The Civil Rights Act of 1964 affected more women than it affected blacks. Blacks made up about 10% of the population in 1964, and women made up over 50% of the population.
“The prohibition against discrimination based on sex was added to Title VII (Civil Rights Act of 1964) at the last minute on the floor of the House of Representatives… the bill quickly passed as amended, and we are left with little legislative history to guide us in interpreting the Act’s prohibition against discrimination based on ‘sex.’
Yet, we think it is all about equality for black men and women. As the law was originally written, black women would have had more rights than white women, because black women were included in the ‘race’ word.
Celebrate Wednesday! Celebrate your freedom!
Wait, not so fast. Women have only civil freedoms, not religious freedom.
Because, you see, after the Civil Rights Act, women began getting into ‘men’s jobs.’ And Religion couldn’t have that. No Sireeee! Clamp down! Clamp down fast! Before you know it, women will want to be preachers! Clamp down!
So they did.
In 1964, the Civil Rights Act gave all women, both black and white, many of the same rights that men already had. The church should have been the first! But they did not stand up for full equality for women in the secular world then, and most will not stand up for women in the church now.
The natural progression, as we moved forward in the 20th century, would have been for churches to accept women in church leadership just as women were being accepted to colleges and places of business. I repeat, the church should have been the first to raise women up in status. But they did not do that. Instead, churches reacted with vehemence against women. They wanted to hold on to the male feel of Christianity, and they did.
Churches have continually denied capable spiritual women equality before God within their congregations. Women are denied equality by an inaccurate interpretation of the Scriptures, by the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, and by The Danvers Statement. Women are denied equality by seminaries that teach male headship. Women are denied ministry equality by many denominations that teach only males can be the pastors, preachers, or priests. And, most shameful of all, women are denied by other women in their congregations who prevent them from pastoring churches and from becoming deacons. (from my book Dethroning Male Headship).
It is closed. It is over. Women will not ever have freedom in churches to be pastors, deacons, elders. Women will remain in subjection to their husbands. It is over.
There is a small breath blowing. It can be seen on some websites. This breath can be heard through Christians for Biblical Equality. This small breath blowing needs fuel. It needs money to continue. It needs more participants. It needs you.
Will you breathe on this small resistance group that is working for women’s equality?