Roe v. Wade (1973)

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Today is the 43rd anniversary  of the Roe v. Wade decision. That’s the decision that maintains a woman’s right to choose; to do with her body as she feels; It gives her privacy. It gives her autonomy. Many people herald it as a pro-abortion decision, but any of us who have contemplated abortion know that it is not. We know that no one, NO ONE, is pro-abortion.

Read about abortions before this landmark decision for some perspective.

As a country, we’re okay with the death penalty, even in cases where the convicted party is mentally disturbed – not the Charles Manson crazy, but developmental disabilities like Down’s Syndrome and mental ages that are well below their chronological age.

As a country, we’re okay with war; perpetual war since 2011.

As a country, we’re okay with torture.

We’re okay with domestic violence and victim-blaming where women are involved. Where men are involved, we reduce them to women.

We can’t even pass a VAWA that includes ALL women.

What is going on here?

I read something recently from someone who I respect, who is pro-life, who is a good-hearted, loving, peaceful person describing abortion (in some instances) as a convenience. Women don’t want to be inconvenienced. I strongly take issue with that way of thinking; that stereotype. Women who have abortions because of economic reasons are not doing it as a convenience. These women, for the most part are living in poverty. They have children and are often single parents. There is no universal child care option for them to get steady work or they work several jobs for part time hours. They are living in abusive situations that they can’t escape because they have no control over their own money and/or bodies.

Women would choose to avoid pregnancy rather than terminate it, but increasingly this option (birth control) is being taken away because corporations are people, too, my friend. The owner of Hobby Lobby is against contraception for religious reasons and chooses to force his employees to follow his religious beliefs instead of allowing them the freedom to follow their own religion.

The sooner the people in this country realize and accept that this country was founded on the principle of not only freedom of religion, the freedom to practice individual religions by individual people as well as, and in addition to the freedom to be free of religion entirely, the sooner these arguments will be null and void. We need to stop inflicting our beliefs on others. This country was founded on our differences; we should embrace them.

When my church does their prayer of the faithful, they almost always include a prayer for life, from conception to natural death. Very rarely, but sometimes, they reference abortion directly, and my mind invariably wanders and prays for the women; that they continue to have the freedom of choice; that they have the support, the autonomy, the health care and the reproductive rights that they should have in a free society.

We should be supporting women who choose abortions instead of terrorizing them.

The most recent act of terrorism in Colorado Springs that targeted the Planned Parenthood there killed a woman, not having an abortion, but supporting her friend, a man on his cell phone on the street, and a policeman/security personnel. This is horrible, and the fact that many of us hand-wave it away as collateral damage is more than a little disturbing.

The sooner we get back to our basics of bodily autonomy and religious freedom, the sooner we can move on as a country to more important things – stopping our military involvement, the quagmire, eliminating the gender gap in pay and rights, giving Americans the right to have access to health care that is actually healthy and affordable.

Women, when left to their own devices will make the right choices and the right choice is whatever they feel is right for them, not what you feel is right for them.

In all matters.

Diversity of Thought

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“Diversity in the modern world is more than just skin color – It’s gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, social background, and – most important of it, in my opinion – is diversity of thought. If you have genuine diversity of thought among people making TV & film, then you won’t accidentally shut out any of the groups I just mentioned.”

– Idris Elba

Diversity, Tolerance, Acceptance

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What do those words mean? In early childhood, it was friendship and fairness. Elementary grades it was fairness and equality. Middle school showed us right and wrong, common sense, and equality. High school and higher was comparative culture and religion; it was discerning prejudices and overcoming them. Now, it is also recognizing privilege, whatever it is: white, male, Christian, straight, non-disabled/abled. It is thinking in a new and different way, but it is also a common sense to think this way.

In the 70s and 80s, it was tolerance.

Now, it is (and should be) acceptance. Acceptance is not approval. Don’t say that to anyone though. It’s condescending. It’s different for a religious pastor to accept, in the case of lgbt+, but not to approve in the context of dogma or doctrine, but it shouldn’t be that much different if we are all the same on the inside.

We divide where we should be bringing together.

We are stronger together.

We fear the unknown.

So get to know some of those things that scare you.

Diversity has to be more than adding a person of color to your favorite television show. Representation is incredibly important, and it matters, but it can’t be the only thing. It has to be more than Black History month in February or Women’s in March; Native American History in November and LGBT+ in October. It should be every day in every classroom. Diversity is inclusion. It’s about American history including these marginalized groups from the outset, not as a sidebar or a footnote.

It’s the food and the fabric and appreciation; the stories and music and taking chances. It’s the phenomenon that is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton on Broadway.

It’s my church music director including an African American spiritual (Wade in the Water) to our Mass of the Lord’s Baptism despite most of the congregation never hearing it before.

It’s Laverne Cox and Jamie Clayton.

It’s David Bowie using his privilege and calling out MTV on its very white lineup in 1983. 1983!

It’s my daughter calling a classmate her brown friend because she has brown hair and not seeing the difference between herself and her two best friends – one Scandinavian blonde and one African American all wearing their own braids, the two friends’ done by their moms in the morning and hers done on her own because I couldn’t do a proper braid without witchcraft involved.

It’s listening to the people who live this everyday and not talking over them. It’s eliminating the word and the thoughts of tolerance from our vocabulary. We, who are the privileged shouldn’t “tolerate” other people. We accept them for who they are and learn from what they can teach us, and stop saying ‘they’ and ‘them’ but instead ‘we’ and ‘us’.

Diversity is inspiration and acknowledgment and looking ahead at better things.