Distinctiveness and balance in politics
A Christian Science perspective: The leavening effect of prayer addressing gender bias in politics.
Around the world, more women are holding political office (see this week’s cover story). To me, this reflects society’s recognition of the value of both men and women in politics. But this recognition has deeper roots than political will or consensus. I have found that it is impelled by the spiritual demand to understand that the distinct feminine voice is just as needed as the masculine.
Though I am not running for political office, as a citizen I support the role of both men and women in the political process in any way I can. For me this includes prayer that seeks to purify my concept of men and women in accord with how God has created us.
The first chapter of the Bible reveals the completeness of God’s creation when it explains that “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Genesis 1:27). This narrative defines our true identity as spiritual – as coming from God who is Spirit. This means that neither human emotions nor character traits define our womanhood and manhood; we are defined by spiritual qualities that come from God.
Christian Science Discoverer Mary Baker Eddy gives insight into the unity of these spiritual qualities when she writes, “Union of the masculine and feminine qualities constitutes completeness. The masculine mind reaches a higher tone through certain elements of the feminine, while the feminine mind gains courage and strength through masculine qualities. These different elements conjoin naturally with each other, and their true harmony is in spiritual oneness” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 57).
By his great wisdom, healing power, strength, and tender love, Christ Jesus showed us the spiritual qualities of God we each possess. To recognize and follow his example moves us beyond gender-based decisionmaking, or gender-biased support, toward a balanced discernment on issues.
As we understand the spiritual origin and basis of our complete identity from God, it’s natural that we genuinely accept and honestly desire to express and support this completeness in every facet of our lives; the political process and the way we assess candidates are not excluded. I find that praying from this basis naturally challenges any gender bias and promotes actions that value each and every voice equally.
Mrs. Eddy asks: “God being infinite Mind, He is the all-wise, all-knowing, all-loving Father-Mother, for God made man in His own image and likeness, and made them male and female as the Scriptures declare; then does not our heavenly Parent – the divine Mind – include within this Mind the thoughts that express the different mentalities of man and woman, whereby we may consistently say, ‘Our Father-Mother God’?” (“Message to The Mother Church 1901,” p. 7).
Discerning the true manhood and womanhood of God helps me see the full scope of everyone’s ability to be insightful, compassionate, and wise.