My intelligent, prophetic, fiery and beautiful bride, Renee, tells me that as soon as I’ve been pregnant, then I can claim to understand women. It’s true – and I’ll pass on the pregnancy. Five days a week, I teach primary school girls; they assure me I don’t know much about girls. They’re right too. Even shopping for gifts for my young nieces frightens and confuses me. Maybe it’s the fact I’ve never had daughters, despite wishing for one (a 15-minute speed date with an auto-injector, a scalpel and a soldering iron put an end to that dream).
Yet even someone as oblivious as me understands that the president’s coarse and aggressive comments and insults directed at women are beyond justification. And I don’t want my two sons believing that it’s acceptable to view and to treat someone else’s daughters that way.
The Numbers Don’t Lie, Mr. President
Incredible numbers of women (and men who supported them) marched this week carrying that banner. What was inspiring for me was the cross-section of faiths, ethnicities, orientations and political affiliations represented at the marches across the country. Though they may not always see eye to eye on certain issues (and we may not agree with all the issues in play either). And to be fair, the day wasn’t devoid of conflict between differing viewpoints. On the whole, however, this was a show of solidarity that those in power would be wise to take seriously.
I’ve written more specifically on gender equity elsewhere, particularly equity within the church. But of course, no one should need a scriptural or theological argument to agree that women shouldn’t be subjected to demeaning, lewd and objectifying attitudes and remarks from the man occupying the nation’s highest office.
Defending Him? Really?
That’s why many Christians should be ashamed that we’ve gone out of our way to excuse him, to give him a free pass, to say that, essentially, none of those things matter because he’s ‘the lesser of two evils’.
The media has taken him out of context!’, we’ve shouted. Yes, context is indeed important. Lines from Shakespeare hold far more power and significance within their appropriate scenes. When we see Jesus’ teachings within their proper context in the gospels, they carry much greater weight. But President Trump is no William Shakespeare, not to mention Jesus. Statements about a woman having a face no one could vote for, or being a ‘piece of ass’ aren’t exactly layered with rich poetic meaning.
‘Look, he appointed women to top positions. His campaign manager is a woman!’ Yes, Kellyanne Conway parachuted in to rescue the president from a political crisis, precisely when his troubles with women threatened to scuttle his campaign. Convenient, wouldn’t you say? Not dissimilar to his conversion to born-again Christianity, despite no inclination to act like a Christian, at a time when he needed to mobilise the Christian vote.
Some of us have continued to say in his defence, ‘He’s changed! He’ll do better now.’ Well, maybe. Even a broken watch will give you the time twice a day. But just what in the president’s recent behaviour and verbal assaults via Twitter leads us to this conclusion? Does he strike us as a particularly contrite or reflective individual, someone open to change?
Who are We Trying to Justify?
I suspect that these desperate attempts to justify President Trump stem from a need to justify ourselves: if we cast our votes for him, we need to believe we did the right thing. But no matter whom we voted for, we have a right and (I’d dare say) a responsibility to condemn the attitudes he’s displayed. Indeed, Christians should form the vanguard against such sexist arrogance and send this message: we’ll be watching and holding you to account in the future.
That’s the message the participants in the Women’s March carried and it’s a stance that demands our support.
Stand tall and keep marching, sisters. I may not know much about women, but I know you deserve better than this.
- Feature Image: Women’s March at the Capitol Building (Voice of America News)
‘Women’s march against Donald Trump’ (by Fibonacci Blue, St. Paul, Minnesota – Wikimedia Commons)