God's Politics

God's Politics


Ryan Rodrick Beiler: The Mother’s Day Manifesto

posted by gp_intern

As we have in various ways over the years, it is incumbent upon us here at Sojourners/Call to Renewal to remind our readers of the history behind the Mother’s Day holiday. For while honoring one’s mother is important – see commandment #5 – like most holidays, Mother’s Day has been distorted nearly beyond recognition by the greeting-card-candy-and-floral-industrial-complex.

For the record, Mother’s Day was first declared in the U.S. in 1870 by pacifist Unitarian suffragist Julia Ward Howe. This was not a day originally intended for saccharine sentiment – it was proclaimed as a day for empowerment and activism!

Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation:

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have breasts,
Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!

Say firmly:
“We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says: “Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

Ryan Rodrick Beiler is the Web Editor for Sojourners/Call to Renewal.



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sangerinde

posted May 11, 2007 at 10:47 pm


This is astonishing. Thanks so much for reminding us what the original impetus of the day was. A long way from chocolates and flowers, indeed!



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JH

posted May 11, 2007 at 11:43 pm


Remembering the heritage of Christian women’s activism in North America is a great thing, indeed. Not only is this a far cry from the saccharine sentiments and commercialism, it is also a reminder that the “women’s movement” in the Church isn’t about oh, say, restoring proper gender roles, and the kind of individualistic “woman as prayer warrior, woman as supportive partner” and male hegemony-supporting moves popular in some sectors of the new Evangelicals. Although this writing still maintains a sort of essentialism in the whole “woman” thing (woman as natural caregiver, provider, bearer of children, etc.) to strengthen the plea inherent in the prose, the solidarity generated in the strength of Howe’s words are trenchant reminders of what it might mean for women (and men) to take up a new way of celebrating family.Yes, pacifism can be a celebration of “family values”…imagine that?



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Gina-Marie Cheeseman

posted May 12, 2007 at 3:37 am


Thanks for the reminder that Mother’s Day was created as a day of activism, a day to say, “I ain’t gonna study war no more!”



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butch

posted May 12, 2007 at 3:57 am


I’m so sick of men I could puke. My wife is running to take over the world. As her campaign manager it falls to me to develop her campaign slogan.Castrations without representation



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Payshun

posted May 12, 2007 at 4:00 am


That’s awesome. I did not know that about mother’s day. Consider me edumacated. p



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butch

posted May 12, 2007 at 5:12 am


Pay don’t know if you are responding to me or not and I take no offense if you are and I think you are being funny. I’m 67 and in my early 60’s my wife tells me she was sexually abused and further that nearly every woman she knows was sexually abused. The numbers are over 25% which makes me want to smack every 4th man I meet on the street. Of course I was ignorant but I’m not ignorant now and a lot of men really piss me off. No man ever told me they had sexually abused a woman, well mostly children, why don’t you chicken S H I T’s stand up and own your behavior. I could go on about why I’m disappointed in my sex and our behavior. The older I get the more I respect women and especially my mother, rest her soul.



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canucklehead

posted May 12, 2007 at 5:21 am


Castrations without representation butch | 05.11.07 – 10:02 pm | # “That’s awesome.” p Payshun Painful too, I’m told.



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Amazon Creek

posted May 12, 2007 at 7:52 am


That is a great article! Appreciate the info on the origins of Mothers Day. And the rest of you? You folks are REALLY, really funny tonight. You all are just bustin’ me up laughing! Good to see when can discuss these things and still keep our sense of humor…



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butch

posted May 12, 2007 at 11:20 pm


Pay, nucklehead (which is what my father called me) are two among a few that I respect I concede that this is not the thread to say these things but I hear the likes of Robertson talking about gay unions. Many want a constitutional amendment about gay unions marriage ? Well the percentage of men who abuse women is far greater than the gay population. How any man could concern himself with gays while we (men) abuse our women. I want a constitutional amendment to castrate men who sexually abuse women and cut off their hands if they strike women who happen to be our mothers and daughters. Sorry for the rant, but when I first came to this knowledge I mentioned how I felt in Sunday School and looked around quickly at the number of men who wouldn t look me in the eye?



