Washington National Cathedral was founded in 1907 and envisioned as a “Westminster Abbey for America,” which, in part, is why it finds itself at the center of controversy about its role in President-elect Donald J. Trump’s impending inauguration.
For more than a century, the cathedral has tried to stand in two worlds at once, attempting to be both a practicing Christian church and a gathering place for American civic expression. As the cathedral’s former dean, I believe that fidelity to the former role now requires rejecting the latter.
Sojourners has documented the many ways in which racism was at the core of Trump’s message — and how overwhelming evangelical support exemplifies the clear racial divide within the body of Christ.
But the other way the campaign and election have driven a wedge between evangelicals has to do with gender. Considering that nearly two thirds of white Protestant women voted for Trump, it would be a stretch to consider this an even split. But it doesn't take much scanning of social media and the blogosphere — or simply talking to evangelical women — to see that many of them who did not support Trump feel deeply wounded by their fellow evangelicals who did.
We know you are fearful. We know you are still feeling the loss — the loss of a hoped for America that valued diversity, or perhaps the loss of your faith community whose white majority voted for an embodiment of our worst natures.
But we also know that you are ready to resist. You are ready to join the millions who will repeat daily that this ugly rhetoric and dangerous policy proposals cannot become normalized. Racism should not continue as normal, misogyny can’t remain normal, and threatening the well being of those God calls us to welcome cannot become normal.
And so we make this commitment to you: We at Sojourners are all in for whatever is required over the next four years and beyond, as a publication, as a resource, as a community, as a network of activists. Here’s how we get started.
I am upset by the results of the election, and I am particularly saddened that 81 percent of white American evangelicals got into bed with a monster on Nov. 8. But I am also encouraged and have not lost hope.
Around 11:15 p.m. Tuesday, my 15-year-old daughter, frustrated by all she was seeing on the television, stormed out of the room and announced: “Dad, I am going to bed. I am embarrassed for my country.”
Of course this it is not “just talk” as he and his defenders have claimed. But also concerning is the response from some Republican and religious leaders who had previously supported Trump now saying they can't anymore because of the women in their lives — daughters, wives, and mothers — who they want to protect. Women don’t need protection from men; women need men to stop being predators, enablers, and bystanders. Women are human beings made in the image of God regardless of their relationship to a man. This isn’t a woman’s issue; it’s a human issue.
Today the whole internet is talking about Donald Trump Jr.’s recent tweet comparing refugees to poisoned Skittles.
When I first saw the tweet, I was sickened by Trump Jr.'s — and by extension our country’s — inability to see refugees as human beings in need of help. But I also was reminded of a similar tweet with a vastly different response two years ago.
Why stay when a woman can’t be ordained as a priest? When Jewish men in their daily prayers thank God they were not born a woman? When a woman with uncovered hair is considered a bad Muslim?
Many in this diverse group of essayists — including Mormons, immigrants, rabbis, ministers, lawyers, and nurses — confess to having seriously considered chucking faith, or at least their own religious tradition. Some of them actually did leave, only to return.
When Pope Francis this month wanted to highlight his appointment of several women to a blue-ribbon theological commission, he called the female theologians “strawberries on the cake.”
Two weeks earlier, when the pontiff gave a speech to the European Parliament, he used another lady-based analogy, this time underscoring the continent’s demographic decline and cultural crisis by comparing Europe to a grandmother who is “no longer fertile and vibrant.”
Yes, Francis is a veritable quote machine, tossing off-the-cuff bon mots that the public finds enormously appealing in large part because they are coming from a Roman pontiff — not an office known for its improv routines.
But when he speaks about women, Francis can sound a lot like the (almost) 78-year-old Argentine churchman that he is, using analogies that sound alternately condescending and impolitic, even if well-intentioned.
Some die for choosing, others for not choosing. But they all die because they are women. Rogers was mentally ill, and there is debate about whether it was his illness or a misogynistic culture that caused his rampage. For Farzana’s family, and for the 1000 Pakistani girls and women who die each year in the name of honor, there is no question.
1. Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds
Self-identified nerd Arthur Chu provides piercing analysis on the recent shooting in Santa Barbara, examining how rape culture and recent sitcoms have instilled a sense of entitlement for “nerds” when it comes to “getting the girl.”
2. Why #NotAllMen Misses the Point
#NotAllMen is a flawed response to the twitter trend #YesAllWomen: "Avoiding blame isn’t enough to heal us. Distancing ourselves won’t end cycles of injustice, whether in the form of sexism, racism, or any other division. #NotAllMen can’t break an oppressive culture towards women."
3. Maya Angelou Knew How To Inspire As A Writer, Teacher, and Great Human Being
Sojourners board member Joshua DuBois reflects on the life of Maya Angelou: "The African American author, dead at 86, led an extraordinary life and wrote about it in extraordinary ways."
