Wednesday, July 20, 2011

2011.07.20 Amazing Holy Women

July 20 is the day set aside on our Episcopal Church calendar of holy men and women to remember Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Amelia Bloomer, Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman—Liberators and Prophets.

And yesterday marked the 163rd anniversary of the first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls in 1848. The first day was women only. Today 7/20 the men joined in. We need both!

Godde, I’m proud these women are on our Episcopal calendar and that their day is WHITE that is considered to be a feast day, an Eastering day.

STANTON felt oppressed by the prevailing (and still does prevail) Augustinian doctrine of human depravity and Calvinist predestination. What was the point if doomed? She refused depression and worked instead to right wrongs perpetuated upon women by Church and society.

Stanton attended Trinity Episcopal Church in Seneca Falls, N.Y., site of the 1848 first Women’s Rights Convention, July 19-20.

Stanton was rightly hard on the Church accusing it of using (I’d say abusing) Scripture to enforce subordination of women and to prohibit them from ordained ministry. She wrote a Women’s Bible, a commentary on offensive, sexist we might say today, passages. Her effort was inspired by the fact that there were no women on the committee of scholars that in 1881 published the Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

Stanton dissented boldly and ceaslessly and didn’t lose hope because “what is good is immortal.”

“My only regret,” she said before she died in 1902, “is that I have not been braver and bolder and truer in the honest conviction of my soul.”

I can’t imagine what bolder, braver and truer would look like.

BLOOMER attended Trinity with Stanton and made powerful and popular statements about biblical abuses, being sure that if St. Paul could have foreseen the strife and misery some of his words caused he’d “never have written them.”

Bloomer established schools, libraries and churches.

She published a newspaper called The Lily and plunged without intent into faith and women’s fashion. Waist-cinching corsets created serious health problems for women. Bloomer printed a picture of herself in loose-fitting Turkish trousers and began to wear them in public. She argued with male clergy who cited Moses’ statement about women not dressing in men’s clothing. Bloomer said if they followed Moses they’d all “put fringes and blue ribbons on their garments.” Grin.

So much for biblical literalism arguments. What chutzpah.

I remember in the ‘70s when women started to wear pants to Church and it was considered scandalous.


Who does wear the pants, again?

(Sojourner and Harriet tomorrow.)