Just before I went out on Friday night in Lesbos, my friend and sister feminist theologian Judith Plaskow emailed me from New York: “Right now we’re headed down to the Plaza Hotel to attend and try to disrupt a Trump luncheon!” That night, a friend asked me how I felt about Donald Trump. I threw my hands in front of my face and said: “I’m really glad I am not an American anymore.” Of course I am an American, but sometimes I don’t want to be one.
The next morning, I received an update from Judith: “We were part of a small group from Jews for Racial and Economic Justice in New York City who got inside the Trump fundraising luncheon and disrupted it. We were interviewed afterwards by CBS news, AP, Reuters, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.”
I found this on the newswires:
Later in Trump’s speech, about nine other protesters from various advocacy groups stood up to denounce his recent comments to temporarily bar Muslims from entering the U.S., protesters said. “I’m really frightened by that kind of rhetoric,” said Martha Acklesberg, 69, a member of the group Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, who along with Judith Plaskow, 68, paid to hear Trump speech and then disrupted it in protest.
Last week in this blog community, Grace Yia-Hei Kao wrote,
In such times, I find that I am at a loss of words. I feel like I can offer no critique of xenophobia (be it directed at Syrian refugees or at Muslims in general), no argument for greater gun control, or no commendation of nonviolent peacemaking initiatives over the recourse to violence to resolve conflict that has not already been offered by others.
These days I feel the same kind of inertia. I can’t believe what I am hearing. I feel like I have heard it all before. I run the cursor over articles about Trump’s speeches. I have stopped watching MSNBC because I cannot countenance the fact that even the once progressive news forum is giving him so much attention. And the American people who support Trump: I suspect members of my own family may be among them.
I am certain that Judith Plaskow and Martha Acklesberg were impelled to disrupt the Trump luncheon because they recognize that Trump could become America’s Hitler. Like many others, they have wondered why good Germans did not do more to stop Hitler. Was their action effective? Who can know the outcome of any action we take?
For Judith spirituality and politics are inseparable. Judith said this:
The idea was that after those who pushed their way in had been ejected, and the buzz had died down, we who had blended into the crowd would get up in two and threes and protest further. When our turn came, Martha and I sang, “We are a kind and welcoming people, and we are singing, singing, against hate.” When we traveled to see the places where the civil rights movement began last month, we recited the blessing for studying Torah before we visited major sites. Our group recited the same blessing before we went into the Plaza Hotel.
Judith and Martha decided not to be among the good Americans went about their daily lives and did nothing to protest. It is time for the rest of us to join them, taking action in whatever way we can. It may be important for those of us who feel powerless to reflect on the fact that Judith and Martha took the action they did as part of a group. We do not have to do this alone. We can do it together.
Carol P. Christ leads the life-transforming Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete (facebook and twitter). Her books include She Who Changes and Rebirth of the Goddess and the widely-used anthologies Womanspirit Rising and Weaving the Visions. Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology with Judith Plaskow will be released in June 2016 by Fortress Press, while A Serpentine Path: Mysteries of the Goddess will be published in the spring 2016 by FAR Press. Explore Carol’s writing. Photo of Carol by Michael Bakas.