4. Maya Angelou Is Not in Heaven
"Angelou is not in heaven 'now.' Her writings show a joyful person who was never not in heaven. To me, an ongoing theme of her remarkable work has always been its full-on, all-in commitment to living life in the kingdom."
5. Slavery Is Still Thriving And Is More Profitable Than Big Oil
The International Labor Organization (ILO), a United Nation's agency focusing on labor issues, this weekreleased a report on the global "forced labor" industry. The results are staggering.
6. Inside the Mind of Edward Snowden
After months of behind-the-scenes contact, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams sat down with Edward Snowden, a man wanted for espionage here at home, for his first American television interview. Nothing was off limits.
7. This Film Will Change How You See Immigration
The Stranger is a new 45-minute documentary created to introduce Christians to the stories and lives of immigrants living in this country. Interviews with pastors, Christian leaders, and policy experts provide a biblically based context for the immigration challenges that face our country today.
8. Palestinian Refugees Welcome the Pope: The Story Behind the Iconic Photo at the Separation Wall
In an effort to resist the Bethlehem Municipality’s efforts to beautify a section of the Apartheid Wall where Pope Francis was scheduled to pass, Local activists from Aida Refugee Camp gathered to paint slogans both against Israeli occupation and welcoming His Holiness, on the eve of his arrival, on May 24th 2014.
9. The Wrong Way to Approach the Poor
Before we rush in with righteous vigor to help the helpless, so to speak, we would do well to dispense of some archaic lenses through which we view poverty.
10. The Record for the Most Expensive Starbucks Drink Has Been Broken By a $55 Frappuccino
On a lighter note, someone really took advantage of those free birthday drinks that accompany a Starbucks Gold Card membership — 60 shots of esppresso should be enough to wake you up, right?
To my fellow men,
I’m sure you are as heartbroken as I am about the killings at UC Santa Barbara by a troubled young man with a misogynistic manifesto. Heartbroken for the community, for the families who lost loved ones, and even for the young man who felt like there was no other way.
Now I’m not much of a “Tweeter” (is that the right word?), but I heard that a group of us has taken to defending ourselves on Twitter with the hashtag #NotAllMen. They want to say that that #NotAllMen sexually assault women. #NotAllMen expect a date to be reciprocated with sex. #NotAllMen harass women for the way they do or don’t look at us. They want to say that we’re not like those other people, that we respect women as equals, not demean them as prizes or products.
Oh, ladies. Just when you thought we were emerging again from the sudden backtrack into 20th-century gender politics, this happened. (Before continuing, I warn: this is the most offensive bit of so-called Christian, “red pill” patriarchy that I have ever read.)
A blog post written on the website of the Christian Men's Defense League — yes, an organization dedicated to protecting the rights of white American Christian men is apparently a thing — blames Mitt Romney's loss Tuesday night on what the author brilliantly coins "the slut vote."
Hat tip to Gawker for finding the cached version of this post, as it was quickly locked down post-publishing. You can view snippets of all of author “BSkillet’s” witticisms HERE.
Most disturbing in this man's tirade against so-called "sluts" — and trust me, there's a lot in there to creep us out — is that he is doing so from a Christian perspective. The banner of the blog cites Psalm 144:1, "Blessed be the LORD, my rock, Who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle."
The verse of choice is interesting, to say the least. I usually cringe when I hear terms like "war on religion," "war on women," etc., but if anyone is waging it, it's this guy.
There is so much here that completely defies logic, but I thought I'd pull out a couple of gems for our review.
FoxNews contributor (and friend of Sojourners) Kirsten Powers has been outspoken in her criticism of the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, a frequent guest and friend of Fox's Sean Hannity.
On March 5, Peterson took to the airways on his "Exploring Your Destiny with Jesse Lee Peterson" program and delivered a message/sermon titled, "How Most Women Are Building a Shameless Society." Powers, a Democtrat who also happens to be an evangelical Christian, began posting a litany of tweets on Twitter castigating Peterson for his blatant misogyny.
(Read a piece by Sojourners' staff writers Nicole Higgins and James Colten taking Peterson to task HERE.)
On Tuesday, Powers took the opportunity -- on the air during Hannity's show on which she is also a frequent guest -- to confront Peterson face-to-face.
You go, girl.
FOX NewsChannel host Sean Hannity calls the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, "the most courageous, outspoken critic of the liberal left and the so-called 'black leadership' in America today."
He also calls him pastor.
Peterson, 62, is president and founder of The Brotherhood Organization of A New Destiny (BOND) — an organization dedicated to promoting the conservative agenda in the African American community. Host of his own radio and television programs, Peterson also is a member of Choose Black American, which stridently opposes illegal immigration in the United States and a former member of the California Christian Coalition.
Hannity has hosted Peterson as a guest on his Fox show numerous times and sits on the board of BOND, which he lauds for having, "played an instrumental role in helping young men and women build lives which will help inspire the next generation. BOND continues to fight the good fight standing for the values of God, family, and country, and are deserving of our support."
