Fetus Worshipers All Over Again

In January of 2001 I stood on the steps of the Maryland State House and referred to George Bush as the “semi-elected” president and to his anti-choice friends as “fetus worshipers.”

I would have hoped by now that I could have toned down my rhetoric; that things would have progressed in this nation of hypocrites and zealots.

The zealots I can forgive: they’re theologically persuaded and led by some kind of authentic conviction that every woman should be obligated to host a promising blob of cells in her body to full term and to mother that child.

I wish every pregnancy could be reason for delight and wonder and gratitude. I wish all fetuses were gestating in women’s bodies who were willing and able to mother them or give them into adoption by loving and responsible adults.

But it’s not and they aren’t and that’s not reality. Women are independent moral agents and it’s up to each one to decide what she wants to do about a pregnancy. Period. It doesn’t matter what you or I believe about fetuses or children: if it’s not our pregnancy it’s not our business.

I remember having pregnancy scares when I was a younger woman.  The stomach churning uncertainty was made worse by my boyfriends’ sudden degeneration from strong, brilliant, opinionated, confident men to slack-jawed juveniles.  They simply did not want to be worried and told me they were sure I’d be fine. They did not want the candy store to be closed for business. They did not want the fun abandon of sex to be sullied by such downer concerns as a baby neither of us wanted.

Relationships are supposed to be sexy and a pregnancy scare is not sexy. I kept my anger to myself.

But I found that each of these pregnancy scares, though I was eventually relieved of the fear that a fertilized egg was making itself at home in my uterus, did plant in me a gestating seed of contempt for both of the men who had cavalierly told me I’d “be fine.” I could never afterward regard them complete respect. This is a secret that many women keep from men. I will no longer do so. It remains with me today, at what I hope are my menopausal years (I’m pretty close to menopause, if not technically there yet). Men, are you listening? Figure it out. Women, don’t keep this secret. Don’t just walk out on them. Tell them exactly how they have totally failed you when they say, “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.”

All of these men in Washington –or just about to get there — who are so eager to legally mandate motherhood for every pregnant woman in America deserve nothing but contempt. Their disregard for actual life is a glaring matter of public record. When these anti-choice crusaders legally mandate that each man responsible for a pregnancy commit to parenting and financially supporting the fetus until its age of legal adulthood I might start to take them seriously as pro-lifers.

I give thanks on a regular basis for having passed reproductively unscathed through my fertile season as a woman.

I am disgusted by every man who talked me out of using protection, and furious that I was socialized to care about men’s feelings and egos above my own security and well-being. I commit myself to mentoring girls so that they never make that mistake.

I am angry at every boyfriend I had who never offered to pay for birth control or even learn about its effects on me unless I informed him. I rejoice in young women’s jeering at this expression of male privilege and I encourage them to reject such selfish partners.

I will call out conservative politicians and justices for the craven misogynists they are. They do not have the interest of “unborn children” at heart but the oppression of women. They know that being responsible for a new life when unprepared and unwilling limits women’s emotional capacity, energy to participate in democracy, ability to move out of poverty, and to pursue career advancement and educational opportunities. They hate women. They are furious that women are out-performing men in so many walks of life and coming into power in America, and outlawing abortion is their way of punishing us.

We are not idiots. We know exactly what this is and we won’t go back.

Young women, you know what’s going on. I watch and cheer you. Call it out. Jeer at these misogynist control freaks. Reject them in bed and as friends. Don’t make nice. Don’t smile at them and let them think you have any respect for them. And keep working, supporting each other, graduating, excelling, re-defining family, having the babies you want, dumping the men who don’t deserve you, sharing love and care with those who do, and teaching your children that these dinosaurs won’t always be roaming the earth.

When they’re all dead and buried, we can clean up the earth and breathe free.

Keep the faith. And stockpile Plan B and bc pills and as we used to say in my day, “Just Say No To Sex With Pro-Lifers.” While you’re at it, just say no to sex with any guy who doesn’t fully understand and support why you’re marching in your pussy hat. Don’t believe him when he says he’ll take care of you. Don’t believe him when he says he’ll pull out. Don’t believe him that he’s infertile. Don’t believe him when he says he’s “almost” divorced. Don’t believe him when he says he had a vasectomy. Don’t believe him when he says he has a condom unless you see it in his hand. Don’t believe him when he says he just wants to talk in his room when you’re too drunk to really focus or fight back. Don’t believe him when he cries and says he loves and needs you and please, oh please.

Protect yourself.  Protecting yourself takes practice. Start now.

These are dangerous times, and many of us have never lived through what is likely coming.  Remember: withholding health care, destroying the earth, terrorizing black and brown people, protecting rapists and abusers who violently enforce patriarchy, persecuting queer folk, and strapping us down to the ob/gyn table for the crime of being sexually active — it’s all an agenda of hatred. They hate us. They hate us and they want to make us suffer.







The Rev. Jack Morrill For KnoxVegas


On my Facebook page the other day I noted that some wag on Twitter had announced that New York City was so “over” as America’s greatest city. I heart New York forever and I personally found the suggestion that NYC is “over” a ridiculous one, but I thought it would be fun to take nominations for America’s greatest city.  I got 60 comments, but the Rev. Jake Morrill kept weighing in on behalf of his city, Knoxville, TN.

