I was troubled by a recent two-page spread in one of our national papers in Britain. It reported that the number of brothels in some towns in Britain had dramatically increased. Police had raided them and found that they were housing Eastern European women and girls as sex slaves. They'd been lured to Britain with promises of good jobs, but instead, they were sold to vice gangs and forced into prostitution.
Having come from a repressive background myself while I was growing up in another country, I have an affinity for these young girls and women looking for better lives and a brighter future.
As I think about them and other women who are being victimized, I find comfort and inspiration in the Bible, which celebrates the feminine qualities of God. For example, the book of Isaiah says, "As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you" (66:13).
And from the very first chapter of the Bible, we're taught that we are created in God's own image. Male and female were created equally in God's likeness. The fatherhood and motherhood of God are fully expressed in each one of us, because we are spiritual and inseparable from divinity.
By this standard, womanhood has a dignity that cannot be undermined or violated. And men can't be tempted into degrading themselves or women by yielding to perverted sensuality, which denies the spiritual nature that God has given to all of us. Every man and woman has and owns the spiritual freedom to be the liberated, cherished child of infinite Love. Even though there are times when this seems like an impossible dream, we can persist in our prayers on behalf of true liberty for all people.
The wider recognition of God as Mother as well as Father helps people value the spiritual qualities that are often identified with women – but that both men and women can freely express – gentleness, love, patience, even motherliness. Such valuing supports freedom and equality for women worldwide.
Women, in their quest for better lives and opportunities, have a right to claim their freedom from material restrictions. Since women are children of an infinite God, it makes sense that their lives should include opportunities for genuine growth and progress. One of my favorite passages is this promise from "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy: "Truth brings the elements of liberty. On its banner is the Soul-inspired motto, 'Slavery is abolished.' The power of God brings deliverance to the captive" (p. 224).
Something happened in my community recently that gave me hope. The phone booths around my London office used to display cards advertising prostitution. The local authorities cleaned them out every day, but as soon as they were gone, the ads for prostitution were back again.
I found these images degrading and offensive. I was also concerned for the many schoolchildren who daily passed those phone booths. So I put the phone booths and the offending ads on my daily prayer agenda, joining many who were praying for the streets of London.
Every day I put this community into God's hands, rejoicing that it was in the realm of divine Soul. Where only the pure law of God operates, everything had to reflect purity, cleanliness, and wholeness. As I kept my vigil over my workplace community in this way, one day I noticed things had changed. The phone booths were all clean. No more ads for sex were put in them. The streets also were regularly cleaned. I was – and am – delighted by this change.
As spiritually created children of our Father-Mother God, we are free from material bondage of any kind. Everyone, those who are being oppressed as sex slaves and those who are engrossed in sensuality, has the right to a life free from oppression of all types. I cherish this truth, which embraces all.