My Favorite President: Hillary by Marie Cartier

Can I finally write about that night? Not sure. Here goes. Hillary Clinton. My heart beat. I voted for her every chance I got. Loved her passionately—the way I’ve heard folks talk about working for a candidate with their whole soul. I was so happy: she was winning. We were going to have a woman president.

            What do you want to be when you grow up?


Girls can’t be president, stupid! That’s never gonna happen.

No more. My wife and I wore our white pantsuits to the primaries. What a night! She won! The most exciting political event of my life –and that’s saying a lot for someone who first put her body down in front of a nuclear facility at fifteen. I know politics, And protests.

Continue reading “My Favorite President: Hillary by Marie Cartier”

Hillary Clinton, What Happened and What Happens Now? by Marie Cartier

“In the past, for reasons I try to explain, I’ve often felt I had to be careful in public, like I was up on a wire without a net. Now I’m letting my guard down.” —Hillary Rodham Clinton, from the introduction of What Happened

I just finished reading Secretary Hillary Clinton’s new book, What Happened. It is currently Number One on Amazon, outselling even Stephen King’s It and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale at this moment. Put another way- hardcover sales of the book are the highest for any non-fiction book in the past five years.

I’ve written several times during the past year regarding Hillary Clinton and the election of 2016. About the real meaning of “sanctity of life”—living a full life and voting for a candidate who believed in that for everyone, including women’s right to choose and also about the process of those trying to silence her/ shame her/ not listen to her and how she refused to be silenced.

Devastated after the election I wrote a post here on FAR. And months afterward, I wrote how many of us were not “over it” and were not “ready to play nice.” We, along with Secretary Clinton, are not “ready to play nice” still. And probably will not ever be. We may be willing to (as I will speak of later) lead with love and kindness—but that is different from “playing nice.”

Continue reading “Hillary Clinton, What Happened and What Happens Now? by Marie Cartier”

A Letter to Those I’ve Lost by John Erickson

Out of all of these things, the one thing that has kept coming to my mind is G-d. What is he (or she) thinking? I feel like I’m back in one of my Old Testament classes discussing the harsh and cruel G-d that thrust so many horrible things onto their believers. Maybe, the worst part about the election isn’t Donald Trump, but it is the realization that G-d may be dead after all.

Dear [Insert Name Here],

Something died on November 8, 2016, and I do not think I’ll ever be able to get it back. I sat there, walking back to my house, in disbelief and utter shock and scared about the next 4 years of my life.

For weeks leading up to the election, I had found myself praying in the copy room at my work almost daily. I would sit there, silent and alone, having just read some misleading article or alt-right post from a family member that called Hillary Clinton the devil, and wonder: when did everything go so off the rails?

Although we’ll spend years trying to figure the answer to my above question out, for me, it is a question I have been asking myself ever since election night and specifically knowing how certain members of my family would, and ultimately did, vote. Continue reading “A Letter to Those I’ve Lost by John Erickson”

First Time But *Definitely* Not the Last by Vibha Shetiya

vibpicLike many others, I too have been thinking of this election the past month or so. A lot has been said about the repercussions a Trump presidency will have on immigrants, women, the LGBTQ community, non-Whites…the list is endless. But in this post, I would like to talk about personal matters, and what it meant for a first-time voter like me to vote in the US elections. I have been living in the United States for over seventeen years, but only recently – in April this year – did I apply for citizenship.

I’ll be honest. I didn’t know much about Hillary Clinton or American politics. But the good thing that has come out of this cycle is that it has made me want to learn more about governance, elected representatives and what they are doing (or not) for the people they claim to represent. It has made me want to learn about why people hate Hillary so much. I don’t understand the refrain, “She’s a liar”; why she has been singled out for so much hatred when clearly the opposition isn’t exactly a paragon of virtue.

Despite being relatively apolitical prior to this election season, however, there was one thing I was really excited about – the fact that, for the first time in American history, a woman was running for president as a candidate of a major party, that too with a good chance of winning. Now, of course, being from India I was cautious about what this could actually mean for the ordinary American woman. After all, did Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s rise to power necessarily create a dent in the patriarchal nature of Indian culture and society? Continue reading “First Time But *Definitely* Not the Last by Vibha Shetiya”

Hate Trumps Love? by Gina Messina

Gina Messina-Dysert profileThis election cycle has left many of us in a serious state of mourning.  The idea that Donald Trump could be elected president following the many bigoted, xenophobic, and sexist statements he has made seemed impossible, and yet it has happened.  Our nation has been left divided with various reactions to our President Elect.  Likewise, I have been wondering if hell has frozen over, because for the first time ever, Glenn Beck and liberals agree.  

