ESCORT SERVICE by Esther Nelson

These days, I spend most of my time in Roanoke, Virginia.  I moved here—a three-hour drive west—from Richmond, Virginia.  One of the ways I’m settling into my new community is by volunteering as an escort at Planned Parenthood.

The job is straight-forward:  Greet people as they exit their vehicle when they arrive at the medical facility’s parking lot.  Usually, there are several protestors in front of the building, and clients must drive past them before turning right into the driveway.  Protestors wave pink, plastic bags filled with anti-abortion literature as well as pamphlets that outline a specific, Christian view of “salvation.”  Not many drivers stop.  If they do, I walk over to the line that divides Planned Parenthood property from public space and wave the cars forward.  The drivers are grateful.  So many clients are nervous, upset, and unsure of protocol.  One woman asked me if I was associated with “those people out there,” pointing to the protestors.  “Not at all,” I assured her.  She smiled with relief.

Continue reading “ESCORT SERVICE by Esther Nelson”

Pride Season 2023 by Marie Cartier

Here you come again

            Twenty-three states banning drag, 100 bills being considered

Just when I’m about to make it work without you

F*** you GOP

You look into my eyes and lie those pretty lies

Abortion is settled law

Gay marriage is settled law

Continue reading “Pride Season 2023 by Marie Cartier”

photo essay, part 2: bans off our bodies rally by Marie Cartier

photos from bans off our bodies rally, long beach ca may 14, 2022

all photos by: marie cartier

BIO: Marie Cartier is a teacher, poet, writer, healer, artist, and scholar. She holds a BA in Communications from the University of New Hampshire; an MA in English/Poetry from Colorado State University; an MFA in Theatre Arts (Playwriting) from UCLA; an MFA in Film and TV (Screenwriting) from UCLA; an MFA in Visual Art (Painting/Sculpture) from Claremont Graduate University; and a Ph.D. in Religion with an emphasis on Women and Religion from Claremont Graduate University.

Moderator’s note: This is the 2nd of the two part series. Part 1 was posted yesterday.

Continue reading “photo essay, part 2: bans off our bodies rally by Marie Cartier”

Mission, Not Glory: A Dialogue by Marie Cartier

Well, he didn’t do it for the glory, that’s for sure.

Maybe he did?

He’s gone. When you immolate –you’re gone. What glory is there in that?

Well, the reason he did it—as I understand it—is because the world is burning up anyway. He made a statement.

Exactly- a single statement. So, who’s getting the glory?

I mean we don’t know the entire impact it has. He took his life for God’s sake. On the Supreme Court steps. April 22, 2022. It means something. He knew he would be immortalized.

But, what difference does it make if he’s gone? I think it was a waste. I wish he would have run for –anything. School Board! Someone that committed should have stuck around and tried to do something.

He did do something. It’s just…he made the ultimate sacrifice.

I’m sorry. He killed himself. And so…we’re left here without him. Without someone who was that committed as an activist.

The world is burning up. We won’t last another thirty years. So good for him for taking a stand. He was a Buddhist monk, right? Good for him.

He was a hippie from Boulder, Colorado. Wynn Alan Bruce.

Well, here’s a hero now. And I bet he’s a hero to Buddhist monks, too. Wynn Alan Bruce? He was a climate activist, not just a hippie. I mean, I’ll give you that he may never be well-known. But he’s known. Just not well- known.

Continue reading “Mission, Not Glory: A Dialogue by Marie Cartier”

The Race-ing of Innocence: Calling All Feminists to Converse by Marcia Mount Shoop

mms headshot 2015Well over 100,000 people and counting have read a blog post called “Nothing But the Truth: A Word to White America After the Recent Unpleasantness in Washington DC” that I wrote. Going on 400 commenters have weighed in on my website.  I have not been able to keep up with replying to all the comments, but I have read them all. And a few cluster around the topic of childhood innocence and the role of adults in nurturing/protecting/informing children around the realities of things like racism, sexism, and the ugly layers of American history.

This exploration of the nature of childhood and our culture’s role in nurturing what we value about childhood calls out for feminist reflection.  So, I put this out to the FAR community of conversation for discussion.

Some of the comments that interest me the most are those who gave the young men from Covington Catholic a pass because they are “just kids.” And they felt media and others were being too hard on them to expect them to understand what was going on in front of the Lincoln Memorial when competing narratives about our country converged.

Continue reading “The Race-ing of Innocence: Calling All Feminists to Converse by Marcia Mount Shoop”

Kneeling as Protest by Anjeanette LeBoeuf

In a previous FAR post, I talked about the newest trend in sports of including women in marketing strategies for American football. Today I have decided to throw my hat into the ring regarding the recent polarizing “Kneeling” protest taking place at NFL games. I started writing this on the morning that the current Vice President walked out of a NFL game due to players ‘taking the knee’ during the National Anthem; a protest which has been reported to cost TAXPAYERS $200,000. Weeks have gone by with the issue getting bigger and bigger. I can no longer stay silent.

This protest started when NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the National Anthem in August of 2016. He stated he was taking a knee to stand for people that were being oppressed. It has since exploded as a social movement/protest.

