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Carroll County Times Opinion

All people deserve to have love and respect [Letter]

We associate February with love, and I quote Dr. Cornel West, who said "Justice is what love looks like in public."

I would like religious leaders to demonstrate love for women by not inserting their dogma into social policies concerning a woman's reproductive choices. Paul Kivel, in "Living in the Shadow of the Cross," wrote, "Church dogma is so embedded in our social policies that we do not recognize it for what it is."

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Recently Pope Francis said "Catholics should not breed like rabbits," meaning abstinence is the only way. Abstinence is a dismal failure as a birth control method. How many Catholics really use this method? Billy Graham ministries also promoted abstinence and not the use of condoms to prevent the spread of the AIDS epidemic in Africa. They knew condoms were cheap and effective, but their religious agenda got in the way, and that policy borders on an act of genocide. Religious leaders who continue to advocate an ineffective method of birth control are out of step with reality and counter-intuitive to human nature. Women will be responsible for enforcing abstinence. This is not justice, but meant to control sex lives and reproductive rights of women.

According to Church dogma, a woman was protected only if she was obedient to her husband's wishes. See how the Church built this into their dogma in "The Dark Side of Christian History," by H. Ellerbe. This interpretation of Church dogma justifies continued regulation of women's lives and removes their rights concerning their own bodies. This dogma seems to sanctify the use of violence to keep non-compliant women in line.

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If the Church is not willing to give complete respect to women, then why should men believe women deserve respect for their rights? This gives credence to the idea that violence is justified to obtain compliance. Some men have long felt entitled to coerce by threats, to beat, to drug, to rape women who aren't obedient. Until recently, few seriously questioned the idea of how demeaning and dangerous it is to support the concept of submissive women and girls in society.

Standing on the Side of Love is a social justice advocacy campaign initiated by the Unitarian Universalists. Their motto is "We stand with all who believe that no person should be dehumanized through acts of exclusion, oppression or violence … grounded in the belief that all people deserve love and respect."

Nan Nelson

Westminster


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