I was home watching the live stream of those gathered in front of the Supreme Court building to show their opposition to this law that has prevented so many women from accessing the abortion services they need. The speakers, many of them leaders in reproductive justice organizations, powerfully called out the many ways that this unjust law has targeted women of color, immigrant women, and poor women.
During one of the speeches, those gathered in support of this law began singing “Spirit of the Living God.” It was audible over even the most powerful voices speaking out against it. I began to get irritated. But as the song continued, I got angry–and then I got inspired.
We need a reproductive justice choir. We need to sing out with our voices for faith, justice, love, and compassion. Those who stand against us need to hear our songs.
Those who seek to limit any woman’s ability to make decisions about her life, body, and family do not possess a monopoly on religion, morality, or theology. They may sing hymns and quote scripture and talk about what is sacred, but I get to do the same. I will not have my faith silenced by those within my own religious tradition who disagree with me. And I will not secularize my commitment to reproductive freedom when those who do agree with me politically cannot or choose not to understand me theologically.
I’m grateful for the presence and leadership of Rev. Dr. Debra Haffner of the Religious Institute who led the group gathered to oppose the harmful Texas law in a powerful prayer. As she prayed, she was surrounded by faith leaders from the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, the National Council for Jewish Women, the Methodist Federation for Social Action, and other religious groups who stood to show their solidarity with the women of Texas and all women who need access to safe, affordable, accessible abortion care. And they did so because of their faith, not in spite of it.
On Saturday I attended a conference at my local church. The first song we sang together was “Spirit of the Living God.” I felt tears in my eyes as I sang out with the voices gathered there, reclaiming that hymn as my own. God has formed me with a heart and a passion for reproductive freedom, and I am striving to live more fully into that call each and every day.
Our movement needs a choir. We need to sing out in our own voices for justice, love, and compassion. We need to claim our religious traditions, sacraments, and rituals as our own. They do not belong solely to those with whom we disagree. They belong to all of us.
Katey Zeh, M.Div is a strategist, writer, and educator who inspires intentionalcommunities to create a more just, compassionate world through building connection, sacred truth telling, and striving for the common good. She has written for outlets including Huffington Post, Sojourners, Religion Dispatches, Response magazine, the Good Mother Project, the Journal for Feminist Studies in Religion, and the United Methodist News Service. Find her on Twitter at @ktzeh or on her website www.kateyzeh.com.