Page:On the Political Status of Women (Annie Besant).pdf/21

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Injustice is never good; it is never even safe. There is a higher life before us, a nobler ideal of marriage union, a fairer development of individual natures, a surer hope of wider happiness. Liberty for every human being, equality before the law for all in public and in private, fraternity of men and women in peaceful friendship, these are the promise of the dawning day. Co-workers in every noble labour, co-partners in every righteous project, co-soldiers in every just cause, men and women in the time to come shall labour, think, and struggle side by side. The man shall bring his greater strength and more sustained determination, the woman her quicker judgment and purer heart, till man shall grow tenderer, and woman stronger, man more pure, and woman more brave and free. Till at last, generations hence, the race shall develop into a strength and a beauty at present unimagined, and men and women shall walk this fair earth hand-in-hand, diverse yet truly one, set each to each—

"As perfect music unto noble words."


Note.—In the debate which followed this lecture, exception was taken by some of the speakers to the introduction of the religious question, and it was suggested that in attacking the Bible I had thrown down an apple of discord. I would point out that the raising of this question was not of my doing. Had the speakers known a little more of the subject, they would have been aware that the authority of the Bible is constantly brought forward as an argument against women's rights, and had I avoided meeting this argument, I should have left out a link in my chain. The Bible has so great an influence in this country, that its dictum to the contrary is sufficient to destroy, in most minds, the most logical arguments. Had I wished to impeach the Bible as a whole, I should have made a very different attack upon it; but, in this lecture, nothing more was needed than to state forcibly that, so far as it touched on the subject, the Bible must be set aside, and a few historical parallels were added for the comfort of both friends and foes. The advocates of women's rights have not the least desire to mix up the religious question with the political agitation; but if our opponents fling the Bible at our heads, are we forbidden to turn it aside by lifting against it the shield of free-thought?