Nonprofit, Award-Winning Community News and Views for Windham County, Vermont • Since 2006
Photo 1

Leslie Sullivan Sachs

Chalked messages on the sidewalk supported Planned Parenthood in Brattleboro on May 3, the day after the draft Supreme Court opinion hit the news.

Voices / Viewpoint

I am angry

People who theoretically share my faith path use God’s name to shame people who have already been traumatized and that they put forth a narrative of a judgmental God

Susie Webster-Toleno , M. Div. serves as pastor of the United Church of Christ congregation in Westminster West and is also a Hospice spiritual coordinator; this personal reflection originally appeared on her personal Facebook timeline on May 3.

Brattleboro

On May 3, I attended an impromptu rally/protest focusing on reproductive rights. I was wearing my clergy collar — not by chance.

I was interviewed briefly by the Brattleboro Reformer, I suspect because the photographer had just been covering the other gathering across the street from Planned Parenthood. A religious group rallies there weekly to protest the abortions that, by the way, are not performed at that office.

I’m here to tell you, if you read what the Reformer printed, it was exactly what I said ... and it was incoherent. That’s not the newspaper’s fault. I was incoherent — in part from high emotion, but mostly because at the end of a long day, with people chanting protest chants right behind me, I couldn’t seem to link my thoughts together.

So here’s what I wish I had said.

* * *

I am angry.

I am nearly incandescent with rage at the the fact that the three newest SCOTUS justices, none of whom should be there, so baldly lied in their confirmation hearings. (This is exactly what so many of us were terrified of when 2016 went the way it did, so I’m certainly not surprised, mind you. Just irate.)

I am angry that there are still people who think that women should not have control over the medical decisions made about their bodies.

I’m angry that we’re still fighting this fight.

I’m angry that, assuming the leaked draft ends up being what the Supreme Court goes with, the heaviest cost will be borne by the most vulnerable people in our country: women who live in poverty, women of color, women and girls who have been raped.

I am 100 percent irate that people who theoretically share my faith path (broadly speaking) use God’s name to shame people who have already been traumatized and that they put forth a narrative of a God who is judgmental and angry.

I’m angry that their lies rule the narrative, rather than the truth I know, which is that God’s larger concern is how we treat the last, lost, and least among us, how we treat the environment/Creation, and how we love one another. I’m really angry about that.

I’m also sad. I’m tired of everything being a battle, I’m tired of the ugliness of politics, and I don’t easily see a way forward.

I see so many people of all genders who are just plain worn down and traumatized by the constant fight of things. If I could do anything for those people, I would make it so that they could rest, breathe, trust that others will have their backs.

I would make it so they could truly rest enough so that they could rise, healthy and whole and energized.

I am not a magician and cannot make it so, and that makes me sad.

* * *

I am, in general, a person of hope, and I believe that I’ll get there at some point — probably sooner than some others will, given that it’s just how I’m wired.

But I do not believe that the pendulum will swing on its own toward healing.

It won’t swing toward wholeness.

And it would take a miracle to swing toward a world in which women are valued.

That won’t happen without a whole lot of organizing.

And work.

Like what we do? Help us keep doing it!

We rely on the donations and financial support of our readers to help make The Commons available to all. Please join us today.

Originally published in The Commons issue #663 (Wednesday, May 11, 2022). This story appeared on page C1.

Share this story

Links

0

Related stories

More by Susie Webster-Toleno