A Good Guy With a Penis…

Now that, thanks to Alabama, we are on the road BACK to the Supreme Court to legislate women’s bodies, their rights and their legitimacy, I’m wondering where the good guy with a penis comes in? “Gun rights” (a total oxymoron) activists think that somehow more people with guns will stop the bad actors with guns in emergencies, when it has clearly been proven that more guns simply mean more gun deaths[1].  So, by this kind of logic doesn’t it stand to reason that if women can’t be trusted to have responsibility for their bodies that there would be more onus on men to NOT impregnate them?

Apparently, men have nothing to do with pregnancy except being able to tell a woman what she must do with it.  Men are not mentioned ONCE in HB 314, even though German death camps (yes, the bill can’t seem to stomach to name Nazis or The Holocaust) and Chinese and Rwandan genocide are mentioned[2].  The bill does manage to invoke the founding fathers by reminding us that “In the United States Declaration of Independence, the principle of natural law that “all men are created equal” was articulated” in the same breath that the bill mentions “the American civil rights movement” (yes, you read that correctly…small “c”), the “anti-slavery movement” and the Nuremberg war crimes trials (?!?!?!). Never mind that the phrase “all men” as written by Jefferson and accepted by his narrow demographic peers quite intentionally did not include non-white humans of any kind, indentured people and most certainly not people with a vulva.

There are 140 seats in the Alabama state legislature.  Of those seats, only 22 are held by women (15.7%) and of those 22 there are only 7 Republicans[3] of which Rep. Terri Collins who introduced the bill is one.  Still HB 314 passed with only one Democratic “yea” vote. Men did this.  Men commit marital rape.  Men force women to get abortions.  Men force women to raise children alone.  Men did this.

In a country that has never properly acknowledged how it was built on the rape of non-white women to produce more white wealth, the direction of HB 314 does not bode well.  History tells us that men won’t hold each other accountable for the way women are abused, whether that be in a domestic violence situation or in this situation with the right to manage pregnancy.  We watched it with the Kavanaugh trial with the Stanford rape case and countless other campus rapes, and we see it now.  There is no good guy with a penis.  Men in the United States are culturally biased to regard women as possessions that are subject to their will and to ignore their agency…sometimes in settings where “boys will be boys” and sometimes quite publicly, as they are now.

These state laws restricting and eliminating a woman’s divine right to manage her body and its ability and responsibilities with regard to conception cannot stand.  For a religious leader like me they are a total denial of the Unitarian Universalist Principles and they should be fought as an affront to religious liberty.  Roe v. Wade must be preserved and permanently protected.  What is more, there need to be much more explicit laws and activism concerning men’s role in the creation of life.  If men are so concerned about the sanctity of life, where are the Anti-Impregnation movements?  Where are the legal restrictions on men and ejaculation?  Why aren’t we legislating Viagra and erections?  Because men operate under the grossly misconceived assumption that every guy with a penis is good.  Frankly, we’d be safer if they all had guns.

If you’re wondering what kind of dismal prospects exist for those who may be at risk of carrying a pregnancy to term after an incestuous rape, have a look at Alabama’s age of consent laws which are entirely binary gendered and refer to non-vaginal sex as “deviate” (HERE)

[1] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41488081

[2] https://legiscan.com/AL/text/HB314/id/1980843/Alabama-2019-HB314-Introduced.pdf

[3] http://www.ncsl.org/legislators-staff/legislators/womens-legislative-network/women-in-state-legislatures-for-2019.aspx

Nothing But Fear Itself…

Slide1I woke up this morning and read Tom Schade’s blog The Lively Tradition, “Fear vs. Boldness” parts 1 & 2 and it really got me thinking.  After reading this anonymous post about the turmoil and angst being felt by many Unitarian Universalist seminarians, I started drifting through the Facebook pages of my friends, both fellowshipped ministers and those still in formation.  I then came across the following article by Frank Joyce on one of their pages: “Now is the Time for a New Abolition Movement”…again more thinking, but more importantly, a personal wake up call to do away with fear and step into boldness…

Unitarian Universalists have some really good stuff going around diversity, but at the same time we are completely missing the boat where creating real change around racism is concerned.  I have been looking at how Unitarian Universalists are planning to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the actions and deaths in Selma, Alabama in March 2015,and in particular I have been following the Living Legacy Project.  Yet there is little language here or on the Unitarian Universalist Association website that states plainly that this was a conflict that came out of a deeply entrenched racial divide between black and white people in the United States, and no connection drawn to the ongoing struggle that is evident in situations such as the recent #FergusonDecision.  Instead, the information is focused primarily on “voting rights.”   This is historically correct and important, but I think we lose something in the memories of Viola Liuzzo or of Rev. James Reeb when we avoid saying that they were the victims of racially motivated acts of violence as white people standing up for the broader civil rights of black people.  And although Jimmie Lee Jackson was certainly killed because of his efforts to vote, the four girls killed in the 1963 KKK bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham were unquestionably killed because they were black.  The specific fight for voting rights was only the spark that ignited the massive bomb of race based tension that had been building since Emancipation 100 years earlier.  I applaud the efforts of my friends working on the Living Legacy Project, and among them are some of the bolder voices in Unitarian Universalism; they are my inspiration. But I see the hesitance to name the events in Selma for what what they were as part of our general fear in the face of boldness and I want to use this space to call on all Unitarian Universalists to name this tragedy for what it continues to be: the legacy of deeply rooted and brutal racism in America.

Losing the ability to state this painful truth says that we are willing to let fear temper our boldness.  Is this what we are teaching/learning in seminary?  Apparently, we have an incredible amount of work to do if we are actually going to live into any kind of real spiritual calling.  Let us find a way to live our truth, feeling all of our pain, seeing all of our wounds, and tending to them with the healing salve of love as equals in humanity.

Let us live our faith.