On the Trump side we have seen racist acts of violence across the nation.  Signs that say “white power” or “make America white again” have been showing up on church lawns, schools, and more.  And let’s not forget how many women have been told they are going to be grabbed by the pussy. If President Elect Trump can do it, why can’t they? Continue reading “Hate Trumps Love? by Gina Messina”

A Lament for My Daughter by Katey Zeh

I wrote this the morning after the Presidential Election. While there will be time for hard work, there must also be space for the sacred work of lament. This is mine. photo-1461733558461-ff6968a0ae80.jpeg

Last night I dressed you in the Hillary shirt I ordered the morning after the first Presidential debate.  As I placed you in your crib, I kissed your sweet face and turned on the noise machine to block out the celebratory cheers that I knew would be coming in a few hours. We wouldn’t want to wake you.

As you drifted off to sleep, downstairs in the kitchen your dad was cooking shells for taco salads. The champagne was chilling in the bottom of the fridge. The news was streaming, filling our home with words of “too close to call.”  I said, “Let’s mute it for now while we eat. Let’s enjoy.” I painstakingly created an “H” out of shredded cheese and snapped a picture to post on Instagram.

Last night I sported my “I voted” sticker on the collar of the white pant suit I’d proudly worn to the polls to cast my vote for the first woman President. White, the color of women’s suffrage. White, the color of supremacy and oppression, a legacy of racism that awards me and you undeserved, boundless privilege.

Through the night I watched in horror as these United States turned redder and redder. The color of rage, of blood. “Have another glass of wine, Katey. You’ll feel better.”

No, I need to feel this. Every ounce of this pain. The pain that I often choose to not see, now staring me in the face. I couldn’t look away.

I took as much as I could bear. At midnight we part ways with our guests. Take the champagne with you.

I swallowed one of the bitter yellow pills my doctor had prescribed me earlier that day when I told him I couldn’t block out the noise: the gun shots, the threats, the gleeful cheers of white supremacy and sexism and homophobia and Islamaphobia and transphobia, and the sinful silence from people like me in response to these horrors. The pill dragged me into dreamless sleep for a few short hours.

And then you woke up, singing sweet songs in your crib. Happily oblivious. Cocooned. I envied you. For the first time in your life I wished that I could pull you back inside of me and keep you there forever, the amniotic fluid muffling out the horrors of the world outside.

But instead I didn’t hide my red swollen eyes from you. I let you see my tears, even though you can’t yet understand their source. I want you to see. I won’t–can’t–shelter you from my pain, from my fear for you. For all our babies.

Today I feel my heart breaking open, wider and wider. Creating more excruciating pain, yes, but also creating exponentially more room within me for love.

Love wins. I do not know how. But love wins.

Katey Zeh, M.Div is a thought leader, strategist, and connector who inspires intentionalKatey Headshot communities 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. Her book Women Rising will be published by the FAR Press in 2017.  Find her on Twitter at @kateyzeh or on her website


My Reaction to the Election Results by Elise M. Edwards

elise-edwardsI wanted to stay in bed yesterday morning.  I wanted to stay in bed for the whole day.  When I heard that Trump won the US Presidential election, I didn’t know how to deal with it.  How can I accept this reality?  I still don’t have an adequate answer.

Turn to prayer? Yes.  Do some writing? Ok. I’ll also take every hug and kind word that’s offered to me.  And still, my emotions will be raw for a long time.  I cry at random moments.  My voice catches unexpectedly.  I feel that so many Americans embraced a vision of the country that is intensely hostile to people like me (women, African-Americans, Black Lives Matter sympathizers, liberals, intellectuals). How can I not take that personally? Dismissing the harm of Trump’s open hostility or accepting it in deference to some supposedly higher goal feels like rejection too.  It justifies and legitimizes his contempt and denies the seriousness of it.  Do we really accept a man who speaks so openly of sexual assault because he promises to bring jobs back?  That denigrates women and all assault victims. The hatred directed at immigrants, Muslims, and LGBTQA persons is even more unrestrained and horrifying!

