It’s my favorite time of the year: NCAA women’s basketball tournament season, not to be confused with March Madness. That moniker belongs only to the men’s playoff. The women’s tournament doesn’t have a spiffy name, or televised coverage of games in their entirety.
The United Methodist Church voted this week to affirm the denomination’s anti-gay positions and rejected a plan that would have made LGBTQ inclusion an issue for local churches to decide. This is my response—as a feminist theologian, a queer woman and a Baptist in exile.
I grew up Southern Baptist. I hold degrees from a Southern Baptist seminary. I taught at a Southern Baptist college. And I left the Southern Baptist Convention nearly 25 years ago because of their misogyny, anti-feminism and homophobia—but now, with headlines emerging about widespread abuse in the church, I feel compelled to offer an insider/outsider perspective.
The sexual abuse of nuns is not the problem. It’s the symptom. The problem is patriarchy—and the church’s participation in, benefit from and maintenance of sexist structures of power.
The so-called “Christian” Right has continued to attack the LGBT community—and some folks who call themselves feminists are abetting them.
“The Church of England welcomes and encourages the unconditional affirmation of trans people,” declares new guidance for Anglican clergy, “equally with all people, within the body of Christ, and rejoices in the diversity of that body into which all Christians have been baptised by one Spirit.”
“This is not really a story about these people over here who are doing something totally different from everybody else. It’s a story about a population of people experiencing an intensified, deified form of something that has touched almost all of our lives.”
Most people scoffed when Bill Clinton famously proclaimed that he “did not have sexual relations with that woman” when his relationship with Monica Lewinsky became public. Now, evangelist Franklin Graham is asserting that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh actually showed Dr. Christine Blasey Ford respect by not “finishing” what she alleges was an attempted rape in high school that left her traumatized for decades.
Paige Patterson’s behavior toward women makes perfectly good sense within a theological context that denies women’s full humanity.
These women weren’t really activists: They were a graphic designer, a journalist, a sociologist, a dentist and a photographer driving to Hogar Seguro Virgen de la Asunción in Guatemala. By the time they arrived, emergency workers were bringing out survivors and bodies.