While I was waiting to leave for the airport, I started to think about how our emotional exchanges with others regulate our emotional and biological states.
An article in the Washington Post On Faith section in response to their question: Women are not allowed to become clergy in many conservative religious groups. Is it hypocritical to think that a woman can lead a nation and not a congregation?
On matters of women in the church, it’s time to take the lead from women themselves. To date, the lore and history of organized religion, not to mention the career of priest and preacher, has belonged to men. But what do women want? Contradictory ideas can be held at the same time. In politics, most female voters tell pollsters that they are in broad sympathy with feminist goals: equal pay, opportunity at executive jobs, the right to control their own bodies. Yet so-called security moms put Bush over the top in the past two elections, and the unexpected popularity of Sarah Palin suggests that social conservatism, combined with spunk and dedication to one’s family, fits the mold of a reformer.
In religion the contradictions are even stronger. The image of women in Christianity grew from Eve: temptress, sinner, fleshly, and disobedient. Yet at the same time the natural role of wives and mothers has always been nurturing and loving. It has taken centuries to unravel the knot that ties women to prejudiced, outworn roles that few want to play today. In the Middle Ages a martyred woman was a saint, now she simply possesses low self-esteem and puts up with abuse. Seduction and temptation lose their sinful connotation once sex becomes mutual between the two sexes and a natural response that deserves no shame or guilt. We tend to regard peace as a feminine quality. Yet conservative devout women, especially in fundamentalist denominations, often turn out to be supporters of the Iraq war and violence against abortion clinics.
It’s against this tangled web of values that the question of a woman as President or a woman as clergy exists. From the outside, it may seem a natural step for Episcopalians, traditionally the most liberal of Protestants, to allow women bishops, yet this is one of the chief causes for a bitter rift in the faith. Women priests in the Catholic church, again from the outside, seems like an innocuous reform. But to the Church’s hierarchy, it spells a tear in the fabric of tradition and male authority going back to Peter, founder of the faith. Electing a woman to be President is a progressive reform that has been a long time coming. It would strengthen the country and make our democracy more honest — as it is, women are grossly under-represented in Congress. Women in the clergy is also a much overdue reform, but one can’t equate it with politics. In conservative churches, a worldview is at stake, and in that worldview white male dominance has been the rule. Therefore, to a strict conservative, one can’t break rules simply to be fair.
I am making these points because the question of women in the clergy seems like a slam dunk; one can hardly imagine why any woman would be against it. Yet we cannot imagine why young Turkish women are fervent about bringing back the veil, or why the burqa should exist in the first place. Culture and tradition are as conflicted and entangled as human nature itself.
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Back to school this year resulted in tears – mommy tears.
For me, it began with the closet cleaning to get rid of old clothes and stock up on new ones. Each outfit we packed up brought so many memories – remember when we chose this outfit; oh, her grandmother was so happy when she gave this to her; this is what she wore on her birthday; I can’t believe she has outgrown this!
Then, there was the back to school shopping, and realizing that my younger is outgrowing her princess phase. I never thought I would miss those princesses!! And, my elder was focused on getting a backpack that could hold her books – books she is reading!
I was honestly surprised at myself – after all, my girls – 6.5 and 4 – are not even making major transitions. Same schools, same kids, just new teachers. But, this year, I really felt that they are growing up — growing up way too fast.
And, then, today – first day of school. First grade! Excitement mixed with nervousness. I watched my daughter enter school – looking at the new kindergartners feeling older, proud that she had been there, done that. But, she couldn’t hide her apprehension about going to her new class. Unsure which friends to coalesce with – just wanting, really, to hang out with mommy. Oh my little baby – I did not want to leave her!
First friend I ran into looked at me and said, “Don’t say a word.” She had dropped her eldest daughter to college last weekend. Had just broken down in the local coffee shop.
Second mom’s lip quivered when I asked how first day of preschool went. Not great – he clung to her when she left. She peaked in through the windows. Held it together, but my question made her finally break down.
Alas, mommy tears.
– Mallika Chopra, http://intent.com
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In choosing 1st term Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his VP pick, McCain and his advisors have demonstrated how thick headed they are when it comes to women. Do they honestly believe women are so stupid to vote purely for a woman? I supported Hillary because she was a smart, experienced woman who supported and has spent her life fighting for the issues I believe in, and I felt confident she would be a great American President.
Apparently, Republicans were desperate to choose a woman, not actually caring about experience or judgment, but solely focused on changing the dialogue and showing how bold they can be. Also, she is staunchly pro-life – an effort to attract the Republican conservative base. Is that going to attract the women voters who believe in their own right to choose?
The Obama/Biden ticket represents change, but also wise judgment, experience, hope and a new direction at its core. It is a choice that is the right one for America, not made just for a news headline.
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