The fundamental rights of over half our country have just been erased.
Our neighbors will suffer, and we need to say something. This is a time in which people of faith should speak up.
But I confess, I’m too tired.
I’m tired of coming up with words that try to explain the inexplicable. I’m tired of bland, respectable phrases that calm instead of change.
And I’m exhausted by the work of offering the words, over and over, to ears that never, ever seem to hear. I am not sure what words to use.
Specifically, can you please tell me what words are appropriate when I point out that today my 25-year-old daughter officially has less freedom to make choices about her own body than I’ve had for almost my whole life?
Are there special words you use when you express the pain of another? Because there are a lot of us who will never be immediately or directly impacted by the Supreme Court’s overthrow of Roe.
But women in poverty, in underserved communities, Black and Brown women, and victims of rape and incest will be the ones trying to raise babies they can’t care for; taking unnecessary risks with their bodies; living with shame over what is basic human health care.
What’s the best phrasing for expressing what I feel about the ripples of this decision that will alter generations?
How shall I sum up for you my thoughts about my own years – decades – of sitting down, shutting up, laughing off sexist comments, taking whatever I could get? Thinking to myself, “Have patience; things are changing. You’re making way for the women coming behind you!”?
They didn’t recognize our gifts or smarts; they never were going to make a seat for us at the table, no matter how hard we worked, were they?
And tell me, what language shall I borrow to express the way I feel about the irresponsible – sinful – ways in which Christians have presented to this country and the world a skewed Christianity that is somehow just fine with pledging allegiance to a political ideology that harms our neighbors, all the while claiming to follow Jesus?
While nothing about the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe vs. Wade was a surprise, its arrival feels like a punch in the gut.
It feels that way for all the reasons I listed above. And it feels that way because the laws we make tell the world what we value, and the picture that got its finishing touches today is not pretty.
In actuality, we do not value, trust and work to empower women.
Beginning efforts toward workplace safety and pay equity, Title IV and soccer players getting the pay they deserve for their work are paltry gestures when the fundamental right of a woman to make decisions about her own body has now been taken away.
Our laws show the world what we value, and on June 24, we told the world again that we do not value women.
But Jesus did value women. “Love God and love your neighbor,” he summed it all up for us when he was here.
Make space for each other to thrive; share what you have; be as concerned about your neighbor as you are about yourself; create the kingdom of God, a new way of seeing the world in which we practice generosity.
It seems to me that if you say you’re a follower of Jesus, then you will work to raise up those who have been kept at the bottom of the ladder, not legislate them into subservience.
Our country’s highest court made a decision in direct conflict with the teachings of Jesus. Followers of Jesus everywhere should be outraged by this legal decision; its impact devalues our neighbors in direct opposition to what Jesus taught us.
I sat down today to try to find the words to help us remember that when we value women everyone wins, but I’m just so tired of trying to find the words.
Perhaps there will be a day when we won’t have to find words to defend the indefensible, where our world is a world in which women are celebrated and valued.
Today is not that day.
Founder of Invested Faith, Butler currently leads National City Christian Church as intentional interim senior minister. Prior to that, she served for five years as the seventh senior minister and first woman at the helm of The Riverside Church in the City of New York. Butler holds degrees from Baylor University, the International Baptist Theological Seminary and Wesley Theological Seminary.