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squeaky

posted May 13, 2007 at 3:18 am


I teach a course for freshmen which has a speech requirement. In order to coincide with Take Back the Night, the students are required to give at least one speech on an aspect of domestic violence. It is shocking how many of the young women (and even some of the young men) who relate their own experiences with it. I’d say about a third. At Take Back the Night, one of our young professors related her own experience with domestic violence–her father, a Baptist minister, molested her for years. She turned 18 and decided to prosecute him. The system tried to stop her at every turn because she was past the statute of limitations (he had stopped when she reached her early teens). She fought her way through the system and got her father thrown in prison for 8 years. He’s out now, with another family, no doubt repeating his offenses with a new set of kids. What can be done to stop this? One start is to get rid of the statute of limitations, and if your state has such a statute on sexual abuse, write your representatives. That definitely needs to end. It seems like an epidemic because we hear so much about it now. It’s not that there’s more abuse, but that women are finally getting the guts to speak up about it.I do have to say that I can’t help but notice men are the perpetrators of the majority of violence in this world. I don’t mean to male bash (I’m a woman, and I really like you guys!), but if any of you guys out there have any thoughts as to why that is, I’m interested to hear them.



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butch

posted May 13, 2007 at 4:11 am


but if any of you guys out there have any thoughts as to why that is, I’m interested to hear them. squeaky I think it directly parallels many animal societies. Apes, wolves, lions. The males are in charge, look at lion s behavior, he sets around making babies and when the pride is threatened the males go out to meet the threat. This works for many animal societies but doesn t work in complex societies with weapons of mass destruction which includes financial destruction. We study and can understand this why can t we rise above it? So, how are you going to get through any legislature, 25% of the males are abusive to someone. The statistics always work across the board; in fact politicians may occupy a larger segment of those abusing someone.Ian Rand said as long as old men can place in the hands of young men banners proclaiming that God is on their side there will be wars. How many wars would women start? Look at the men at the head of Enron and finally a lady said this isn t right. I ll bet that men are in charge of your retirement wherever you teach, do you still feel secure?



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butch

posted May 13, 2007 at 4:51 am


Squeaky, I’ve got a question for you. Do you want Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell in charge of your body? Study the behavior of the Popes through history then compare the Popes to Nuns? I m not picking on Catholics; I don t think church leadership is different in any church. Would Muslim women castrate themselves were it not for men and yes I know more about that than I need to cover here. How about the women that stood up to agree with Gonzales when he said the Geneva Conventions were quaint ? Or, when Cheney talked about using the Black Arts to deal with Enemy Combatants . At Abu Ghraib was one silly young woman without the brains of a piss ant and how many men around her, would she have initiated any of that on her own.What do men do to each other in prison? And, what do Prison Wardens and guards allow them to do? Happy mothers day you brought them into the world, why didn t you barbecue them when they were young and tender.



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butch

posted May 13, 2007 at 5:01 am


Squeaky, have you noticed that a 100 or so replies will be posted about war and how many men are responding to my indictments of male conduct?How many videos of war scenes have you seen women running while holding a child s hand and the men are running to meet the threat. The problem it is men started the conflict. As a man I’m ashamed of what men have done. I swear I m trying to do better.



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kevin s.

posted May 13, 2007 at 6:58 am


” I want a constitutional amendment to castrate men who sexually abuse women and cut off their hands if they strike women who happen to be our mothers and daughters.” My argument against castration punishment is the same as my argument against the death penalty, or at least part of it. The punishment is very final, and the justice is absolute. That is the appeal of the punishment. However, we have in this country a sensitivity to the punishment of the innocent (rightly so). The first castrated man who is proven innocent thereafter sullies the whole idea. Why do I bring this up? Because I too bemoan the failure of men in our society to act as men. However, our society often seeks to correct men in a manner that would take away their masculine identity. The proposal to remove testicles or fists obviously falls into this category. While this is the initial impulse, I believe God calls us to redirect the particular energies of men to positive things.This is not to say that men should not be accountable. Rather, in our frustration with the gender entire, we can have a tendency to toss the baby with the bathwater, and discourage men from being men.



