“Slavery is not abolished until the black man has the ballot,” asserted Frederick Douglass in 1865. Five years later, the 15th Amendment, prohibiting the denial of voter rights based on race or color, would be passed, affecting all United States citizens – except women. Their struggle to gain the right to vote was also long and, at times, severe. And now, 100 years after the 19th Amendment was ratified granting women that right, work still continues to realize full access to their rights and equality for all. But the march continues with great tenacity and spiritual vigor.
Consider the idea that the origin of genuine reform is spiritual, not based on luck or political will. Mary Baker Eddy, spiritual reformer and discoverer of Christian Science, writes: “God has built a higher platform of human rights, and He has built it on diviner claims. These claims are not made through code or creed, but in demonstration of ‘on earth peace, good-will toward men’” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 226).
An understanding of this spiritual basis for reform energizes real progress. Science and Health explains, “The spiritual demand, quelling the material, supplies energy and endurance surpassing all other aids ...” (p. 385). When we let God, divine Love, motivate us, we find that the power of Love breaks through hopelessness, apathy, violence, or emotionalism.
To have a vote is to have a voice to further a higher, more just standard of government and society. Underlying this is the spiritual reality that we are made in the likeness of divine, infinite, Spirit, as the representative or reflection of God. As such we are known, accounted for, necessary, and valued. God maintains and sustains His children, none of whom can be marginalized or left out. If that were the case, the infinite God would not be infinite.
This points to the idea that progress toward higher and purer ideals cannot be silenced. The influence of good is continuous, a spiritual force that nothing can stop.
Popular opinions, bully pulpits, and entrenched systems of injustice may try to prevent progress and drown out hope. But we can take a lesson from the page of Mrs. Eddy, who discerned from Jesus’ ministry that there’s a spiritual basis for having more trust in good than in evil. Science and Health speaks to the power of having “more faith in the truth of being than we have in error, more faith in Spirit than in matter, more faith in living than in dying, more faith in God than in man” (p. 368).
Materialistic and self-serving systems that are being so roundly challenged today are faulty and crumbling. But the Spirit of God, good, is indomitable. Each of us has a God-given voice that must be heard – not through willfulness, but through the expression of love, forgiveness, repentance, fairness, and joy – demonstrating divine Love’s justice, equality, and peace for all. As we lift up our voices, we open the way for others to do so, too. “No power can withstand divine Love” (Science and Health, p. 224).
Editor’s note: To continue the theme of celebrating everyone’s God-given voice on this 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, please have a listen to today’s podcast on www.JSH-Online.com, “Mary Baker Eddy’s Ideas – Empowering Women and Men, in Business and Life.” There is no paywall for this podcast.