You gotta see this.

  • Jake Morrill Where did Sergei Rachmaninov, Hank Williams, Randy Rhoads, and George Jones all perform their final concerts? Oh, yeah: a little place I like to call Knox Vegas. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Game over, friends. Knoxville.
Jake Morrill You know, people might point to the New York Times as an example of why that city might get the nod. But, one has to ask, where did New York Times founder, Adolph Ochs grow up? Which mid-sized city nurtured his journalistic ambitions throughout his school-days. If the “New York Times” is the epitome of what Gotham has to offer, could it be said that Gotham expresses but a derivation of a higher form of cosmopolitan culture, to be found tucked in the valley between the Smokies and the Cumberlands, laid along the banks the Tennessee River, in spots made famous by the novels of Cormac McCarthy? Could it be that this city shines like a hidden gem? Like a freshly-polished Sunsphere in the late afternoon?
  • After a few comments about my own city, Boston, which refers to itself as “the Hub” and has a reputation of being less than cordial to outsiders and downright snotty about Southerners, Jake contributed this:
  • Jake Morrill While in Boston, or “Hubtown,” I’ve only ever been treated with fawning deference and gentle kindness. People wave shyly. They dig a toe in the earth and look bashful, until I toss a penny-candy their way. Then, sometimes, they sing. Now, it may be that this is not their behavior with all guests. I’m prepared to see it as one more example of what some call “Knox-Privilege.” But, really, what can one do? If Hubtonites are irascible as naughty puppies, is one expected to house-train them? Nay. Rather, I enjoy them for the simple people they are, and imagine the mission trips and aid my people could offer to theirs.
    I look forward to welcoming Rev. Jake and a contingent of Tennesseans to Boston for a mission trip. I think they could help us in so many ways, but I’m really looking forward to the penny candy.

Let’s Laugh the Westboro Baptist “Church” Out of Town

Aw, for the love of Zeus. Those candy-ass “church” carnival clowns are at it again.

For one thing, dearly beloved, they’re not a church. They’re not even a “church.” They’re a hate group.

Also, they’re ridiculous.

Let’s not let them hurt any more feelings. Okay?

I am remembering the prank caller who phoned the house a day or two after my father’s funeral. I was numb and felt like broken glass in body and spirit as I picked up the phone. “Hello?” I said. And a man’s voice said, “Hello, may I please speak to Carl Weinstein?”

I went cold. I had not yet had to deal with this and I was also still in shock. My dad had died suddenly, at 50 years old. I was 17.

As I stood there with the phone in my hand, my mouth dry and my heart thumping, thinking of what to say, how to gently break the news, the man laughed maliciously and then hung up.

I knew I had experienced evil. I put the phone down and walked to my room in a fog. Later that day, my mother intuited that something extra horrible was weighing on my soul and she got it out of me. She listened, she said nothing, and she held me while I cried.

That night I went up to the kitchen to kiss her goodnight. She murmured some words of love and comfort and as I walked out of the room and into the hall she said in the most dismissive and irritated of tones, “Honey? And poo on that idiot man who called.”

I am almost certain she used the word “poo.” If not poo, then something equally silly. In that one phrase she diminished the power of that idiot to have an existential hold over me. I never, ever forgot it. I don’t want you to forget it.

Beyond all our dreary pieties about how we’re all children of God and such, I think people are waiting to hear religious leaders and faith communities say, “Look, yes we’re all children of God, but some of us are just idiots! Don’t lose sleep tonight over them.” I believe that no one is a permanent, irredeemable idiot — that’s where faith in the power of love and the Spirit comes in, and I have seen some people reform — but some people act like idiots and shouldn’t be given the time of day in your spirit and soul. The Westboro Clown Posse is a group of idiots. I’m sorry for the hurt they cause. I’m sorry for them. I’m sorry for the Baptists who are embarrassed by the association.

Poo on the Westboro posse! If they come to town, I think we should stage a Theatre of the Absurd festival and dance around them. I think we should join them with signs and music and wonderful costumes. Someone could dress as SNL character Linda Richman and carry a sign that says,  “THE WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH IS NEITHER BAPTIST NOR A CHURCH: DISCUSS.”

Or here’s one: “BELIEVE IT OR NOT, GOD EVEN LOVES THE WESTBORO BAPTIST ‘CHURCH.'” Lots of clergy could carry that sign.

Since we’re Boston, we could do some kind of Dunkin Donuts tie-in, maybe. Like, “AMERICA RUNS ON DUNKINS! WE’D LIKE TO RUN THE WBC OUT OF TOWN!”  And lots of clowns could serve coffee.

In general, though, lots and lots of “WELCOME TO BOSTON, WBC!” would be good. Colonial garb, a bunch of Paul Reveres, John and Abigail Adams should be there, rainbow flags and drag queens galore, children of all colors riding red-white and blue bikes, men and women military uniforms, sports fans in regalia, university folk in academic gowns and clown wigs — oh my god, can you imagine how fabulous? Boston is America’s original Freedom City. The Westboro Baptist Church has a lot to thank us for. Even idiots like them have free speech because of great things that happened here.

Let’s show them how Boston does protest parties. Send in the clowns to meet the fools.

How ya DOON, WBC?