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Sarah Cahill

posted May 13, 2007 at 7:17 am


There’s a really good video with this poem spoken by several women at http://www.mothersdayforpeace.com.



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K.Bitner

posted May 13, 2007 at 6:39 pm


Kevin, I think that the evidence shows that the death penalty isn’t really a deterrent. Now, as for why is another question :) However, I do think that the thought of castration would be a deterrent for a man. I consider myself very fortunate that I never suffered any abuse, from any male in my life. My mother never suffered sexual abuse, but emotional, from her father. My daughters (or any of my children) have never suffered abuse. My heart goes out to all who have suffered. Be that as it may, the article is about Mother’s Day, and we are getting off topic a bit. Happy Mother’s Day to all mother’s out there.



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neuro_nurse

posted May 14, 2007 at 12:27 am


kevin s. 05.13.07 – 1:03 amWell thought out and well said. Peace!



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ANONIMOUS

posted May 14, 2007 at 1:42 am


The greatest compliment I think I have ever recieved was from a sexual abuse survivor.She told me she loved that her children loved me and were safe with me. She remains one of my heroes of all time. As a foster parent in training we learned that 15% of all children pulled by Child protective services were separated for sexual abuse. TheN they told us that by the time they investigate all the other cases, the number reverses. Statistically, we were told, that means there is not one street in our cities where there isn’t at least one child suffering this atrocity.YOU GO AHEAD AND PREACH BUTCH!



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neuro_nurse

posted May 14, 2007 at 2:29 am


First, I am appalled by abuse women suffer at the hands of men. It turns my stomach and makes me extremely uncomfortable. As a trauma nurse, I have cared for many women who were the victims of abuse. For the sake of decorum, I won t go into details of what I ve seen. I agree with kevin s objection to capital punishment on the basis of its finality. The criminal justice system is a human institution, and as such, vulnerable to grave errors. Much of the evidence presented against a defendant is based on eye-witness accounts. Human memory is not analogous to a video recording. Our memories and recall are fluid and subject to influence and editing. If you d like to dispute this, I can search the medical literature to make my point. Justice is not served by execution of a criminal, nor by castrating him, vengeance is. The Bible tells us very specifically not to seek vengeance. As Christians, we are called to forgive. That idea may seem completely repulsive when we are talking about a crime that so deeply offends our sense of justice; nevertheless, Christ calls us to nothing less. From the perspective of medical ethics, castration is a surgery. It is completely unethical to perform a surgery for the explicit purpose of punishment, or for that matter, behavioral modification. We now consider lobotomies (psychosurgery) an abominable practice. Te U.S. is one of the only (the only?) western countries that still uses capital punishment, which is considered by many to be a barbaric practice. Would you really want us to have the unique distinction of being the only western country that practices surgical mutilation as a form of punishment? Peace!



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butch

posted May 14, 2007 at 4:52 am


I agree with kevin s objection to capital punishment on the basis of its finality. neuro nurse Kevin always changes the subject and doesn’t get my points at all; it is not about the punishment, which can be debated. The point is all that women do and what they suffer at the hands of men. Kevin picks a point that I was joking about and turns the direction to the punishment not the crime. Lets uncover the crime and shine the light of day then we can debate what to do about it. Now it is hidden!



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letjusticerolldown

posted May 14, 2007 at 5:48 am


I honor my mother and father for manifesting the nurturing love of God and the privilege to in some small way live as an instrument of God’s peace. I honor my wife, mother of my three girls, who died last Fall after a four-year battle with a pregnancy induced disease. To love her and serve her was my greatest honor. That which is most beautiful and good can be most deeply corrupted–e.g. maleness and femaleness. That which has been most corrupted can experience the greatest redemptive power of the Gospel.



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canucklehead

posted May 14, 2007 at 6:44 am


Wow, that’s powerful, justice!



