Second Stories: Christians and Reproductive Justice

I’ve decided to take up a series in which I’ll be presenting links to things that Christians and other Abrahamic monotheists do that prove to pagans that they’re NOT ALL RAVING LUNATICS BENT ON WORLD DOMINATION AND THE OPPRESSION OF OTHERS.

This is in order to provide another point of view on Christianity (both historically and today) for pagans to ponder, in order that we may avoid the danger of a single story. Let me unpack a little…

You see, I’m disappointed in Neopagans. That’s because, for all the hot air that’s blown around about us all being the most diverse, the most accepting, the most loving community, we sure do sling a lot of shit at other people, especially at Christians. Now, yes — YES! — there are legitimate criticisms to be leveled at Christians of all stripes, surely. But what is illegitimate — and what I see so often from pagans — is when folks make blanket statements about Christianity that ignore the variety and diversity of Christians today. Things like, “All Christians hate gay people,” or “all Christians are pro-lifers,” or “Christians don’t do anything to make up for atrocities committed by churches in the past.”And what is worse is when pagans make these claims and then avoid actual engagement with Christians in a way that is productive rather than destructive (though usually there’s no engagement at all!)

Well, there are gay Christians and Christian allies. Whole churches of ’em. There are pro-choice, pro-women Christians and Christian organizations. And there are Christian groups working today towards making amends with those who have suffered — and who are suffering — at the hands of Christians. But it seems that the culture of anti-Christian rhetoric in paganism ignores these individuals and these groups, and their significance in the makeup of global Christianity.

I’ve seen pagans accuse all Christians of holding certain theological tenants that are not representative of the majority, or even a large minority, of Christians. I’ve seen pagans go on and on about Christian history in  ways that are duplicitous or contradictory, or flatly false (“The Romans were tolerant of the early Christians!”). I’ve even seen pagans claim that Christians who challenge their myopic definitions of Christianity are “not really Christians” or are “equivocating” regarding what “real Christians do” and what they “have to believe.”

AND SO, in order to undermine false understandings of the breadth and depth of Christian experiences, and to work against the rising tide of anti-Christian bigotry among pagans, I’m going to start occasionally updating with collections of links to projects and organizations created by Christians (and other Abrahamic monotheists) that provide Second Stories. Second Stories are second points of view, second ways of looking at Christianity and monotheistic traditions that shed light on the presence of inclusive practices, affirming theology, and justice-oriented work being done.

((ADDENDUM: See this post from Witch, Please! Link now working.))

To start, I’d just like to point out some of the Christian organizations, or organizations including a large number of Christians, that are pro-choice and working towards the health of and reproductive justice for women. I’ll be updating this list as I have more time and find more examples. Feel free to add more links in the comments.

Pro-Choice Christians Are Everywhere.”

The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

Check out this pdf from the Planned Parenthood of New York City Religious Leaders Task Force.

Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Justice.

Abortion Ban Degrades and Devalues Women.” — From a Rabbi’s perspective: “This law as it has been enacted unquestionably diminishes the inviolable status and worth that ought to be granted women as moral agents created in the image of God. Regardless of the outcomes of the challenges to this law in the courts, the parameters of our public debate regarding abortion ought to be reestablished.”

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About John Harness
John Harness is an artist and educator in Chicago. He is a member of Socialist Alternative and the Klingon Language Institute. He writes about political activism and roleplaying games.

4 Responses to Second Stories: Christians and Reproductive Justice

  1. Hystery says:

    I appreciate this. I grew up in a pro-choice, pro-gay rights, feminist Christian household. I spent many hours listening to my father and his friends ( clergymen) speak passionately about human rights and social justice. I attended a seminary that advocated strong feminist approaches to theology. I also served on the board of an interfaith peace group that consisted largely of feminist Christian clergywomen, and I now worship and converse with Christian Quakers who inspire me with their dedication to peace and equality and serve in a community interfaith group full of Christians of great kindness and concern for our community’s most vulnerable residents. In addition to this, I study the history of Christian human rights activism for peace and social justice. I therefore find it unsettling to encounter so much prejudice against Christians among other Neopagans. It frustrates me when my experiences of Christians are dismissed as “unusual”. Of course I have my own arguments with the various Christians I meet, but since even the most conservative of them have hardly been the monsters I’ve sometimes described by a few Neopagans, and since most of the Christians I’ve known in my life have in fact been allies of oppressed people, it sure doesn’t feel to me like my experience is “unusual.”

  2. Kate says:

    Thanks for the link love, though it looks like it might be a bit scrambled. I think you’re referring to this post: http://witchplease.blogspot.com/2011/02/what-ive-given-up.html

    I like how you framed this in terms of “second stories”. I’ve had many a conversation with Christian friends in which someone has had to point out “they don’t speak for me!” The groups with the megaphones and megamillions aren’t representative of the whole. At least no more than our bathrobe-clad brethren speak for all of Paganism. 😉

    Thought-provoking post. Thank you.

    • cartweel says:

      Did you watch the TED Talk that I linked to? That speech has really stuck with me, and it’s what inspired the “Second Stories” approach.

      Thanks for pointing out that the link didn’t work, it’s fixed now!

  3. Pingback: Second Stories: Genesis «

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