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For the love and safety of women

A Christian Science perspective.

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Violence against women is receiving increased attention internationally. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recently decried the rape of women in the Congo. But one doesn't need to visit a different country to uncover gender violence. Most people know someone who has suffered from sexual or physical abuse.

Unfortunately, religion is sometimes part of the problem. Scriptural verses in the Bible, the Koran, and other religious texts might imply that men are God-empowered to rule and limit the rights of women. There are even texts that are interpreted to justify beating women when they are disobedient.

Using religion as a weapon is a perverted view of divine justice. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, revised the view of a punishing, angry tribal deity. Jesus spoke of God as a merciful, loving Father who heals and saves. The God whom Jesus represented and worshiped is the God of divine Love, not physical lust.

Jesus taught respect for women. When he was traveling in a foreign country, Samaria, he spoke kindly to a woman drawing water from a well. Surprised by his respect, she continued the conversation, asking Jesus deep questions about God. He responded by saying, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). Here was a genderless view of Deity. Jesus didn't refer to God as male or female but as divine Spirit, ever-present.

At this point, Jesus asked her to call her husband. This woman had had five husbands, and wasn't actually married to the man she was currently living with. But Jesus didn't reject her unconventional life. When she asked Him about the promised Savior or Messiah, Jesus revealed himself to her, a foreign woman, as the promised Christ.

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