Why I don’t consider abortion when voting

Let me be clear up-front: I do not support a right to abortion on demand. In fact, if I were made ruler of the universe, I would make abortions enormously difficult to get. Because I’m a mean and cruel woman. No, not really – I’m actually very kind and empathetic. But I am in agreement with Mother Theresa: “it is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live”. I don’t think abortion is an answer to what is really a societal failure. I don’t only oppose abortion from a pro-life perspective. I think abortion is bad for women, worse for relations between men and women and displays a level of animosity towards women as they are – people whose bodies can start new life – which is evil and vile. If we have a society where the normal functioning of a woman’s body regularly ruins women’s lives, we’re doing it wrong. And abortion doesn’t do anything to fix that – it simply enables it. Nearly 60% of abortions are influenced by pressure from fathers, husbands, boyfriends or others with power in a woman’s life. That’s not empowering. Nor has ready access to abortion resulted in a world where people who shouldn’t have children don’t as abortion proponents used to argue. Far from it. And yet . . . the issue of abortion has nothing to do with how I vote.

Yes Democrats not only support abortion rights, but celebrate them the way most of us celebrate Grandpa’s 90th birthday. But despite using the abortion issue to garner votes for the last 30 or 40 years, Republicans haven’t and won’t do anything to stop abortion either. Sure, they’ll fiddle around the edges and I’d much rather live in a country where doctors don’t deliver a baby up to its neck before suctioning its brains, crushing its head and completing delivery. But show me one child who is alive today because we banned “intact dilation and extraction”. It’s a symbolic victory at best. The reality is that for all their rhetoric, the Republicans have shown no more willingness to do something about Roe v Wade than their Democratic opponents. If anything, I can at least give the Democrats credit for being honest about their support of abortion as birth control. But voting for someone simply because they claim to be pro-life does nothing what-so-ever to advance pro-life policies. It’s just giving my vote to the person who has set their dog-whistle to the right pitch.

Another reason abortion isn’t a factor in my voting is that abortion is only marginally a legal issue. 1.2 million women have abortions each year. By some estimates, one in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime. Including a good number of women who are Christian, pro-lifers. That’s a social problem. You don’t fix social problems with laws. Social problems get fixed with people. Continue reading “Why I don’t consider abortion when voting”

You are a beautiful woman . . .

Ok Gentlemen, if you could leave us alone for a moment, I have something I’d like to share with the ladies real quick. Well, I guess if you want to pass this along to your wife or daughter, you can stay and eavesdrop.

Now, ladies I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that as a culture we have not only fetishized flawless female beauty, we have made feeling bad about our bodies and beauty a virtue. Hopefully you are as lucky as I am and you have a husband who has managed to convince you that you really are beautiful and that the odd lumps of your figure are sexy rather than repulsive. However, I suspect that many women go through their whole lives not feeling entirely comfortable with themselves. Which is a shame.

I have heard that once upon a time it was generally accepted that 1 in 5 women would be classically beautiful. The other 4 could be comfortable in their plainness, or dowdiness or oddness and rely on the power of their personalities and femaleness to be attractive to the 4 out of 5 men who were likewise not going to win beauty contests. Today it seems that we all feel obligated to either achieve beauty or to feel badly about ourselves.

What is funny is that men do not seem to look at us this way. Continue reading “You are a beautiful woman . . .”

PMS, Reinterpreted

Do women tend to have higher natural emotional intelligence (EQ) than men? Most people think so although research hasn’t settled the argument yet. But if women do have higher EQ, I think I know the reason: PMS. (Men, you need to hear this, so don’t check out on me now!)

There’s this weird thing which happens with PMS. Every month you have a day or two where you are completely convinced that your life is awful, with no redeeming qualities, hardly worth living. You will find yourself collecting evidence to support this perspective. The money problems. The kid’s dirty clothes. That hole in the wall that’s needed patching for as long as the baby’s been alive. It’s all your fault, evidence of your failure. And it’s hopeless. You know for a fact that all those people saying things like “you don’t lose until you quit” are delusional unicorn-friending idiots. At some point you start to understand women who abandon their kids to smoke meth in a motel outside of Vegas with a truck driver. It makes perfect sense in fact.

But here’s the thing: while you are busy wondering if you actually have the cajones to go to the local truck stop and start talking up potential new boyfriends, it never, ever occurs to you that any of this is anything but gospel truth. It’s not until the next day when you discover for a fact that you are not pregnant that you realize – it’s just hormones! It’s not actually real. Continue reading “PMS, Reinterpreted”

A Christian Feminism*

When I first started looking at the issue of women in the bible, I wasn’t attached to any particular set of ideas about women and men. As a child of our times a more egalitarian ideal made a lot of sense to me. But I also knew that we get a lot further by conforming ourselves to God’s ways than to our own ideas. I wasn’t closed off to the idea that a subordinate role for women was something I would need to make peace with.

