Thursday, February 5, 2009

What NOT to do in your free time: watch this movie

I recently saw part of a movie on TV called "Iron Jawed Angels":
"Iron Jawed Angels is a 2004 film about the American women's suffrage movement during the early 1900s. It was filmed in Virginia, produced by HBO Films, and released in 2004."

I have to say that the filming was good and the actors were good, but beyond that not much of the movie was what I would call good. The heroine of the movie, Alice Stokes Paul (1885 –1977) "was an American suffragist leader. Along with Lucy Burns (a close friend) and others, she led a successful campaign for women's suffrage that resulted in the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920."

Born into a Quaker family, Paul was well educated(or some would say, brainwashed), spending almost ten years in different colleges and eventually completing a PhD in political science in 1912. Her dissertation topic was titled "The Legal Position of Women in Pennsylvania".

Some history from Wikipedia:
Paul's "focus was lobbying for a constitutional amendment to secure the right to vote for women. Such an amendment had originally been sought by suffragists in 1878. However, by the early 20th century, attempts to secure a federal amendment had ceased. The focus of the suffrage movement had turned to securing the vote on a state-by-state basis. When their lobbying efforts proved fruitless, Paul and her colleagues formed the National Woman's Party (NWP) in 1916 and began introducing some of the methods used by the suffrage movement in Britain. Tactics included demonstrations, parades, mass meetings, picketing, suffrage watch, fires, and hunger strikes. These actions were accompanied by press coverage and the publication of the weekly Suffragist. In the US presidential election of 1916, Paul and the NWP campaigned against the continuing refusal of President Woodrow Wilson and other incumbent Democrats to support the Suffrage Amendment actively. In January 1917, the NWP staged the first political protest to picket the White House. The picketers, known as "Silent Sentinels," held banners demanding the right to vote. This was an example of a non-violent civil disobedience campaign. In July 1917, picketers were arrested on charges of "obstructing traffic." Many, including Paul, were convicted
and incarcerated at the Occoquan Workhouse. In a protest of the conditions in Occoquan, Paul commenced a hunger strike. This led to her being moved to the prison's psychiatric ward and force-fed raw eggs through a plastic tube. Other women joined the strike which, combined with the continuing demonstrations and attendant press coverage, kept the pressure on the Wilson administration. In January, 1918, he announced that women's suffrage was urgently needed as a "war measure." Wilson strongly urged Congress to pass the legislation. In 1920, after coming down to one vote in the state of Tennessee, the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution secured the vote for women."

The history of Woman's suffrage is something I had not thought about a great deal until now. I tried to find out if the movie was historically accurate or not, and the only thing that seemed to be inaccurate about it was Paul's love-interest, stuck into the movie, for what reason I don't know. You'd think in a feminist movie they could do without men. It disgusts me that the 19th Amendment was brought about through political pressure and antagonistic tactics, not by any reason or logic, and Congress passed the legislation just to get off the hook.

And I do disagree with the idea that women should have the right to vote. When America was founded, though the qualifications for voting differed from state to state, only land-owning male citizens could vote. John Adams was an advocate for responsible voters:

"The same reasoning which will induce you to admit all men who have no property, to vote, with those who have,.... will prove that you ought to admit women and children; for, generally speaking, women and children have as good judgments, and as independent minds, as those men who are wholly destitute of property; these last being at all intents and purposes as much dependent upon others, who will please to feed, clothe, and employ them, as women are upon their husbands, or children on their parents..."

The qualifications for an eligible voter was a State's rights issue, and by 1850 the last state had repealed the land-owners only law. But the point is, our founders didn't want mob rule, or a Democracy, where every individual votes, but a Republic, a country full of little family and state governments.

But which is the Biblical view: for or against votes for women?

"Reformed churches have generally believed that the New Testament presents voting as a leadership/representational issue that was only appropriate for men(1 Cor. 14:34-35; 1 Tim. 2:11-12, 1 Cor. 11:3-16) and this New Testament practice was simply the continuation of the Old Testament practice of voting by heads of households."
(Download the free PDF booklet "Universal Sufferage" here)

I think it hurts the family to undermine our Biblical family leadership- the Dad. And while I did learn quite a bit doing research on this topic, prompted by watching this movie, I think its messege is not worth two hours of anyone's time.

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