Today, in my news feed, I discovered that the official Catholic Church position on abortion and child abuse is that it is okay to rape a child, but not to save one–I’m not sure if the event itself, or the fact that I didn’t run across it until two years after the fact, surprises me more. I also discovered that a global political leader thinks that allowing gay marriage is a violation of my womanly right to find a man and bear his children. Or that women in Ghana are accused of being witches when they are too smart, too independent or just too single, and end up in special “camps”.
And its not like this is only a problem outside of the US. Lets talk about the state-by-state Republican defunding of the only reproductive health care some women can afford here in the United States. Or the recent attempt of Virginia to rape women (and force them to pay for it) that had decided to have an abortion (and before someone accuses me of inducing needless hyperbole, when you stick something up someone’s vagina that they don’t want there, its rape. Or that women have been sent into combat in our armed forces without the same training as their male counterparts (and despite a technical ban on women in combat). Or that there are conservative pundits and preachers who feel that women shouldn’t vote–apparently voting vaginas are the origin of all social ills .
I could go on, but its sort of a bummer. Instead, I am going to let loose my super-liberal rant about reproductive rights (a topic I normally avoid here–beware, you are about to see Politi-Thal in action…), an idea that is informed by my belief in deity.
If you aren’t a doctor, you don’t have a right to advise a woman on what to do about her body, period. If you aren’t a woman, you don’t have the right to decide what a woman should or should not be allowed to do with her body. And even if you are a woman, the only body that you have the right to decide to do anything with is your own.
The only individuals that should be involved with the decisions that a woman makes about her body are herself, her physician, and her committed partner (if she is in a relationship) or her parents (if she is underage). And regardless of their opinions and input, the decisions are still hers and only hers (just as the decision for the hubby to have a vasectomy or get an eyebrow ring or shave his beard is purely his–his schlong, his face, his hair=his choice). Period. Full stop.
It is my body. That makes it my temple. Not yours.
Which brings me to my first topic for the Pagan Values Blogject (since June is almost here, and June is Pagan Values Blogging Month)– My Body, My Temple.
We are of the stars,
the dust of the explosions,
cast across space.
We are of the earth:
we breathe and live in the breath
of ancient plants and beasts.
from the Unitarian Universalist reading “Womb of Stars”
From the moment of our birth, as children of Nature and of the Universe, we are autonomous expressions of both. Our bodies are made up of stardust and dirt, and they are ours to do with as we please, to our person and its contents. What I do with my body is my business (not yours), for as long as it does not infringe upon another autonomous being’s ability to do what they please with their body and its contents. Whether or not one believes that their life (and their free will) originates from the god of Abraham or no god at all (or something else entirely) is immaterial–at the end of the day, the only body that one has the right to govern is their own.
It is my body, and my temple. For me, that means I have some responsibilities to my body as well. To decorate, not desecrate. To keep it in good working order by eating healthy and staying active. To use the power of my body to preserve its autonomy and the autonomy of other bodies. To use the parts (literal or figurative) of my body appropriately–hands to help, feet to move, mind to grow, heart to love. To enjoy my body to the best of my ability–to love it, regardless of how I think it meets societal expectations, or not. To encounter the world, and all of its inhabitants, with all of my senses. In short, to make ever action of my body a prayer of my soul.
My body is the temple of me. It is a gift of biology and *something else*. From my body, I worship imminent, imperfect and immortal expressions of the cosmos. Our gods are just as much part of the natural world as we are–they are children of the Universe, just as we are…and they are fallible, just as we are. Contemporary Pagansim recognizes a world full of gods, and (I believe) calls upon us to recognize them within ourselves (and in each other) as well. I am not saying that we are gods, but rather that we are as divine as they are human, and that honoring the divinity of the gods necessitates honoring the divinity of ourselves as well.
My body is my temple, to do with in accordance with my beliefs, as I will. And I leave your body to you…whether I agree with what you are doing with it or not, for as long as it does not infringe on the rights of another autonomous being.