“Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well.”

Matthew 9:22

SHOULD WOMEN BE IN POLITICS?

In the last election a record number of women won seats in the House of Representatives. As a result of this, a friend of mine asked me how many woman do I think should be in the house of representatives. My simple answer, “Two hundred-seventeen and a half.” Jokingly my friend said, “Who is going to be the half?” Then knowing my background in ministry, relayed to me that he had heard that Jesus didn’t want women in charge? And further he stated it says so in the Bible! How could I support women in politics?

My first answer, stating two hundred-seventeen and a half, was more of a reflection of what is fair. Surely every gender, race and walk in life should be fairly represented in our House of Representatives. For us to live into spirit of our wonderful constitution, no group should be denied unequal access to the bounty of freedom our great democracy provides. No one group should gain, while another is left behind. Certainly, I know there is no one half of a person, my answer was a little tongue in cheek to make a point.

In regards to answering the second about the equality of women in politics as not being Biblical. I told my friend I couldn’t agree that the Bible says women shouldn’t be in politics. Sure we can find isolated verses that might imply that women should not be in politics, but when these verses are taken out of context of the entire paragraph that surrounds them, their meanings change. My professors, while I was getting my Doctorate degree, would call this selective verse taking to make an argument, “Versification.” Simply It is a failure in creating a position on a subject based on one verse in a fourteen hundred page book. Simply finding a verse to support our life’s opinion is in error and potentially dangerous. Verse’s must be studied and put in the proper context. Each verse must be thought of in the entire context of the Bible and with God’s wishes.

Before we cast women out of politics,  we should consider the following:

  • The first gender to visit the tomb after the resurrection, was female.
  • The first mass evangelist in the Gospels was the Woman at the Well.
  • One of Jesus’ most famous statements is, “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
  • Jesus ate with both women and men.

What is remarkable about these actions by Jesus, is how revolutionary they were in the first century. In that society, men ruled everything and women were never used as examples to look up to. For Jesus, he represented, both genders, in his stories, remarks and parables. This very act of including women in his stories in the first century was an extraordinarily radical change in direction.

Jesus’ most important healing lesson was with the bleeding woman, who had barged in amidst a man only event to touch Jesus’ cloak. Instead of being rebuked by Jesus, the woman was told, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. In the first century, it was a male dominated society, but Jesus spoke about women equally.

But what is far more important about Jesus’ treatment of gender, was not that he favored either gender. His service was for all humankind. Women should not be denied access because men should come first. Likewise, men should not be denied access because women should come first. Jesus saw all people as children of God

Jesus would support the attitude of let the best candidate win. In our current age it has become fashionable to assume all men are ill behaved. It has become fashionable to say all men oppress women. This is a very dangerous line of thinking as well, most men are not naturally bad or poorly behaved. To achieve gains at the expense with global assumptions about any group is not sustainable. We should not make enemies while we rise up in life, we should make allies. No gender, race or orientation has a corner or monopoly on bad behavior. All people are endemically good and born with the inheritance of being made in the image of God. Both men and women! When we think otherwise, we unfairly take rights away from a particular group.

I still think two hundred-seventeen and half is the right number of women to serve. Perhaps in one congressional district we could have a woman serve six months and a man serve the other six months each year.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Photo by Chris Leggat

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