Preach It, Woman!

My friend, the Rev. Whit Trumbull, is one of those wonderful Christian women you could easily be stranded on a desert island with while thinking only that the rescue boat just CAN’T come until you’ve talked about the zillion things you both have on your mind.  She is wise, witty, and entirely wonderful, and I thank her for her words regarding one African nation’s attempts to outlaw the butchery known as “female genital mutilation,” or clitorectomy — the forcible carving out of a young girl’s clitoris to “ensure her purity” and, not incidentally, rob her of any sexual pleasure while guaranteeing that she remain the transferrable property of her father first, then her husband.

It’s patriarchy at its most horrific.  And while I’m grateful that some in Somalia are trying to outlaw it, I agree with Whit that making it illegal won’t eliminate the practice from cultures in which it’s taken hold for reasons such as this, offered by a Somali elder:

“We have had it (female genital mutilation) in our culture . . . we cannot abandon something that helped our girls to stay pure.”

The emphasis, here and abroad, on young girls’ virginity is disturbing at best, even when it goes right past creepy “purity balls” and into the realm of rusty knives and little girls bleeding into the dirt.  But Whit is absolutely right in saying what I want to shout from every rooftop:

“(This) is a prime example of the violence and degradation of human beings that results from prioritizing any moral standard over the total well-being of the person created in the image of God. Jesus stood against that, and so do I.”

Potent words, and I pray God blesses us with more women and men like Whit Trumbull — Christians who see so much farther than the one-note Masters of the Pulpit whose masculinity, willful ignorance, cultural blindness, and gleeful inability to think through complex arguments don’t hamper their rise to power, but fuel it.  God bless you, Whit, and may the “loving God with your whole mind” that you exemplify here prevail throughout the Church.

One Response to “Preach It, Woman!”

  1. Whit says:

    Thanks for your kind words, Keely. I learned a lot from my experience working with Christians in Uganda who have practicing FGM for a long time. They sincerely believed that it would please God as a means of preserving chastity. I see the same misunderstanding at work in other Christians who short-sightedly think it’s more important to avoid divorce than to protect a woman from an abusive husband, or that rebuking someone’s sin is a more effective way to evangelize than showing them the kindness of God that leads to repentance. I could go on, but I hope these examples are enough to show how the same diabolical distortion operates in different destructive ways to distance people from God’s love.

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