On March 5, Peterson took to the airways on his "Exploring Your Destiny with Jesse Lee Peterson" program and delivered a message/sermon titled, "How Most Women Are Building a Shameless Society." The video clip came to our attention Thursday afternoon, when Fox and Daily Beast contributor Kirsten Powers, a Democtrat who also happens to be an evangelical Christian, began posting a litany of tweets on Twitter castigating Peterson for his blatant misogyny.
WARNING: Jon Stewart's take on Rush Limbaugh's latest rhetorical offense against humanity (or at least womankind) is not for the faint of heart.
But it is funny ... cuz it's true.
Hear what Jon had to say inside the blog...
Controversial radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh has apologized for his awful comments against Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown law student who spoke to Congress in support of a health-care mandate requiring employers to provide insurance coverage for contraception. Fluke came to national attention when Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee refused to allow her to speak at a hearing on the issue.
The refusal led Democratic women on the committee to ask: “Where are the women?”
Later, Fluke testified at a non-official forum organized by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. At this forum, Fluke spoke about the importance of hormonal contraception medication in treating other conditions that affect women’s reproductive health. Not all birth control pills are used for contraception. There was nothing about her testimony that comes anywhere close to the portrayal advanced by Limbaugh.
I have written about the clash of rights between religious liberty and equal protection under the law for women elsewhere, so I will not labor the point here.
No matter the reasons for Limbaugh’s objection to the mandate, clearly he has failed to learn one of the principle moral lessons that Jesus taught: “Judge not, so that you may not be judged.” (Matthew 7:1)
I have said and say again that whenever we make a judgment, we reveal more about ourselves than about the person against whom we are passing judgment.
There are many differences that exist between women and men. Just start with basic biology and it’s apparent. However, if we start at the beginning we discover something foundational that speaks to who we are at our deepest level of identity.
In the creation narrative the writer tell us that God created humankind “in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1.27). Men and women are first identified as image bearers. While we have differences we also have sameness, and both are rooted in God.
We must keep this in mind in any conversation about the differences between men and women. For whenever we speak about our differences we must do so with caution. As Ken Wilber rightly points out, “… as soon as any sort of differences between people are announced, the privileged will use those differences to further their advantage.”
In the history of our world men have typically occupied places of privilege. As a result, men have used the differences between themselves and women to gain advantage and establish dominance over women. This is still prevalent in our world today — even in the Church.
The recent conviction in Canada of Afghani-Canadian parents and son, in the highly-publicized legal case hinging on what has been described broadly as “honor killings,” has exposed the horrifically demented practice to public scrutiny.
Though the three defendants — Mohammad Shafia, his wife and son — denied responsibility for the death of Shafia’s three daughters and first-wife, the Canadian court decided otherwise.
Recordings presented during the trial included wiretaps in which Shafia called his dead daughters “treacherous” and “whores” because they dated boys and wore what Shafia considered to be suggestive clothing. When the verdict was announced, Ontario Superior Judge Robert Maranger determined that the murders of the four women —ages 13, 17, 19 and 52 — were, in fact, motivated by warped (some might say, rightly, “sociopathic”)ideology. As he ruled, Maranger said:
"It is difficult to conceive of a more despicable, more heinous crime. The apparent reason behind these cold-blooded, shameful murders was that the four completely innocent victims offended your completely twisted concept of honor.”
Mohammed Shafia’s distorted concept of honor is one that is shared by far too many around the globe. It says that the murder of women and girls — those ones who don’t play by the family rules — restores the honor the family has been deprived of by virtue of its female members’ behavior.
One in 5 women have been raped in their lifetime and nearly 1 in 4 women have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner.
Mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and partners physically, emotionally and spiritually violated.
This is a moral shame not just on the men who committed these crimes but on ALL men.
It wasn’t until 1920 that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was ratified. It reads:
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Men in this country live with a legacy of viewing and treating women as less than human. Our past reveals that we have not always recognized the image of God as fully present in our sisters.
While not every man has committed a crime of violence against women, all men are responsible to make sure such crimes end. The statistics show that rape and assault are not isolated incidents but rather are a consistent and constant part of our society and culture.
It won’t end the crisis, but the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), is an important tool, giving an avenue of response to women who have been victimized.
A jury on Sunday found three members of an Afghan family guilty of killing three teenage sisters and another woman in what the judge described as "cold-blooded, shameful murders" resulting from a "twisted concept of honor," ending a case that shocked and riveted Canadians.
Prosecutors said the defendants allegedly killed the three teenage sisters because they dishonored the family by defying its disciplinarian rules on dress, dating, socializing and using the Internet.
The jury took 15 hours to find Mohammad Shafia, 58; his wife Tooba Yahya, 42; and their son Hamed, 21, each guilty of four counts of first-degree murder. First-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.
After the verdict was read, the three defendants again declared their innocence in the killings of sisters Zainab, 19, Sahar 17, and Geeti, 13, as well as Rona Amir Mohammad, 52, Shafia's childless first wife in a polygamous marriage.