Leaping from Our Spheres
A quaint term, for sure, Suffragettes, used to describe women seeking the right to vote for females, especially British women who mounted militant protests in the United Kingdom in the early 20th century.
That old-fashioned word somehow came up for me this past week as we remembered the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th constitutional amendment granting the right to vote to American women in 1920. A victory that was long in coming and not without marginalizing many African Americans.
This past week has been heart-wrenching for those of us seeking dignity, justice and equity for all people. The African American men, women and children in Ferguson, Missouri, have been subject to and have born painful witness that we are far from living in a post-racial society. Across the country and the world, the social media postings have multiplied each day with expressions of sorrow and righteous anger for the senseless killing of another mother’s son.
We Unitarian Universalist women care about and worry about and respond faithfully to violations of the human spirit and human rights. So we can feel pulled in so many directions on a daily basis as cyberspace communications provide more and more ways to find out what’s happening on an almost momentary basis.
We Unitarian Universalists are often encouraged to come up with and get comfortable delivering so-called elevator speeches. Those pithy, direct, persuasive sentences that summarize just exactly what our faith tradition is (rather than what it is not).
Or slap on bumper strips, of which we have had many over recent years. My car is papered over with different versions, including my personal favorites: Affirming the Worth and Dignity of All People and Deeds Because Actions Speak Louder than Words.
Speeches and stickers that might at least buy us some respect in the religious marketplace, let alone a few visitors, even members.
In the years I worked as a spokesperson – and trainer of spokespeople – for Planned Parenthood, we also created and refined and then re-created our elevator speeches, our bumper stickers for similar reasons: to give some heft to our stands, to gain sympathy, even active support. Perhaps the most familiar would be Keep Abortion Safe and Legal. Not far behind might be Pro-Child, Pro-Choice: Every Child a Wanted Child; or My Body, My Choice. Continue reading
In the arena of justice and equity for women and girls this can be equally true, with a recent Facebook posting by a male UU ministerial colleague mine this past week bleakly reminding all of his “friends” on social media that in 2013 alone there were 624 bills introduced in states and on the federal level intended to regulate women’s bodies — vs. none in the entire history of men. As a former journalist, I would have liked to have fact checked this statement, but intuitively I believe this is in the ballpark of accuracy. Which can make the dog days of August even more disconsolate for me than ever, with gratitude only that our elected bodies are mostly on summer break, with at least a respite from further inroads into our human dignity — privacy and sovereignty over our own lives. Continue reading
On a very recent dark Monday in June, by a narrow majority (5-4), five male Supreme Court justices ruled in favor of the national crafting store Hobby Lobby and a small furniture making business that sued the federal government for the right to opt out of the no-cost contraception coverage provision of the Affordable Healthcare Act (AHA). They had specifically objected to four kinds of birth control they regard as inducing an abortion. What they got was at first touted by those signing the ruling as a narrowly crafted exemption, with even a suggestion to the administration that it figure out a way to pay for this preventive healthcare so as not to deny coverage completely for those females working for companies with faith-based objections. Continue reading