Monday, January 12, 2015

"Gynophobia" by John Chuchman

I will no longer debate the issue of women’s ordination in the church with anyone.

I will no longer engage the biblical ignorance
that emanates from so many right-wing Christians
about how all of Jesus’ Apostles were male,
as if that point of view still has any credibility.

I will no longer discuss with them or listen to them tell me
how “only males can be representations of Christ,"
about how women have a “different role” in the Church,
or about how male-only ordination is “the Church’s Tradition.”

Those arguments are no longer worthy of my time or energy.
I will no longer dignify by listening to the thoughts of those
who advocate that women be happy being nuns and priests’ helpers.

I will no longer talk to those who believe
that the unity of the church can or should be achieved
at the expense of the dignity of women.

I will no longer take the time to refute
the unlearned and undocumented claims
of certain gynophobic religious leaders
who advocate for Male Superiority.

I will no longer listen to that pious sentimentality
that certain Christian leaders continue to employ,
which suggests some version of that strange and overtly dishonest phrase that
"Male-Only Ordination is the Church’s Tradition."
That statement is nothing more than a self-serving lie
designed to cover the fact that these people fear women,
yet somehow know that this fear is incompatible
with the Christ they claim to profess,
so they adopt this face-saving and absolutely false statement.

I will no longer temper my understanding of truth
in order to pretend that I have even a tiny smidgen of respect
for the appalling negativity that continues to emanate from religious circles
where the church has for centuries conveniently perfumed
its ongoing prejudices against blacks, Jews, women and homosexual persons
with what it assumes is "high-sounding, pious rhetoric."

The day for that mentality has quite simply come to an end for me.
 I will personally neither tolerate it nor listen to it any longer.
The world has moved on,
 leaving these elements of the Christian Church that cannot adjust
to new knowledge or a new consciousness
 lost in a sea of their own irrelevance.

 They no longer talk to anyone but themselves.
 I will no longer seek to slow down the witness to inclusiveness
by pretending that there is some middle ground
between prejudice and oppression.
There isn't.

Justice postponed is justice denied.
That can be a resting place no longer for anyone.
An old civil rights song proclaimed that
the only choice awaiting those who cannot adjust to a new understanding
was to "Roll on over or we'll roll on over you!"
Time waits for no one.

It is time for the Church to announce that there are no longer two sides
to the issue of full Equality for Women.
There is no way that justice for Women
can be compromised any longer.

I will no longer act as if the Papal office is to be respected
 if the present occupant of that office is either not willing or not able
to inform and educate himself on public issues on which he dares to speak
with embarrassing ineptitude.

I see no way that ignorance and truth can be placed side by side,
nor do I believe that evil is somehow less evil if the Bible is quoted to justify it.

It is time to move on.
The battle is over.
The victory has been won.
There is no reasonable doubt
as to what the final outcome of this struggle will be.

Women have a legitimate claim on every right
that both church and society have to offer any of us.
The ordination of Women  
is recognized by the state
and must be pronounced holy by the church.

Can any of us imagine
having a public referendum on whether slavery should continue,
whether segregation should be dismantled,
whether voting privileges should be offered to women?

I will also no longer act as if I need a majority vote of some ecclesiastical body
 in order to bless, ordain, recognize and celebrate the lives and gifts
of Women in the life of the church.

No one should ever again be forced
to submit the privilege of citizenship in this nation
or membership in the Christian Church to the will of a majority vote.

The battle in both our culture and our church
to rid our souls of this dying prejudice is finished.
A new consciousness has arisen.
A decision has quite clearly been made.

Inequality for Women is no longer a debatable issue
in either church or state.
Therefore, I will from this moment on
refuse to dignify the continued public expression of ignorant prejudice
by engaging it.
I do not tolerate racism or sexism any longer.

From this moment on,
I will no longer tolerate our culture's various forms of homophobia.
 I do not care who it is who articulates these attitudes
or who tries to make them sound holy with religious jargon.

Things do get settled and this issue is now settled for me.
I do not debate any longer with members of the "Flat Earth Society" either.
 I do not debate with people who think we should treat epilepsy
by casting demons out of the epileptic person;
 I do not waste time engaging those medical opinions
that suggest that bleeding the patient might release the infection.

I am tired of being embarrassed by so much of my church's participation
in causes that are quite unworthy of the Christ I serve
or the God whose mystery and wonder I appreciate more each day.

 Indeed I feel the Christian Church should not only apologize,
but do public penance
for the way we have treated people of color, women, adherents of other religions
and those we designated heretics, as well as gay and lesbian people.

Life moves on.

As the poet James Russell Lowell once put it more than a century ago:
 "New occasions teach new duties, Time makes ancient good uncouth."
 I am ready now to claim the victory.
 I will from now on assume it and live into it.
 I am unwilling to argue about it
or to discuss it as if there are two equally valid, competing positions any longer.
The day for that mentality has simply gone forever.

No longer . . .

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