Continue reading “My Reaction to the Election Results by Elise M. Edwards”

The Trump (Non)Contrition by Gina Messina

Gina Messina-Dysert profileRegardless of bigotry and hate spewed by the Republican candidate for President of the United States, the American Christian Right has been among his strongest supporters. Following the disturbing video of Donald Trump discussing sexually assaulting women, many Republicans have jumped from the Trump Train and openly condemned his comments.  While some supporters continue to cling to the derailing campaign, particularly Evangelicals including Vice Presidential candidate Michael Pence, one must question, what would lead them to disavow this candidate?  Many thought a Trump Contrition was coming during the October 9th debate; and it was a true repentance that would allow Christians to overlook his bad behavior.  Continue reading “The Trump (Non)Contrition by Gina Messina”

Debating a “Winning” Personality by Sara Frykenberg

Sara FrykenbergI wasn’t sure I wanted to watch the debate between presidential candidates last Tuesday. As John Erikson discussed in his post “The End is Nigh,” one could easily predict Trump’s sexism and misogyny, it was just a question of how his hatred would surface and whether or not he would tip his hat to “how truly dangerous he really is.” So, I compromised: I watched some of the debate, able to shirk part of what I felt was my responsibility to history for a more pressing responsibility, the need to put my daughter to bed. And, of course, Donald Trump delivered what his ‘brand’ promises… (poor) mis/re-direction, lies, bullying and incompetency.

Continue reading “Debating a “Winning” Personality by Sara Frykenberg”

The End is Nigh by John Erickson

How will the world end? No, it isn’t Lucifer himself coming from hell to bring in the end times, it is someone far worse, and his name is Donald Trump.

John Erickson, sports, coming out.When I was a little boy I was terrified that I would live to experience the end of the world.  Whether it was by an asteroid, Y2K, or a zombie plague, I would make myself sick by picturing these horrible things that could befall me and my family.  Although I was a precocious child, the crippling fear that would lurch its way up my stomach and into my head would sometimes make it impossible to sleep at night.  While I like to think I grew out of that phase, I now sit here feeling that way again.  I’m crippled with fear that the end of the world is at hand and there may be nothing we can do to stop it.   How will the world end? No, it isn’t Lucifer himself coming from hell to bring in the end times, it is someone far worse, and his name is Donald Trump.

By the time you’re reading this post, the first Presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will have occurred and, no matter where you look, the aftermath will haunt us for weeks to come.  We will either be sitting here, coaxing in the sunlight that Clinton has, in proper fashion, just goaded Trump into revealing to the 100 or so million viewers that will have chimed in to viewing how completely dangerous he truly is, or will we be scurrying to uncover decade old bunkers that were used during the 1950s and the Cold War to take shelter from the fallout to come should, Donald Trump become the next President of the United States. Continue reading “The End is Nigh by John Erickson”

Voting for Hillary & the Real Meaning of Sanctity of Life by Marie Cartier

I just don’t trust Hillary,” a friend said. “Give me one good reason why I should vote for her—other than that, you know, she’s a woman—since I know you teach Women’s Studies.

OK. Here goes.

hillary-and-gunsI recently got a request for support from Gabby Giffords, who was shot on January 8, 2011. This U.S. Representative and eighteen others were shot during a constituent meeting held in a supermarket parking lot in Casas Adobes, Arizona, in the Tucson metropolitan area. Six people died, including federal District Court Chief Judge John Roll; Gabe Zimmerman, one of Rep. Giffords’ staffers; and a nine-year-old girl, Christina-Taylor Green. Giffords was holding the meeting, called “Congress on Your Corner” in the parking lot of a Safeway store when Jared Lee Loughner drew a pistol and shot her in the head before proceeding to fire on other people.

In her recent request for support, Rep. Giffords pondered why she didn’t die and six others had.  There is no answer—save for that, if there is God’s hand in this, she is the one who went on to fight against the all-powerful Gun Lobby who, for years on end continue to use big money to influence Congress.

On November 8th, we, the American people, will decide, for better or worse who is the next leader of the most powerful country in the free world. An important question to ask ourselves as we consider the candidates is: What does it mean to believe in the sanctity of life? Continue reading “Voting for Hillary & the Real Meaning of Sanctity of Life by Marie Cartier”

Politics and Mythology by Sara Frykenberg

Some part of us buys into some part of our common mythology; hence, the importance of recognizing and interrogating the stories in which we (often unconsciously) participate.

Sara FrykenbergThis semester I am teaching Myth, Religion and Culture, which is by far one of my favorite courses to teach. On the first day of class, I usually ask my students what they think is the purpose and importance of myth. I receive a wide variety of answers ranging from myth being rather unimportant or only important historically, to myth being necessary for teaching lessons (particularly to children) or even critical as a foundation for society and communication. I then, over the next several weeks, introduce students to many theories of mythology and its significance: Continue reading “Politics and Mythology by Sara Frykenberg”

Dear Gloria: The Feminist Candidate I Can Believe In Must Be Unbossed and Unbought by Carol P. Christ

Carol Molivos by Andrea Sarris 2In the past week, founder of Ms. Magazine Gloria Steinem, whom I have always greatly admired, stated that young women are supporting Bernie Sanders because his campaign is where the boys are. She has since recanted the comment, but I suspect she still believes that feminists ought to be supporting Hillary. I have written Gloria an open letter.

