Leaping from Our Spheres
Someday I will have the time, or take the time, to write an essay or sermon about how everything I know about being in an effective empowering and “mattering” organization I learned in my time working as a director of government and community relations for Planned Parenthood. It is so true. Continue reading
A few weeks back, I had my husband put in an explicit request to my three grown children for this Mother’s Day. I asked for pictures of my three young grandchildren, not Facebook-posted ones or Flickr for a change: printed out ones in frames, no matter how simple. They will be added to the gallery on our dining room side table, a visual chronicle of a family that has gone from one ethnicity and faith tradition to a multi-cultural, interfaith one in two generations of Americans.
I returned a few days ago from 10 days in San Miguel De Allende Mexico, a town which was turned into an American and Canadian arts and culture tourist mecca and now a thriving ex pat community some years back, due to the opening of an art school. Nowadays there are Spanish-language academies, writers workshops, alternative healing centers and spas, and an all-year-round Unitarian Universalist fellowship that meets weekly in a gracious hotel.
The view from the hall is stunning, and there are sounds of children playing, Catholic church bells ringing and bustling street noises. Continue reading
This past week, the state legislatures in two states, Indiana and Arkansas, approved so-called “religious objections” laws. These types of legislation (previously passed by 18 states) are ostensibly based on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which was the effort of a coalition of groups, many of them progressive, to ensure that individuals and their faith traditions were protected from inadvertent discrimination, especially religious minorities.
The federal law was in play last year when the US Supreme Court ruled on the so-called Hobby Lobby case argued before it, that “closely held” corporations have the same basic rights of religious belief, allowing businesses to assert their faith positions by opting out, for example, of providing free contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act if they found it objectionable.
In The Boston Girl, the latest novel by Anita Diamant (author of The Red Tent), in a chapter titled “I figure God created Margaret Sanger, too,” the lead character Addie Baum’s friend Filomena attempts a self-induced abortion by using bleach. A French-Canadian nurse in their neighborhood saves her from dying and completes the procedure. In the parlance of the 1900’s in America, she has “lost” a baby, the stuff of cruel rumors and threats that, because she had terminated the pregnancy, she would be denied burial in the Jewish cemetery upon her own passing.
One of the women who gather around the weak but recovering young woman reveals that her own mother “had five babies in six years and died giving birth to the last one, who died too.”
There’s a way to keep this from happening, she declares. She has a pamphlet about it and she is going to loan it out.