Religions and governments are based on values that shape our thoughts and form, ultimately, the laws with which we agree to obey: our social contract. They might have divine inspiration, but they are all written by humans and subject to human error and error in interpretation.
In a previous post, I expressed contempt with parts of the Bible that suggest and/or state that women are lessor than their husbands. This particular part of the bible is a letter written to convert and educate non-Christians and early Christians on how they deemed Jesus‘ teachings. Sure, I’ll buy divinely inspired – but the Bible, no matter how many Men may have blessed it, is up for interpretation pending the history and context of the time. There are many contradictions within, and if one suggests that you must take the whole bible at face value without heartfelt interpretation, they are either ignorant or trying to sell you a bridge you can’t afford.
Our government was formed by shaping some vision and stating some initial values. When we first ceded from British Rule, you may recall we began with a document: The Declaration of Independence, lovingly written by Thomas Jefferson. In the first few lines it is stated that
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. (Wiki on the Declaration of Independence)
What did that mean at the time? White, property owning, Protestant, Men. That’s what that meant. It was time, war, and paradigm shifts that changed that meaning to include all Men of any color any property status, and Women. Some today would still argue that Women are not a part of this ideal.
People still think women should be in the home tending to home things, a definition that has been denigrated, especially, over the last 50-70 years. An idea that the only important work people can do is outside the home, making money – not necessarily taking care of those we love.
In some manner, though, I feel we have come a long way from those first changes of thought. Women can vote. We can choose (although it’s a tough, not very equitable choice) to work or stay at home. We can choose how many children we want. We can choose. We have become more accepting of all sorts expressing their love for each other (I’m talking about homosexuality and interracial relationships). We have simply become more understanding, more inclusive, more in line with “All men (people) are created equal.”
Then someone reminds me the bible says, women are to be subordinate to their husbands as their husbands are to God. And, then I think of the line in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner where Sydney Poitier’s character states to his father that nothing will change until the older generations die out.
I don’t want to discredit what our elders give us, for they are the giants with which we build and rebuild our society, evolving it for a better society tomorrow. But, sometimes, it feels like there are these chains of oppression simply holding us back – preventing us from valuing all walks of life equally and it feels like that won’t change until the older generations pass on to another life.
- Subordination (michellelasley.net)