The Love that Divides Us

There are things we love, and loves we express as women and as human beings.  Love of our community, our culture, or god(s)... and at times, those loves end up dividing us.

I've seen people in churches I wonder why they go to, why someone who is divorced, or who is gay, or who is pro-choice would choose to attend, for example, a Roman Catholic Church.   But then I see that not leaving brings change to the church, that the church, on local levels at least, become more inclusive by the presence of those they would consider in a state of sin.

And I think this is something we've all seen in churches, and perhaps in other communities as well, and we accept it because no matter what is wrong in the institution, the group of individuals, the community, has some influence, and gains some good of being with each other.

What is important to us often drives us apart these days.  It's the danger of being "woke", that we are more aware of every horrendously wrong belief held by our neighbors.  Beliefs we are right to condemn... have a responsibility to condemn, but don't recognize that they are as sure of their beliefs as we are of ours.That's not to say there is no absolute rights and wrongs in many these situations.

In Uniterian Univeralism, the very first of the seven core principles is "the inherent worth and dignity of every person".  It's an idea that I think we need to apply everywhere if we're going to move forward.  Because as wrong as I believe someone is for believing that a woman shouldn't have a right to abort a pregnancy, I also need to acknowledge two things:  1) that this person isn't inherently evil for believing this, but doesn't yet have the experience or knowledge to choose differently and 2) this person may have other stronger beliefs that are more supportive of other's rights, like acknowledging trans women are women, or support for the Black Lives Matters movement, that they are not entirely without virtue.

If we could be in community or friendship with only those who believed everything exactly as we do, we would be pretty lonely individuals.  And that separation, that belief that we can't march together with someone who has a harmful belief of some sort, weakens us, because we will be divided ultimately each having to stand alone.

That's NOT to say that we shouldn't support an environment that is intersectional and inclusive.  It is to say, however, that on individual levels, not everyone is woke to every group's plight, or willing to open their hearts to every cause.  Instead, we need to listen to the voices of different people and take in what is of value, and reject any messages of hate or exclusivity.

I've struggled a lot with the Women's March.  I struggle with the voices saying "I'm not welcome because I'm Black" and "I'm not welcome because I'm Trans" and "I'm not welcome because I'm Jewish".  It bothers me, because as a white cis woman while I don't experience that, I believe those voices... and what I want is for everyone to feel welcome, because we are all women, and we're all in this together, no matter what our other beliefs are.  So ultimately my question is, do I NOT go to the march as a protest over lack of intersectionality?

To me, every woman who chooses not to march instead of making the march their voice is weakening the cause of all women.  Both the liberal left who is concerned about a pure message (as if there is such a thing when we are talking about human beings) and the conservative right (who plays on our concerns and tries to widen our differences rather than point up our commonalities) are whittling away at the power of our sisterhood:  That while we may not agree on some things, and while some may be absolutely wrong and need more education and waking, that we are all in this together, fighting a patriarchy that has made womanhood a lesser state, a subservient state of being.

In a society that, as a whole,  devalues women, I believe that women, as a whole, need to rise up and demand equal worth.  That's the umbrella problem, the starting point in all this. 

At the same time, we need to recognize that every human rights problem intersects with women, because, after all, women are humans.  That we as women need to empower ourselves as women in order to bring about the changes we value in society. It isn't enough for us to march once a year in pink pussy cat hats.  We need to be marching in support of LGBTQ rights.  We need to be marching with Black Lives Matter.  We need to be marching with any group that is supporting social justice, because we need to be an equally driving force in our society, not always walking behind the men, but alongside them, and, at times, leading.

We don't get that staying home.

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