In fact, it was trying to make peace with a subordinate role was what motivated me to study women in scriptures. I figured that if I could learn more about what God had to say and why, the idea of being under men would not be a source of pain, but would be a source of life, as all things which come from God are. Like many, many women I’ve heard from over the years, I wanted to have peace about this subject, but something deep in me kept rebelling at the idea that God had given me the role of less-than all my life.

If you read what I have written previously, you’ll see that the more I studied the matter, the more it became clear to me that using scriptures to demand that women take their place under men was an abuse of God’s word. At a bare minimum, it was blazingly clear that there is nothing in scriptures which would bar full equality between men and women. So, you can make an argument for a subordinate position for women from scripture. And you can make many, many arguments for the equality of men and women which rely not just on a few verses, but stories and themes found all through scripture. Both arguments can be made, so the real issue isn’t which on is biblical – they both are, if you just look at it a certain way. Either way is faithful to scriptures. As always, all that is left now is our own choices.

Continue reading “A Christian Feminism*”

The Book of Job: The Happy Ending

This past week I’ve been looking at the last chapters of the Book of Job.  As I said before, these passages have always bothered me because they don’t make sense.  Why would a loving and compassionate God show up and affirm that Job did not bring his suffering on himself and then tell him to sit down and get in line because he’s just a … Continue reading The Book of Job: The Happy Ending

A Christian Feminism

When I first started looking at the issue of women in the bible, I wasn’t attached to any particular set of ideas about women and men. As a child of our times a more egalitarian ideal made a lot of sense to me. But I also knew that we get a lot further by conforming ourselves to God’s ways than to our own ideas. I wasn’t closed off to the idea that a subordinate role for women was something I would need to make peace with.

In fact, it was trying to make peace with a subordinate role was what motivated me to study women in scriptures. I figured that if I could learn more about what God had to say and why, the idea of being under men would not be a source of pain, but would be a source of life, as all things which come from God are. Like many, many women I’ve heard from over the years, I wanted to have peace about this subject, but something deep in me kept rebelling at the idea that God had given me the role of less-than all my life.

If you read what I have written previously, you’ll see that the more I studied the matter, the more it became clear to me that using scriptures to demand that women take their place under men was an abuse of God’s word. At a bare minimum, it was blazingly clear that there is nothing in scriptures which would bar full equality between men and women. So, you can make an argument for a subordinate position for women from scripture. And you can make many, many arguments for the equality of men and women which rely not just on a few verses, but stories and themes found all through scripture. Both arguments can be made, so the real issue isn’t which on is biblical – they both are, if you just look at it a certain way. Either way is faithful to scriptures. As always, all that is left now is our own choices.

All of which still begs an important question. Why did God allow scriptures to be written in such a way that they were so easily manipulated to put women at a disadvantage? Surely God knew that this would happen and could have made things clearer – not left half His creation so vulnerable to abuse by those claiming to act in His name. Over the years I have heard from more than one young woman – usually a teen – who has just read some verse about how a woman was ritually unclean for longer with a girl child than if she had a boy child or some such. “Why does God hate me?” was the theme of those girl’s questions. Why would God allow verses that made young women think that God hates them? Continue reading “A Christian Feminism”

The Proverbs 31 Woman

I recently told my husband that Proverbs 31 was like Cosmo for Christian women; it presents a completely unrealistic image of what a woman should be. Some women get together with their girlfriends to study it earnestly and try to follow its tips and guides to be more like what is presented. Some women look at it and just feel awful about themselves because they know they can never live up to the perfection they see in it. And then there are women who grab a pint of hagen daz to eat while looking for all the tell-tale signs of the copious amounts of airbrushing it takes to make a woman look like that. I mean, the Proverbs 31 woman gets the flax, spins it into yarns, weaves the fabric, sews the garments and keeps them sparkling clean at all times? Not to mention running a vineyard, playing the real estate market, making meals, blah, blah blah. What about the servants? When do they get time to weave their own fabric? What about the nanny who can’t keep her clothes clean because the kids keep wiping hummus on it? Does she lose her virtuous woman status? (Obviously I fall into the “looking for signs of airbrushing while eating ice cream” camp of women 🙂 )

However, the fact of the matter is that this is in the bible, so it must be there for a reason, so simply writing it off as unrealistic and ignoring it isn’t really a good option for us. Yet it’s a totally impossible vision of womanhood. So what are we to make of it? As I mentioned yesterday, one of my rules for studying scripture is that when the bible appears to be contradicting itself or real life, that is usually a “red marker” which indicates a place where we need to dig deeper. Usually there’s more going on in these spots than we realize. The Proverbs 31 woman seemed like a perfect example of scriptures being in conflict with real life, so I decided to dig a little deeper. I came across these text notes at Next Bible on Proverbs 31: Continue reading “The Proverbs 31 Woman”