1997). Nelson’s illustrated manners and customs of the Bible (p. 421). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.|