The current Presidential campaign in the United States is troublesome to say the least. The coded if not explicit racial references makes one wonder if there ever was a Civil Rights movement. Half-truths are passed off as bold speech depicting courage. Mocking peoples looks is now fashionable. Politics based on expediency is seen as leadership. Compromise is weakness and dialogue with others is rejected as foolish. But nothing is more disturbing than the rhetoric concerning women and the decisions they make.
The accusation that a man’s misbehavior or sexual irresponsibility is “the woman’s fault” cannot be ignored in the present climate. If a woman forgives and attempts to normalize her family situation she is labeled an “enabler.” If she defends herself, she is judged to be “mean-spirited.” If she ignores the issue, she is said to have no self-respect. In other words, women are at fault whenever a man is unfaithful, expedient, self-righteous, or arrogant. The way we speak to and about women is a serious justice issue demanding a response from the religious and Interfaith communities.
Since over fifty-percent of women in the World suffer some form of injustice, abuse, mutilation, or neglect, we cannot remain silent. The language and imagery of the current Presidential campaign concerning women is not humorous from any point of view. The faith communities must not view this issue as dabbling into politics. Those who endanger women’s well-being and dignity by demeaning them for political advantage must not be allowed to hide behind the so-called doctrine of the separation of Church and State. The issue is ethical in nature and demands a strong moral response. We cannot allow the rhetoric of the powerful to endanger the lives of women.
The Interfaith Peace Project, while it endorses no political candidate, is proud to stand with all women who claim their dignity, find their voice, and speak up for what is just. We stand in service with all women who continue to suffer from inhumane treatment. We demand that women be spoken to and about as full human beings who are not defined by the virtues or failures of others. Each and every woman has a right to her well-being. We reject any political or theologically motivated viewpoint or strategy that would compromise the right of each and every woman to live in the security and dignity of her own person.
Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P., Executive Director
Rev. Andrea J. Goodman, President and Sacred Visits
June Kirk, Director of the Interfaith Center
Pat Black, Finance and Interfaith Outreach
Lonnie Bristow, M.D., Peace Pole Project
Rev. Patrick Davis, Interfaith Prayer and Development