Walking Together: Love, Justice, Action
Interfaith Celebration Honoring the 40th Anniversary of Roe v Wade
and the Founding of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
First Congregational United Church of Christ 21 January 2013
Dear Rev. Knox, Dr. Smith-Withers and Fellow Sojourners in the Quest for Justice:
It is with sincere gratitude and a deep respect for the work of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, as well as admiration for the courage and conviction of First Congregational United Church of Christ in hosting this celebration, that we write today.
We celebrate with you and our brothers and sisters gathered from many faith traditions, the election and inauguration of President Barak Obama. We acknowledge the heavy mantle for justice he carries on so many fronts, and with you we pray for him, offer encouragement and pledge our support to his efforts to make justice for women and girls flow like a mighty stream in this nation.
Forty years ago, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice heard a cry in the wilderness, as so many prophetic voices have, and took up the sacred task of leveling the playing field and making a way where there was none for women of all ages, races, ethnicities, educational attainment and socio-economic standing, seeking to exercise their God-given dignity and equality in matters of reproductive health and health care.
Though there have been many obstacles along the way, you and the communities you have organized have remained steadfast in this quest.
Today, we not only honor your work and that of all those who have paved the way before you; we not only lift up the memory of those whose lives have been lost as providers and those whose lives have been sacrificed to lack of services, but we join you in calling on the political leadership of our nation, asking that they join forces with the majority of Americans todays who believe that ~
Healthful and affordable care options are a human right
Women are full and capable moral agents, able to make informed choices for their own and their families’ wellbeing
Race, ethnicity, economic situation, and level of formal education should not deter equal access to equal care options
We stand with you in affirming that justice demands access to affordable health care and birth control, access to adequate and unbiased information, and the option to choose safe abortive procedures.
As the European Court of Human Rights recently affirmed, and we pray today our Supreme Court will conclude, freedom of religion does not mean freedom to impose the views or convictions of a particular constituency on the community at large. Freedom of religion is an individual right, not a communal imperative.
We believe with all our hearts that we are all the beloved and valued Children of God,
each endowed with the gift of sexuality and the moral capacity and human right to
express that sexuality in loving and creative ways.
We preach a Gospel that compels us to proclaim Good News to the poor and liberation to those held captive in body, mind or spirit.
This 40th Anniversary Celebration reminds us that all over the world today there are women and girls who are still forced to relinquish control of their lives and bodies to others holding authority over them.
We join you today in recommitting our voices to speak for those who have been silenced, using our access to those in leadership positions for those who have been marginalized, and fervently praying until the day when all women are free to care for themselves and their families without fear of legal reprisal or moral reprimand. Our faith in a God of prophetic and liberating justice demands no less.
|The Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, Moderator|
Metropolitan Community Churches
|Bishop Yvette Flunder, Presiding Bishop|
The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries