Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Changing Hearts and Minds

       Yesterday I watched the movie Suffragette and I find myself thinking about it this morning.  It is the story of the movement in England to give the women the right to vote.  It is seen through the eyes of Maud Watts, a young mother who works in the laundry.  We watch her change as she becomes more aware of and a part of the suffragettes. She eventually loses her job, marriage and child as she joins other heroic women to act together to bring the need for women to vote to the attention of the country.

   There was a lot in this.  It was the changing of a life that led to the gradual changes to the country.  It is easy in the year 2015 to take the right to vote for granted.  These women had a leader who reminded them that "Deeds not words" would make the difference.  And when you think about every social justice movement words are not enough.  At some point people have to risk their own lives in getting the attention of those who are in power.

   It takes years and perhaps generations to change people's minds - whether it is about the equality of men and women or different races.  At the end of the movie they listed when different countries gave women in the right to vote.  In England, certain women voted in 1918 and all women were allowed to vote in 1938. In the USA it was 1923.  And in Saudi Arabia, it might be this year that women are granted the right to vote.

    Now, in our country we have "come a long way, baby" and women vote, have credit cards, own homes, and have equal rights.  But still in 2015 there are churches which do not allow women in leadership - Christian, Catholic, Jewish and of course Islamic.  It can take a long time for minds to change.

   And now our world is at war against people whose worldview would bring us back to where women have no rights.  Unfortunately, our words will not be enough to  change the minds of the radical jihadists.  I am grateful for the women and men who had the courage and have the courage to put themselves in harm's way in order to bring or keep  freedom for others.

   If nothing else, movies like this open my mind to the ways that we are called to see injustice and act.  And certainly we need to take advantage of the freedom to vote that was hard won for women and minorities and do at least that part of changing the world.


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