Heeding the Alarm
Why do you brag of evil, “Big Man”? God’s mercy carries the day. – Psalm 52:1-2 (MSG)
I was half-way through watching a Netflix mini-series called Intimacy when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The series is based on three different women in one community who are victims of what is referred to as “revenge porn”—when intimate, private photos and videos are released by their former partners. Their freedom to express joy and passion, weaponized. Their decision to trust and let go, thrown back in their face like a tsunami. Wiping away all sense of agency. Nothing but shame, despair and fear left in its wake. One woman ultimately died by suicide. Because of this, others joined together—and by the last episode—exposed the violent, hateful assaults on these women and demanded their perpetrators be brought to justice.
I am not suggesting it is a must-see. I share this because I find the timing ironic, as if the universe is conspiring to sound the alarm: Pay attention! This is not new! Women have the right to choose what they do with their bodies! Lives are at risk here! “Why do you brag of evil, ‘big man’?”
In a webinar on medical apartheid in the African American community, I was reminded of the forced sterilization of women in Puerto Rico beginning in the 1930s. By 1956, one out of three Puerto Rican women were sterilized. The colonization wrapped in misogyny continues today in various forms of violence.
The universe is sounding the alarm. Can you hear it?
I believe the psalmist, Rev. Alicia Crosby, heard the alarm when she wrote in The Words of Her Mouth:
“Blessed is the Ancient of Days who has revealed that your disdain for and abuse of others are rooted in the depth of your insecurities. Like Legion they are many, because it’s hard to be confident when everything you’ve received has been ill-gained.
“Blessed are the ancestors who abide with me, who testify across time that the goodness of God challenges evil. They remind me that what is at present will not always be.”
Blessed are you, Holy Spirit, uprooting hidden truths and filling us with your power to build your beloved community. Amen.
Marilyn Pagán-Banks (she/her/ella) is a queer womanist freedom fighter gratefully (though not always gracefully) serving as executive director of A Just Harvest, Senior Pastor at San Lucas UCC, and adjunct professor at McCormick Theological Seminary. She is a joyful contributor to The Words of Her Mouth.