Justice For Women

In the Church. In the World.

Friday, May 18, 2007

We Spread That Freedom Far and Wide ...

Laura Bush assured us we were bringing freedom to the women of Iraq.

Furthermore, extremists in both Sunni and Shiite areas have taken over pockets of the country and imposed their own Taliban-like laws on the population, requiring women to wear full-length veils, segregating the sexes in public and forbidding such activities as singing and dancing. Hair salons are bombed, and many have gone under-ground. Women college students are stopped and harassed on campuses, so going to school is a risk. “I don’t have one woman friend who has not been harassed, or worse, on the street,” says Mohammed. Women who work for OWFI (Organisation for Women's Freedom in Iraq) are routinely threatened with beatings or rape if they aren’t completely veiled. Islamist “misery gangs” regularly patrol the streets in many areas, beating and harassing women who are not “properly” dressed or behaved.

"The Talibanization of Iraq," by Bay Fang

Just as conservatives try to claim feminists have ignored women in Islamic countries. (Via Zuzu at Feministe)


Labels: , ,

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Fun with Paternalism

The head of the Bishop's Pro-Life Activities in Omaha, NE, displeased by the College of Saint Mary's choice of commencement speakers, asks the people of the diocese to "take a stand and to prevent the College of St. Mary's from tarnishing its reputation."

Because a college full of grown women can't make that decision for themselves.


Monday, April 23, 2007

Live Blogging! (Kinda-Sorta-Maybe)

I'll hopefully be live-blogging kinda (if local technology is cooperative) from the national Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice conference April 24-26 in Washington, DC for the Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom blog with plans to cross-post here.


Labels: ,

Sunday, April 22, 2007

In US South, No Justice for Poor Women and Children

The New York Times reports today that after decades of progress infant mortality is on the rise in the southern US. Many are pointing to cuts in welfare and Medicaid, as well as lack of access to doctors. Reading between the lines, however, there is also a story of the feminine face of poverty, racial disparity, and a lack of access to sex education and family planning. It's a travesty that in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, women lack access to information that can save their children, as well as improve their own lives.

Labels: ,

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Federal Abortion Ban and the Value of Women's Lives

I've been silent recently, I know, because I've been busy at work, traveling (home over Easter, DC for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice conference next week), preparing to become a consociate, and getting ready for the wedding and moving . . . but (ironically, I think) I was at Minnesota's pro-choice lobby day when I got the news that the Supreme Court upheld the ban on so called "Partial Birth Abortion." While there's a lot I could say, Amanda at Pandagon has already said it.

So this bill skips the preliminaries of dismantling women’s rights one at a time and instead gets to the heart of the matter. Late term abortions are performed for maternal health reasons, full stop. Sometimes it’s a fetal health issue, that it’s dead or will die as soon as it’s born, but in the end, it’s still about not forcing a woman to go through labor and delivery, which are dangerous, for no reason. And sometimes they are performed because the mother will die, be crippled, or have serious mental health problems if she delivers. The concept of “choice” isn’t really part of this discussion so much. This is about the concept that women deserve to be treated as full human beings who deserve proper medical care despite their current situation of being in a state only women can be in. That is what was on trial and the answer is no.

It’s a strike at the concept that women have independent value. If you reduce a woman to a baby factory, then one who needs a late term abortion is malfunctioning in her purpose somehow, so if she dies, she’s scrap metal, I suppose. Or scrap blood and tissue, as it were. I hate to be blunt like this, but there it is. They skipped over the preliminaries about what kind of rights women should have and attacked the idea that our very existence and health matters if we’ve failed in our duties as fetal incubators.

Take action to support the Freedom of Choice Act at NARAL Pro-Choice America.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Women Crucified

O God,
through the image of a woman crucified on the cross
I understand at last.

BustedHalo just released "The Contemporary Christa" by Donna Freitas, exploring the controversial image of Madonna crucified on stage:
If you managed to avoid the controversy last summer and fall, the centerpiece of Madonna’s summer Confessions Tour was a crucifixion scene. Each night an enormous, mirrored cross rose up from the performance stage to reveal Madonna wearing a bright crimson blouse and long black skirt, a crown of thorns resting on her head. With her arms outstretched, she sang the somber ballad “Live to Tell” (reportedly written about her experiences of domestic abuse while married to Sean Penn), while images of African children suffering from AIDS flashed in the background.

It didn’t go over well.

What more approprate image than the slow, painful death of crucifiction to represent the slow emotional and physical death caused by domestic violence?

Freitas goes on to detail the contoversy surrounding not only Madonna on the cross, but the imaging of God or Christ as a woman. But, as Freitas notes, if we are all in the image of God/Christ, can we not be images of God or Christ in the world?
It’s not that I’m not aware of Madonna’s past and her infamous ability to shock and scandalize especially when it comes to all things religious—it’s that in this case, I don’t think it’s relevant. In She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse, Elizabeth A. Johnson argues that “the Christological symbol of God’s active suffering in Christ [is] a historically inclusive one, encompassing the suffering lives of women and men of all ages.” In other words, the possible portrayals of the divine are not only endless but endlessly diverse. For as Johnson argues, women are “imago Dei, imago Christi, daughters of Wisdom.”

If we are all imago Christi, then why not Madonna too?

Freitas' article brought to mind two other images of women crucified. The first being "In the Name of God," a life-size statue of a pregnant teen girl on the cross, representing victims of the Catholic Church's official policy on condoms as a means of AIDS prevention. This image stirred up controversy of its own, along with cries of blasphemy.

The next image that came to mind is of a woman crucified on a uterus posted in a blog on Rock for Life. Respondents to the blog call it "disgusting," a "mockery of Christ's crucifiction," etc.

What I find most interesting about the responses to all of these images is a revulsion towards equating women's bodies with the sacred, and a fear of women's sexuality, along with really examining or dealing with the issues attached (such as sex, abortion, birth control, and violence against women).

I have known you as a vulnerable baby,
as a brother, as a father.
Now I know you as a woman.

As women's lives are seen as disposable, women are crucified every day. These images, tragically, reflect that reality. Ignoring that fact will not make it go away.

(Italicized portions from an untitled prayer in Soul Weavings: a gathering of women's prayers edited by Lyn Klug)

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Vatican Statement at the Comission on the Status of Women

Apparently, I'm on fire today. :)

Check out the Vatican's statment to the 51st session of the Comission on the Status of Women at the UN, with especially strong language regarding human trafficking.

Spotted as I'm out the door to this event.

Labels: , ,

NYT: No Comfort

The New York Times released an editorial today, calling Japanese Prime MInister Shinzo Abe to the mat for claiming that there was no evidence that victims of the World War II "comfort women" system were coerced.

V-Day 2006's spotlight was Justice to "Comfort Women", and I had the pleasure of seeing my alma mater bring to life the monologue written by Eve Enser for the women, "Say It" (which I can't seem to find online, now that I'm out of the organizer phase).


Women Healing From Abuse

Nicole Sotelo, author and activist, has a blog to accompany her book, Women Healing From Abuse: Meditations for Finding Peace! Go buy her book (if you haven't already)!

You can also join Nicole for a retreat at Evensong Retreat Center, Harwichport, MA, March 23-25.

Labels: ,