I was inspired this past weekend to push back my next planned subject matter for a moment and address the ill treatment of women as the country prepares to observe Mother’s Day.
Let’s get into The Upper Situation Room
What inspired this blog? I was a guest speaker at a conference in Austin on the campus of Huston Tillotson University. Before my workshop, I attended the spiritual seminar in the university chapel. Each speaker represented a different religious sect. Only one of the speakers was a woman, who summed up her inspirational short talk by saying, I came to tell you that you’re not alone.
As I listened to her beautiful expression of the Word of God I got sad, because I reflected upon how we rarely get a chance to see this in our religious institutions and even our organizations. We lack the beauty of seeing women having the consistent freedom to express their God-given gifts, because so many of us as men beat down women. Women suffer so much abuse whether it is in the home, business, or religion.
I learned that in some foreign nations the birth of a female child is frowned upon. How can you frown upon a little girl, who eventually may be used as a vessel to bring forth new life in the future? I have watched some men use religion and scripture to justify personal oppression of women. However, that is not God’s Way.
As I entered into the Nation of Islam, I saw that we as Black men had our issues as well. Coming out of this society, we are bred in the slums of America to be disrespectful to our women. The Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad trains us to respect, protect and elevate the woman. It is in the N.O.I. that I first heard the words â€œA Nation Can Rise No Higher Than Its Woman.
That’s a powerful and truthful statement.
Under Minister Farrakhan’s leadership we witnessed something historical in 1998. In that year, Sister Ava Muhammad became the first woman in Islam’s 1400-year history to be appointed to a leadership position over a mosque. Minister Farrakhan appointed her as the Southern Regional Minister, which sent shockwaves throughout the country and the world. How dare he some people questioned and even called it un-Islamic.
Yet, Sister Ava is one of the most profound students of the Word of God that I have ever heard speak. Of course she endured a lot of opposition as all women in high positions face. Even if a woman attains a high position, she is not necessarily received with open arms by men.
Growing up in the church, the only time I saw a woman on the rostrum was singing in the choir or to do the closing announcements. Even then, they may not have been allowed in the pulpit. I never saw a woman preaching the Word of God in a church until my family started attending St. John’s UMC when I was much younger.
That church, as you know, is headed by Pastor Rudy Rasmus. It was surprising for me to see his wife Juanita Rasmus preaching the Word. She was and is amazing! I thought to myself in the church balcony, Women are actually allowed to preach?
Not everyone has this appreciation for the woman. While in high school, I heard one preacher say that even if the mother of Jesus walked inside of his church, she would not be allowed in his pulpit. I cannot understand that kind of mindset.
The woman is sacred and should be honored every day. It’s not enough to just give her flowers, candy, balloons, and cards on one commercialized holiday out of the year. Every day we must treat women with the greatest respect and honor knowing that they are jewels in the sight of God. Mother’s Day is 24/7. (smile)
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said The best of you is he who is kindest to his mother and his wife.
No matter the race, the woman must be appreciated.