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Amazon Creek

posted May 14, 2007 at 7:58 am


For Butch: That is not true. And I have this from people who would know the statistics – and would not be saying this just to dilute the horror of husbands that abuse wives (if anything, they would be pre-disposed to do the opposite)….that there are PLENTY of wives who abuse husbands – and plenty of gays and lesbians that abuse their significant others. Trust me….the people who have told me this would KNOW. The issue isn’t gender or choice of sexual lifestyle – it is a pattern of living and thinking – that results in manipulating and abusing others. Sorry to be so vague – but I have a confidentiality issue here. And that is why I’m generalizing and not being more direct and specific. But…hey…you want specific? I had a relative that abused her live-in beau plenty! She’d throw pots and pans at him. She’d make fun of him. But then…she did that with just about everyone. She abused the elderly, she was an abusive caregiver. She just abused her whole life long. She was a truly equal-opportunity abuser. Trust me…it happens in all segments of society. The trigger is the pattern of living and thinking.



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Amazon Creek

posted May 14, 2007 at 8:07 am


For Butch & Sqeaky: I agree…the likes of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell do nothing to help the situation. Their ideas are not welcome in my house! Their ideas have ruined the lives of countless people and caused untold misery. Their ideas have caused me enough misery. And you reach a point where you say, “It ends – right here and now!” Never again, will their sick, warped ideas ever, ever again cause me any more misery. Period…paragraph…end page. Haaaaallelujah! Haaaaallelujah!



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doug

posted May 14, 2007 at 8:56 am


Butch: “I could go on about why I’m disappointed in my sex and our behavior.” That’s fine Butch. Rant all you want. But remember, without love, you are nothing but a clashing gong. For the record, the only abuse I ever received, at the tender age of 3, was at the hands of a woman at a daycare center. I remember the incident quite clearly and it’s taken decades for me to be comfortable with my body. We are all sinners Butch, you and me included.



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neuro_nurse

posted May 14, 2007 at 6:57 pm


butch, Unfortunately, I didn t see the humor in your suggestion either. In 1990 former Washington State Senator Ellen Craswell pushed a bill for castration of sex offenders. She ran for governor in 1996, was defeated, and subsequently retired from politics. http://www.seanet.com/~matassa/craswell.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellen_Craswell Peace!



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kevin s.

posted May 14, 2007 at 8:41 pm


“Kevin picks a point that I was joking about and turns the direction to the punishment not the crime.” My post spoke to both punishment and crime. How would I know you were joking?



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Carl Copas

posted May 14, 2007 at 11:26 pm


“They are going after this in California right now.” I have lived in California for 18 years and have never heard of anyone “trying to outlaw the words mother and father,” or who “hold(s) that Mother’s Day is a hate crime of intolerance and bigotry.” In fact, it’s rather astonishing how much cash a lot of Californians spend for their moms on Mother’s Day.



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canucklehead

posted May 15, 2007 at 2:31 am


Carl: we used to hear this kind of hysteria/paranoia-inducing story about the “gay agenda” in the early days of the debate in Canada re the legalization of gay marriage. People will say anything to attract media attention. Since gay marriage was formally legalized in Canada in July 2005 and the CONSERVATIVE gov’t refused to revisit the issue this past December, the hysteria on both sides has died down or, at least, isn’t getting much attention anymore. I think extremism begets extremism.



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butch

posted May 15, 2007 at 3:13 am


Unfortunately, I didn t see the humor in your suggestion either. You didn’t pay a cover charge for the comedian don’t laugh. Finish your drink and leave.



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God's Politics Moderator

posted May 15, 2007 at 10:17 pm


“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29) This message thread has been visited by a God’s Politics Blog moderator for the purpose of removing inappropriate posts. Click here for a detailed explanation of the Beliefnet Rules of Conduct: http://www.beliefnet.com/about/rules.asp which includes: Help us keep the conversation civil and respectful by reporting inappropriate posts to: community@staff.beliefnet.com 6



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Kell

posted July 19, 2007 at 3:16 pm


Please, please, please lose the Wikipedia link and substitute a legitimate news source. It’s shameful that such a low-class, unreliable link even appears here.



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