UCC leader: Silence is not an option!
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
These words spoken by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. decades ago could not be more urgent today in the face of silence by our nation’s highest court. The Supreme Court of the United States was very intentional about their silence that resulted in Senate Bill 8 becoming the law in the State of Texas. Their silence contributes to this nation’s historic practice of denying women safety, security, freedom, and self-determination. In essence, it is violence against women. Tragically, this violence is magnified when masses of women of color and those who do not have the resources to protect themselves or even access health care no longer have control over what happens to their own bodies.
If we don’t believe that a woman’s life is threatened as she seeks reproductive health care services, we need only be reminded of numerous cases in which patients, their companions, clinic workers and doctors are targeted for harassment, intimidation, abuse and even murder. Anyone who has encountered such hostile protests can attest to the fact that they are quite the opposite of peaceful demonstrations. While women’s health clinics are most prominently the targets of these aggressive protests, we see them in other community venues such as grocery stores, retail malls, and even outside our local churches.
After all we know about violence against women, it is preposterous, in this day and age, that women are once again victimized by the highest court in our land. It is a tragedy beyond measure when the State House and the Court House collaborate and coordinate the dismantling of our constitutional, human, and civil rights – one by one.
As God said to Paul centuries ago, “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.” In the face of such travesty, as people of faith, we must mobilize, magnify, and multiply our vigilance! We are not afraid. We will keep on speaking. We will not be silent.
The Rev. Linda Jaramillo is a former officer and executive minister of Justice and Witness Ministries, United Church of Christ.
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