Explain the religious element so instrumental in denying women basic rights of citizenship. How was this used by the anti-suffrage movement to oppose giving women the right to vote? Do you think any of these sentiments still exist today?

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The Bible repeatedly says that when a man and a woman marry, they become "one flesh." This wording is in Matthew, Mark, and Ephesians. The phrasing was the religious cornerstone on which denying women suffrage was built, along with the verse in Ephesians 5:23 that states,

For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church.

If a husband and wife were one flesh and the man was the "head," then, the thinking went, the husband's vote "counted" for both of them. The Bible, coming out of a patriarchal culture, also deemed the husband the head of the entire household. Therefore, any other adult women living in a household would also fall under the headship of the male head of household, and he would be expected to make the voting decisions for them as well.

It was strongly felt by some that allowing women the vote—and for women to vote against their husbands—would lead to a disorderly society in which all norms would be overthrown. The Bible states, for example, in Mark 3:25 that

If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.

The "one flesh" verse justified more than denying the women the vote; for centuries it denied women the right to own property, and in some cases, even to have money in their own name.

Up until the twentieth century, suffrage was a controversial topic even among some women with feminist leanings, such as Thomas Carlyle's wife, Jane, who believed that giving the women the vote was going too far.

The view that women should not vote is very rare in the West in the twenty-first century, but there are fundamentalist pastors today who question women's suffrage.

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