Thursday, June 21, 2012

Study/Action Issues & Vaginas

Tomorrow we vote on what Study/Action issue to adopt for 2012-2016, and I haven't made up my mind yet which one I'm voting for.  I talked with a proponent of "CSAI 1 - Climate Action and Adaptation Plans: Why Greenhouse Gases and their Effects Matter to Us" today, who points out that if we don't save the earth, none of these other issues will matter.  Well, yeah.  That's a point.  And he also points out that some of the other issues are related to this one, particularly "CSAI 2 - Families, Population, and the Environment."  I've also seen that a lot of people I know are walking around wearing anti-slavery buttons and that there seems to be a lot of support for "CSAI 5 - Ending Slavery."  The advocate for CSAI 1 asked me, "Well, what is your congregation engaged in?"  We're engaged in all these issues to some extent.  Our JXN Community Forum series has often engaged in environmental issues.  Our members are individually involved in the Occupy movement, and might be very interested in "CSAI 4 - Exploring Class Barriers."  But what immediately came to mind is that our church has voted for Planned Parenthood every year for the last several years as one of the local agencies to donate to, and I've seen our members be strong advocates for that organization.  And it's going to be hard to convince this feminist that, with everything going on in my home state, that I shouldn't vote for, "CSAI 3 - Reproductive Justice: Expanding Our Social Justice Calling."  I stopped at the booth for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice today.  I said to the woman there, "I'm from Michigan."  And she gave me a look of pity and said, "Vagina! Vagina!"  (This may be a somewhat exaggerated story, induced by heat, but that's the way I remember it right now.  My apologies to the lovely RCRC woman if I've exaggerated her response.)

Things are going crazy in Michigan, folks.  Our legislators are considering severe anti-abortion legislation.  Our women representatives are being barred from speaking in the house because of saying things like the word "vagina."   This issue is alive and serious in the state of Michigan.  We're turning anatomical terms into dirty words that can't be spoken aloud, and the effect is the silencing of women on women's issues.  How many women got to speak to the House Health Policy Committee at their hearing of the bill?  None--three men only, although Rev. Jeff Liebmann did a fabulous job.

This morning at the Meadville/Lombard alumni breakfast, we heard, as always, memories from ministers who graduated 25 and 50 years ago.  The minister from 50 years ago couldn't be there in person, but sent his memories in writing.  He talked about creating an organization of ministers to help pastor to women and help them connect to illegal abortion providers, so that they could have safe abortions in the time before Roe vs. Wade.

I don't want to have to do that ministry--but I might have to in Michigan soon, if this trend holds.

So my mind isn't made up about the CSAIs--but I sure know what's resonating right now.  We're here talking about immigration, but for the first part of the week, my heart was still on the Michigan capitol steps, where the Vagina Monologues were taking place Monday evening. 

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