The Sun is at the Center of the City… February 25, 2013

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There was a time when folks were shocked to discover that the sun did not revolve around the earth. It may be central to our egomaniacal natures–to think that even powerful objects like Helios have to submit to our earthly will.
Likewise, just about the time I think I’ve become a well-rounded individual, having freshly knocked off a corner of one of my prejudices, I suddenly realize that I am still in the infant states of understanding, crawling towards comprehension.

It happened to me yesterday morning at Sun City Center. First of all, you will never meet a more delightful group of people, shepherded by an intelligent, competent woman possessing a tremendous world vision. But as I sat at my book table conversing with the departing folk, a dear lady came to my side and explained to me why she attended this particular house of worship.

“I used to go to a Baptist church because I like my worship a little more lively. But I was just never able to tolerate the indifference and even hostility they had for women. It culminated one Sunday when a young couple scheduled to sing a song for the Offertory had to be separated because–the male part of the duo was allowed to sit up on the platform and the female had to sit in the audience until it was her time to play the singing bird. I was outraged by the injustice. I was ashamed to be part of a country that still allows such backward thinking while pretending they’re pushing the world in a forward, democratic direction.”

I listened to her carefully. It struck me. I’ve always been a believer in equality between men and women, enacting it in my dealings. But I realized that the United States of America is stuck in specific timelines on various issues:

  • Racial relations–I think we’re still in the 1980’s. In other words, “people of different races should have rights-=I just don’t want to hear about it.”
  • Equality for all citizens despite individual preferences? though some folks think we’re progressing, we’re still a decade or two behind the rest of the world.
  • But on the issue of women–their rights, place and value–it might as well be 1892, with corsets and button-up shoes.

There are no equal measurements available. If a woman is organized, gregarious and commanding, she gets labeled with the “b” word (even though we feel no compulsion to not use the entire extent of the term). Women in this country have to accept the fact that they earn less money. Women are instructed that if they become assertive at all, words like “annoying,” “nagging,” “motherly” and “nasty” will impugn with character.

It just struck me that as we pursue Afghanistan, bringing the “gospel of America” to these unfortunate natives, to free them from the Taliban, we need to be careful that we do not maintain some of the tenets of the vicious enemy in our own daily discourse and interaction between the sexes.

Especially in Christianity. What would the church of Jesus of Nazareth be without Mother Mary? Mary Magdalene? Joanna and Susannah, who donated to his ministry out of their substance? Not to mention the countless women who opened their homes to the early church as sanctuaries for believers?

It is going to be very difficult for our country to overcome racial bigotry, social stigma, bullying and intolerance as long as we think it’s a comical punchline to portray women and men as natural adversaries. It is one of the few things that conservatives and liberals share in common–a standing joke that women and men are incompatible except in the bedroom.
I want to thank that dear soul who came to my table and prickled my conscience with an even greater revelation of the topsy-turvy philosophy we promote through all of our media. As long as comedians, entertainers and even last night’s Oscar presentation invoke a feminine mystique to keep women from equality, we will be a nation that fails to practice what we preach.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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