Welcome to the circle of liberal religious people working to advance justice for women and girls and promote their spiritual growth.
November 2018 Report from our UUWF President Claire Sexton
Fall is off to an interesting start, as news feeds were filled with discussion about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding sexual assault. And with his confirmation happening anyway.
It is to be noted that this past month marked the publication of an article detailing the sexual assault accusations against Harvey Weinstein and the resurgence / public tipping point of the #metoo movement (begun by Tarana Burke in 2006).
This is also the month, a year ago, that my day job in Waco had to be suddenly uprooted from our gallery home of 40+ years. And a little over one year since the beginning of my time as UUWF Board President. Fall brings changes! Let’s embrace the transitional nature of this season and cast away what is holding us back.
A welcome change in the UUWF is that C. Nancy Reid-McKee is our newest Vice President for Funding Programs, I am so pleased she will bring her wealth of experience to that important role.
We held our fall meeting in Chicago, and that brought about its own challenges with travel, thanks to Hurricane Michael. We have many programs coming! Look for UUWF Communications VP Jess Bors at the LREDA Fall Conference, where she can share where we are and where we are going with many of the religious educators in our faith movement.
We Trust Women
By Rev. Marti Keller
The release by our sister justice group, Catholics for Choice, of a thoughtful new short film Trust Women was not intended to be timed with the height of the tumultuous, and ultimately wrenching, Senate hearing on the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh as an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Or the fact that the #MeToo movement had its start a year ago as well.
They had chosen September 30th because this date marked 42 years since the disastrous Hyde Amendment was passed, which bans federal funding for abortion unless the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, or to save the life of the woman. It was not written as a permanent law, but rather as a measure attached to annual appropriations bills and passed—without exception—since l976.
Without the ability to pay for abortion services, low income women have faced undue hardship and loss of choice.
The underlying message in the Hyde Amendment is that, for American women, decision-making about child-bearing – when and if – lies outside our own moral authority. We have been forced to outsource our consciences, our own collection of values, to the government and the lobbying of powerful religious groups who have selected under which narrow circumstances we may have abortions.
Jon O’Brian, president of Catholics for Choice, lifted up the parallel between the profound distrust of women in making their own choices and disbelieving women about sexual assault and harassment:
“This … Supreme Court nomination process further illustrates that women’s voices and autonomy are still not valued… We stand in solidarity with the millions of women deprived of their ability to make conscience-based reproductive decisions best for them. We have and always will trust women.”
Trust Women features a roundtable of doctors, theologians, and reproductive choice activists in respectful dialogue about trust and moral decision making. It was designed as an educational tool for advocates, students, medical providers, policymakers, and others to “fortify their ability to defend a pro-choice position from a place of authority and moral clarity,” including the well-argued position that abortion can be a moral good.
While it is primarily a conversation among and for Christians, both Catholics and Protestants, its intellectual rigor and universal compassion will hold interest for all Unitarian Universalists who wish to engage in a theologically and ethically grounded way in the current conversations about, and movement for, stopping the silencing and controlling of women.
The New Prophetic Sisterhood initiative (NPS)
The New Prophetic Sisterhood is a network of UU woman-identified religious professionals who covenant to affirm and promote equity and justice for women and girls and to lift up diverse feminisms. As individuals and as a body we use our voices in our congregations and communities to create more awareness of and prophetic public witness around issues that impact women and girls.
If you are a Unitarian Universalist woman-identified religious professional and are interested in being part of the NPS, please join us.
Looking for a Way to Honor Women?
UUWF’s Clara Barton Sisterhood is a great way to honor women aged 80 or more for their often unsung contributions to your religious community.
Enrolled in 2018
Brooklyn, NY — Constance Newsom, here with Rev Ana Levy Lyons, honored by the Women’s Leadership Alliance at First Unitarian Church