Dear Gloria,

Like you, I am no longer a young woman. Like you, I am a lifelong feminist activist. But, unlike you, I am not supporting Hillary Clinton. I am supporting Bernie Sanders because of–not in spite of–my feminist principles. I came into the feminist movement through the antiwar, antipoverty, and civil rights movements. My feminism cannot be reduced to the single issue of women’s rights. I believe that feminism can and must be intersectional and inclusive of issues of class and race. For me it must also include an analysis of the relationship between patriarchy and war, which I have discussed in a series of blogs on Feminism and Religion that I hope you will read.

I believe the future of the United States (and the world) requires us to dismantle the system in which the 1% owns more of the world’s resources than the rest of us combined. As you and I both know, poor women of color are at the bottom of this system, both in the United States and worldwide. As you and I both know, there are reasons to seriously doubt if democracy can function in a political system in which the 1% can buy candidates and fund voter suppression. Continue reading “Dear Gloria: The Feminist Candidate I Can Believe In Must Be Unbossed and Unbought by Carol P. Christ”

Michele Bachman is a Woman: Using the Gender Card in Iowa By John Erickson

I have been flirting with the idea of writing a blog post about Michele Bachmann for a while.  When this post goes live, Republicans in Iowa will fire the long awaited starting pistol of the 2012 Republican Presidential Nomination Race.  Among the citizens of Iowa and the Presidential hopefuls, one individual, Representative Bachmann, is hoping and more importantly in her case, praying for a miracle.

In the recent weeks, some frontrunners have surfaced: Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts Governor and if I dare say, devout Mormon, Ron Paul, a United States Congressman from Texas’ 14th District, and Rick Santorum, a former United States Senator from Pennsylvania and fervent Catholic.  However, although the troupe is the typical political line up (all white, privileged, religious, heterosexual family men), Michele Bachmann is hoping to capitalize on the major factor that sets her a part from the pack: her gender.

Continue reading “Michele Bachman is a Woman: Using the Gender Card in Iowa By John Erickson”

Running for the President of the American Academy of Religion By Kwok Pui Lan

Dr. Kwok Pui-Lan is an internationally recognized scholar and pioneer in Asian feminist and postcolonial theology. She teaches at the Episcopal Divinity School and is the 2011 president of the American Academy of Religion. Dr. Kwok has published extensively and is the co-editor of two volumes Off the Menu: Asian and Asian North American Women’s Religion and Theology (Westminster) and Empire and the Christian Tradition: New Readings of Classical Theologians (Fortress). Her other publications include Postcolonial Imagination and Feminist Theology (Westminster), Discovering the Bible in the Non-Biblical World (Orbis), and Introducing Asian Feminist Theology (Pilgrim).

“Pui Lan, would you be willing to run for the Vice-President of AAR?” the chair of the Nominations Committee of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) called and asked me back in April 2008.

The AAR, with 10,000 members, is the world’s largest professional organization of scholars in religion. The majority of its members are from the U.S., but approximately 17 percent are international scholars from over 70 countries.

It was a great honor to have been nominated—for the Vice-President would be in line to become the President in 2011. The problem was that there would be an election and I would have to compete with another candidate, who happened to be a professor at Harvard University.

I thought, “If I win, that’s good. But what happens if I lose?”  Continue reading “Running for the President of the American Academy of Religion By Kwok Pui Lan”

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantsuits By Gina Messina-Dysert

Last week Cynthia Garrity-Bond shared a post about Michele Bachmann and the misuse of the word feminism to describe her.  Commenter Kate Barker noted that Bachmann does not self-identify as a feminist, a very important point I think.  It led me to wonder whether there are any women in politics who self-identify as feminist, and while there may certainly be some or even many, I cannot think of any who do so publicly.

During the Democratic National Convention in 2008, Hillary Clinton spoke of working towards women’s rights around the world, putting 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, and being a member of the “sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits,” but did not directly identify herself as a feminist.  I found Clinton’s membership to this “sisterhood” an interesting method of feminist self-identifying without employing the label.

It seems to me, to call oneself a “feminist” in the world of politics today would be to commit career suicide.  This term has joined the likes of “communist” or “socialist” and is utilized to create fear.  “Feminism” has become the new “F-word” and to self-identify as such, in politics, in religion, and in other spheres, often leads to marginalization. Continue reading “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantsuits By Gina Messina-Dysert”

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