In a way, this whole bit of surreal weirdness that is the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation kerfuffle is the obvious ending to the story of the evangelical Christians’ love affair with politicians who can lip-sync their anti-abortion theme-songs.
Having become ever more entrenched in the language of anti-abortion and anti-choice, evangelicals began their dance long ago with any politician who could repeat their growing rhetoric back to them verbatim. While the community itself may have begun with a tenderhearted desire to protect life as they saw it, the politicians (and many church leaders) with whom they were dancing were wolves in sheep’s clothing.
The church and the world have both operated on the basis of patriarchal assumptions for so long that the time has come when they’ve both had to show their hand. If you’re really against abortion–if that is REALLY and truly the reason that you are anti-choice, then the absolutely only logical choice you have is to make sure that young people are educated about their bodies and about consent, and that predators are held accountable, prosecuted, and given jail time. You must defend the women from the predators, not the predators from the women.
But time and time again, the politicians and the church keep excusing the predators and blaming the women whom their “pro-life” ethic would logically demand they protect and care for. You simply cannot dogmatically call yourself pro-life if you can’t support a traumatized victim of rape, and call her rapist (or attempted rapist) to account. The Kavanaugh nomination has thrown the story into detailed relief: You cannot claim that you are pro-life and support those who commit sexual assault.
And these people–politicians and celebrity church leaders–are not simply denying the credibility of Dr. Blasey Ford’s claims. They’re normalizing sexual assault. It’s one thing not to believe the accusation, however credible, but to go on to say that even if it did happen, it was only “horseplay” or “seven minutes of heaven” or “boys being boys” shows not only ignorance but a depth of cruelty that cannot be reconciled with a sound pro-life ethic, or anything that resembles the way of Jesus.
The only way to interpret the tone-deafness of the evangelical and “christian” political leaders who speak like this is to say that their “pro-life” stance really and truly has nothing to do with a true life ethic and everything to do with keeping women in their places, subject to the whims and power of men. It has always been, at the level of the male leadership, about maintaining the patriarchal status quo–and the teenaged Brett Kavanaugh, thirty years after attempting to rape a girl at a party, has forced them to show their hand. Franklin Graham and his ilk have proven in recent days that it was never really about a pro-life ethic. It has only and always ever been, for them, about controlling women’s sexuality and women’s bodies and women’s agency.
1. These young people who are not waiting until they finish high school to become Worldchangers. They’re doing it now, and they’re showing us how.
2. Reminders to get in touch with the primal grief, the primal rage, to converse with these emotions, to learn from them.
3. Cool days.
4. Synaesthesia. I do not have it in any noticeably discernible way, but I have a student who regular tells us what color the words and letters are, and I love to be a listener to that extra-sensory story.
May we walk in Beauty!