Wednesday, January 7, 2015

"Jimmy Carter's Book Takes Prophetic Stand on Women" by Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP/National Catholic Reporter

"Many women are elated by this new book because Carter "gets" what some men don't. He gets that his wife and other women deserve a faithful, loving and engaging partner. He gets that women are equal before God and, as such, are to be treated with dignity in order to reach their full potential in all walks of life -- including as priests. He gets that the Spirit moves within women -- that we have voices to heal each other and our Earth.
Carter's wise and reasoned book is a proclamation of the plight of many women who are violated and suffer in a minefield where male domination, narcissism and violence of all kinds is rampant and, moreover, tolerated.
"All the elements in this book concerning prejudice, discrimination, war, violence, distorted interpretations of religious texts, physical and mental abuse, poverty, and disease fall disproportionately on women and girls," writes Carter in the introduction.
He does not spare us any details of the cruelties inflicted on women: the rape of 3-month-old baby girls, honor killings, genital cutting, femicide (the murder of women), gendercide (selective killing of female fetuses by abortion, neglect or murder), assaults on U.S. campuses and in the military, physical violence perpetrated by boyfriends and husbands, child marriages, enslavement, and the increasing rate of incarceration of vulnerable, nonviolent women because of anti-drug policies.
Carter argues for the U.S. passage of the international version of the Violence Against Women Act to put economic and political pressure on countries known to be abusive toward women.
Carter asserts that our approach in the U.S. to prevent abortion by not teaching young Americans to avoid pregnancy is "counterproductive." Without adequate sex education, the likelihood of American girls' becoming pregnant is higher than in Western Europe.
While funding for this basic information is available, "unfortunately it is quite often tied to a legal prohibition against any mention of contraception, despite the fact that a strong majority of American teenagers are having sex before they are eighteen years old."
His urgent and informed wakeup call is graced with what the late women's rights activist Dominican Sr. Marge Tuite taught us in the 1970s and 1980s. Tuite said, "Make the connections between sexism and racism, sexism and militarism, sexism and nationalism, sexism and capitalism."...

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