Editor's note: Today's post continues our Women's History Month series, connecting our contemporary efforts for justice with the evangelical women who came before us. We will feature "women of character, courage, and commitment" each Wednesday in March.
If Nellie Letitia McClung lived today, her Twitter bio would sound like many of ours: Christian, author, activist, wife, mother.
But long before evangelical women took to social media and blogs to speak out about their callings and passions, this Canadian suffragist and politician fought the social norms of a different time to draw attention to the marginalized in society.
In the early 20th century, McClung joined one of North America's most pressing and popular social causes—the temperance movement—after seeing the devastation alcohol abuse wrought on families. Through the Women's Christian Temperance Union, she lobbied to legislate the ban on alcohol and help those who suffered from its effects. McClung went on to lead other provincial and national women's organizations as well as hold political office.
Like our contemporary push for social justice, McClung's involvement grew from an understanding of human equality before God, regardless of status, gender, or ethnic background. She was a woman ahead of her time, persistent in speaking out in the face of heckling criticism from men and women alike that "nice women don't want the vote." McClung did not back down despite the incredible resistance she faced—a kind of resistance we in 21st-century North America know little about. The trolls who criticize us online existed for McClung and her movement in real life; they shouted back in person, turned ...1
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