It has become a highly sensitive and polemic topic. And it is polarizing bcause the two groups which are opposing each other are actually, talking about two different things. The group that supports the kneeling protests understand that this ‘peaceful, and respectful’ act during the National Anthem is an important way they can voice their solidarity, take a stance, and bring awareness to the violence and injustices that minority groups face, especially African Americans. The group that radically opposes this protest only see it as a disrespecting act of our country, our flag, our troops, and their faith. Thus, the arguments and pseudo-discussions are not getting anywhere. Continue reading “Kneeling as Protest by Anjeanette LeBoeuf”

You Can’t Debate Mutuality by Sara Frykenberg

I use words like “mutuality,” “listening,” and “love,” here as I discuss my understanding of feminist justice-making and eschew debate…I want to make it abundantly clear: I see these as powerful, often forceful and even angry tools. We listen to what oppressors say so that they cannot deceive with their “alternative facts.” We love forcefully…We counter violence—we do not debate it—with anger, humor, creativity and power, in order to redirect its energies into more mutual possibilities.

Sara FrykenbergParticipating in the Women’s March on Jan. 21st in Los Angeles fed my soul deeply. I didn’t realize how much I needed to protest in this way, how stuck I had been in grief and despair after the election, and the way that coming together as a community would help me to mourn. There’s nothing quite like standing together with hundreds of thousands of people who also care deeply with hope, humor, and real power. Marching helped me to find the energy to fight back. It refilled a reservoir, so depleted in 2016, much as the badly needed winter rain in my home state of California has helped to abate the severe drought. Continue reading “You Can’t Debate Mutuality by Sara Frykenberg”

Violent and Non-Violent Protest by Sara Frykenberg

Sara FrykenbergFor those of you who have read my blogs before, you may have gathered that my approach to justice-making is not entirely non-violent. Researching and writing about the movement away from abusive community paradigms in my dissertation, I argue that we need to care for the kind of refractory violence or counter-violence that arises in our movements away from abuse.

The idea here is not that violence should be a goal, or even that violence is “good”—but rather, that we are in (close) relationship to violence of all kinds. All violence, as I define the term, is destructive in some way; but as many religions of the world remind us, destruction, like creation, is an important part of life. Not all violence is “bad.”

Continue reading “Violent and Non-Violent Protest by Sara Frykenberg”

Pussy Riot: Guilty of Crimes of Blasphemy or Being Feminists? By Michele Stopera Freyhauf

In a country that was willing to [sic] its secular court on a “religious” cause, Pussy Riot are true revolutionaries. Nonetheless, it was not until they delivered these closing statements that their supporters—and opponents—heard what these three brave women stand for. Although they are being crushed in the jaws of the system—and know it!—their courage and steadfast sincerity are sufficient cause for (impossible) hope. If not for the Russian state, then at least for the Russian people. —Bela Shayevich

“When religion puts people in jail it’s unjust” – David Gross 

The intermix of religion and politics are familiar, especially after this year’s presidential election.  Many supported Mitt Romney out of concern for religious freedom; a stance that had the potential to marry religion and politics in a dysfunctional union.  We also witnessed a veiled attempt by the Catholic Church to emphasize and sway the faithful to vote for the one true moral candidate; a stance contradicted by Obama’s ability to carry the Catholic vote.  I believe what we see in Russia is a shining example that shows what happens when regulations and laws do not segregate between secular law and church law.  Freedoms do not exist, rather, rules and restrictions are imposed creating an institutional prison.

The prosecution of an all girl punk band named Pussy Riot [i]  demonstrates a “complete fusion of the institutions of the state and church,” which devalues “women’s rights and freedom of speech.”Members of Pussy Riot are serving a two year sentence of hard labor for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.”  What was their crime?  They went into a Cathedral in Moscow and started singing a punk prayer – “Mother of God, Chase Putin Out!”

(The translated lyrics)

From The
Frm the

Virgin birth-giver of God, drive away Putin!

Drive away Putin, drive away Putin!

Black frock, golden epaulettes

Parishioners crawl bowing [toward the priest, during the Eucharist]

Freedom’s ghost [has gone to] heaven

A gay-pride parade [has been] sent to Siberia in shackles

Their chief saint is the head of the KGB

He leads a convoy of protestors to jail

So as not to insult the Holiest One

Woman should bear children and love

Shit, shit, the Lord’s shit!

Shit, shit, the Lord’s shit!

Virgin birth-giver of God, become a feminist!


Become a feminist, become a feminist!

The Church praises rotten leaders

The march of the cross consists of black limousines

A preacher is on his way to your school

Go to class and give him money!

Patriarch Gundyay believes in Putin

Would be better, the bastard, if he believed in God!

The Virgin’s belt won’t replace political gatherings

The eternal Virgin Mary is with us in our protests!

Virgin birth-Giver of God, drive away Putin!

Drive away Putin, drive away Putin!

Original Video:

Finished Video (music added):

They danced, kneeled, and crossed themselves in front of the Church’s high altar.   This occurred the day before the re-election of Vladimir Putin.  While I do not support going into a sacred space with relics to make a protest, what I find problematic is their harsh sentence.  However, it should be noted that with the coverage of the trial and the outpouring of support received from many organizations, and musicians, they did manage to bring to the forefront issues surrounding the government and the Church.

Continue reading “Pussy Riot: Guilty of Crimes of Blasphemy or Being Feminists? By Michele Stopera Freyhauf”

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