Apply Now: Faith & Reproductive Justice Institute

If 2012 taught us anything, it was that the conservative forces seeking to deny women and families access to basic reproductive healthcare are not going away.  It was also that they continue to use their brand of religions to justify their threats to women’s heath.

You can be a voice of reason in the mess.  You can join progressive people of faith who refuse to let the media and politicians paint all religious people as anti-choice, anti-contraception, anti-woman.  You can apply to participate in the next round of the Faith and Reproductive Justice Leadership Institute at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C.

Here’s how CAP puts it:

Conservative religious and political leaders are leading these efforts, claiming that they are the sole champions of moral values, religious truth, and the public good. However, their impact has been dangerous for women, who already bear the brunt of health disparities and pay more for health care than men. Furthermore, low-income women face higher rates of unintended pregnancy, while policy makers add more restrictions to reproductive health care.  Women of color endure even more burdens. An African American or Latina woman is more likely to live in poverty, incur higher rates of disease, have less access to health care, and experience a higher risk of unintended pregnancy than her white counterpart.

In order to stop such assaults on women’s reproductive health and gain ground on reproductive rights and justice, we need to support and amplify the good work that faith-based groups are doing; strengthen faith-based leadership, messages, and messengers on reproductive health, rights, and justice; and incorporate into our work spiritual and moral values that resonate with the public and recognize individual conscience and human complexity.

I gained a lot from my association with the institute in 2012, and learned how to more boldly and more clearly articulate a pro-faith, pro-choice view.  I learned about organizations and individuals doing this work around the country, and how we can and must work together to protect everyone, including working people, families of all kinds, and women living at the intersection of inequalities society.  Not in spite of faith, but because of it.

For information and application material, click here.

For inspiration, check out Faith and Progressive Policy Director Sally Steenland’s interview with Dr. Willie Parker here.  Dr. Parker puts it plainly:

Medicine is based on scientific evidence. It is clear that when we make decisions about health care and medicine, it should be based on science. Religion is protected by our right to have our own religious beliefs, but we’re not entitled to [dictate into law] our opinions on health care.”

If you agree, apply now … before November 1!

 

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About Caryn Riswold

Caryn D. Riswold is a feminist theologian in the Lutheran tradition. She is Professor of Religion and also teaches Gender and Women’s Studies at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois, where she has worked for over a decade teaching undergraduates to think critically and creatively about religion. She earned her Ph.D. and Th.M. from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, holds a master’s degree from the Claremont School of Theology, and received her B.A. from Augustana College in her childhood hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.


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